New York boy Frankie Flora was just 5 years-old when he was viciously attacked by his cousin’s pit bull.
Four sections of his scalp were ripped form his skull, and he required a skin transplant from a donor. His right cheek was torn from his face, and the youth required more than 1,000 stitches. He also has had to undergo 25 surgeries to reconstruct both his face and legs due to injuries inflicted by the dog.
He nearly lost his life. Doctors have called the now-8-year-old’s recovery nothing short of miraculous.
Now, our Queens dog bite lawyers have learned that a bill named in his honor is making its way through the state senate, with the help of Sen. Terry Gipson (D-Rhinebeck).
S. 1911, also known as the Frankie Flora Bill, would amend New York’s status as a “one bite” state. As it stands now, New York dog owners aren’t held financially liable if their dog has bitten someone for the first time. That would change if the measure passes, making it so that dog owners would automatically be held liable.
Similar measures have failed in the past, but analysts say it could gain enough steam this session to potentially pass.
In spite of the current law here, a recent report from the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm indicate that more than one-third of all homeowner liability payouts are for dog bites. Just last year, insurance firms paid nearly $490 million.
The report was released at the tail-end of May, which is National Dog Bite Awareness Month.
The number of dog bite claims dropped slightly last year by about 1.5 percent, down to 16,500. However, the cost of settling such claims also rose incrementally, by 1.2 percent. The average cost per claim was about $29,700 last year, versus $29,400 a year earlier.
An institute spokeswoman said some oft those claims are for non-bites. For example, if a dog jumps at a person and startles him, and he subsequently falls, he may be able to make a claim against the dog owner’s insurance for that injury.
Homeowner insurance typically covers dog liability as part of the policy, with caps set at anywhere between $100,000 and $300,000.
Anyone who has ever suffered a severe dog bite or, like Frankie’s parents, have had a child suffer one, knows that medical costs can add up rapidly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that there are an estimated 4.7 million dog bites reported in the country each year, with more than half of those involving children. Postal carriers were another common victim, with some 6,000 attacked by dogs last year.
In New York City, dogs must always be kept on leashes of no longer than six feet at all times, except in certain designated off-leash areas. Owners are responsible from stopping the dog from chasing after squirrels, birds or other animals and dogs must be vaccinated against rabies.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
SENATOR TERRY GIPSON INTRODUCES FRANKIE FLORA’S BILL IN THE SENATE, April 16, 2013, Press Release, New York State Sen. Terry Gipson (D-Rhinebeck)
More Blog Entries:
Dog Bites in New York City and Elsewhere Up from 2011, May 24, 2012, New York City Dog Bite Lawyer Blog