Last week, the New York Court of Appeals created new precedent in animal bite cases, modifying the requirements to prove liability in veterinary negligence cases involving animal attacks. In Hewitt v. Palmer Veterinary Clinic, PC, decided on October 22, 2020, the Court of Appeals determined that due to the specialized knowledge that veterinarians and their support staff have relating to animal behavior, they are held to a higher legal standard when determining liability.
Previous Animal Attack Liability Laws
Previously, in the event that an animal attack occurred at the premises of a veterinary clinic, the injured party needed to prove that the doctor and the clinic’s staff knew or should have known that the animal had vicious propensities. This is the same standard a private pet owner is held to.
A New Precedent In Animal Attack Cases
Now, in cases proving veterinary negligence, animal clinics no longer need to have notice that an animal has vicious propensities to be held liable for negligence in a personal injury lawsuit and premises liability action. In the Hewitt case, the plaintiff was injured by a dog that had broken free of his leash trying to go after a cat and caused the owner of the cat to be injured. The dog just had a surgery on his toe and the cat owner alleged in the lawsuit that the dog should have been properly medicated upon discharge to avoid this outburst and the clinic should not have allowed the dog to be in the crowded waiting room after his procedure. This change in the law makes it much easier to establish veterinary negligence and liability against an animal clinic in the event of an animal attack at their premises.
We’re Here To Protect You
At the Law Offices of Louis Grandelli, our attorneys and staff have extensive experience representing individuals injured in dog bite and vicious animal attack cases. Of note, we recovered $2.3 Million on behalf of a mother and daughter from Staten Island who were viciously attacked by two Cane Corso dogs. The case was resolved after we obtained a judgment as a matter of law that the dog’s owner was liable for the attack. We were also able to overcome a disclaimer of coverage by one of the defendant’s insurance companies to maximize the recovery by the plaintiffs.
If you or a loved one has been injured by an animal or have suffered another type of personal injury, call us today at 212-668-8400 to set up a free consultation.