Skip to content

What is the new dog bite personal injury law in New York State?

What is new about dog bite laws and personal injuries in New York State? 

We know that homeowners and renters insurance policies may cover damages resulting from dog bites. In 2020, we wrote about a number of details regarding dog bite lawsuits in the Hudson Valley; one of them is that in terms of proving liability, dog breed does not matter. However, it was still possible for insurance companies to deny coverage, deny renewals, and impose increased rates and fees to policyholders with “high-risk” breeds like pit bulls. This meant that eventual accident victims, when seeking compensation for their injuries, might have faced tall odds of actually collecting on any damages.

Thanks to legislation signed into law by the New York State governor in late 2021, discrimination against dog breeds is a thing of the past for insurance companies. The law is an amendment to New York State Insurance Law called Section 3421, and it says that homeowners’ insurers cannot consider the breed of a dog during the underwriting process.

Section 3421 also says that if the dog is considered a “dangerous dog” under New York Agriculture and Markets Law 123, and has been judicially determined to pose a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury of death, and that a denial or refusal to issue policy can be made.

The overall result is that homeowners insurance companies will have to evaluate dogs on a case-by-case basis, rather than blanketly issuing a coverage denial to owners of high-risk dogs. It is still possible that some insurance companies will include dog bite exclusions in their policies, or ask that policyholders purchase additional Canine Liability insurance.

What is the best way to get compensation for injuries for a dog bite in Ulster County or the Hudson Valley?

Every case is unique. The best way to maximize your chances of getting the full compensation for your injuries is to schedule a free consultation with Mainetti & Mainetti, P.C. at our offices in Kingston, NY or Poughkeepsie, NY. Call 845-600-0000 for more information.

How many dog bite personal injury cases occur in New York State?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 900 dog bite claims in New York State in 2021. Nationally, the number of dog bite claims has risen from a low of 15,352 in 2015 to 17,989 in 2021, an increase of about 17%. The average cost per dog bite claim in New York State is $68,203, the highest amount in the nation. Learn more about dog bite personal injury cases.