New Jersey law allows a dog to be declared potentially dangerous if clear and convincing evidence shows that an unprovoked dog injured a person, the dog injured or killed a domestic animal that did not act aggressively toward the dog, the dog poses a threat to people or other domestic animals, and/or the dog had been trained or encouraged to attack.
Those who have suffered a dog bite or mauling through no fault of their own should immediately seek legal advice by contacting a Camden County dog bite lawyer, who has successfully achieved damages in many dog bite cases. If you have been injured in a dog bite incident, let a skilled personal injury attorney advocate for you.
New Jersey Dog Bite Law
The basic tenet of New Jersey’s dog bite law follows strict liability. In this context, it means the dog owner is automatically responsible for the dog bite with only two exceptions: The party bitten provoked the dog to defend itself or its owners, or the person was trespassing on the dog owner’s property with intent to commit a crime.
Other than the dog’s owner, a person who has control of the dog, such as a domestic partner, dog sitter, or dog walker, is also liable if the bite occurred while the person had responsibility for the dog – even if the dog had never before bitten anyone.
If the dog bites a controller who knows the dog has a propensity for biting, then that person cannot sue for damages because the person assumed the risk. New Jersey law gives children younger than seven years the presumption of innocence involving negligence, and children ages four and younger are too young to be legally negligent.
Proving a Dog Bite Case
All the bite victim has to prove is legal permission to be on the property at the time of the bite, that the defendant owned the dog, and that the dog did bite. The law states that the bite does not necessarily need to break the skin for the dog owner to be liable. Those who are on the property in a legal capacity, such as postal workers, with or without the owner’s permission, are considered lawfully on the property.
The legal definition of negligence is failing to use the caution that a prudent person would use in the same circumstance, resulting in injury or property damage. New Jersey follows the modified comparative negligence standard which reduces the amount of damages a plaintiff may receive by the percentage of fault, and if the fault is 51 percent or more, no damages can be awarded. A Camden County dog bite lawyer could help an individual establish negligence in their dog bite case.
Damages have two types. Economic damages cover financial loss such as medical bills, lost income, and property damage. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
If the person bitten is determined to be partially at fault in causing the dog to bite, damages are reduced by the amount of fault the bitten person bears. For example, a person who is 30 percent at fault may only recover 70 percent of the damages.
Contacting a Camden County Dog Bite Attorney
A Camden County dog bite lawyer can offer a free, no-obligation consultation to evaluate the situation and determine how strong a case you have. Your lawyer does not require any attorney fees until the conclusion of the case. If the attorney achieves financial damages, the fee is a portion of the awarded damages, and if the case is not successful, the attorney waives the fee. Many personal injury lawyers work on this contingency basis. The attorney could clarify the law, explain the court process to you, and help you determine what your next steps should be.