Dog bites can be disfiguring, life-changing, and even fatal. They must be taken seriously. Even a minor dog bite can still cause serious injury or infection, and should be reported.

Dog owners have a responsibility to make sure their dog is raised and kept in a safe and humane environment that does not contribute to causing aggression, and to take action to resolve any aggressive behavior and warn others, should the dog present a tendency to bite.

If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite, an experienced Burlington County dog bite lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you need to pay your expenses and make up for losses, including medical bills, surgery, reconstruction, rehabilitation, lost wages, emotional trauma and more. An injury attorney in Burlington County can gather the elements of the case to help build a successful claim on your behalf.

Dog Bite Laws

New Jersey dog bite law is considered a strict scrutiny law that does not allow one free bite. This means that a dog owner can be held liable for a bite, even if the dog has never shown an aggressive tendency and the owner had no idea it might be capable of biting someone.

The dog owner could have done everything right in terms of treating the dog well, keeping it properly restrained, and not letting it roam free, but they may still be held responsible for any bites that occur. An experienced dog bite lawyer in Burlington County can help to hold a dog owner liable for their dog’s action.

Dangerous and Potentially Dangerous Dogs

Owners of dogs who bite and also could be considered dangerous dogs may face criminal penalties, in addition to civil claims against them. Such penalties can be sought by a dog bite attorney in Burlington County. New Jersey dog owners are required to take adequate steps to restrain dangerous dogs, and to report them to authorities. The state does not allow breed-specific bans, though.

A dog can be considered potentially dangerous if it attacks someone unprovoked, kills a domestic animal, or otherwise poses a threat.

Comparative Negligence

New Jersey subscribes to the so-called comparative negligence doctrine. In some states, a victim is barred from recovering any compensation if the court determines that they caused or contributed to causing their own injury in any way.

New Jersey’s guidelines are much more generous to victims, allowing recovery for those who have contributed less than half of the fault in causing the injuries. In a dog bite case, a victim is sometimes partially responsible for the bite. They may have provoked the dog, or negligently supervised their child, but these actions will not necessarily prevent recovering compensation in New Jersey, so long as the conduct was not the greatest factor, accounting for more than 50 percent of the cause of the bite altercation.

The one exception to the New Jersey comparative negligence standard of more than 50 percent fault is the offense of trespassing. Under New Jersey law, dog bite victims must have lawfully been on public or private property when bitten. Trespassing is unlawful, and therefore bars a victim from recovering. However, a skilled Burlington County dog bite attorney can fight a trespassing defense to a dog bite claim.

Contact an Attorney

No matter how severe or minor a dog bite may seem, you will still need the assistance of an experienced Burlington County dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. New Jersey imposes a two-year time limit from the moment a dog bite occurs for a victim to file a personal injury claim.