Expert Witnesses in Cherry Hill Dog Bite Cases
Expert witnesses are used less frequently in dog bite cases than in other cases, but can still play an important role. Since New Jersey is a strict liability state, many times, there is no need to use expert witnesses with regard to the liability aspect of the claim. If trying to prove negligence on behalf of the dog owner, it usually does not require expert testimony as it is mostly a common sense argument.
However, expert witnesses in Cherry Hill dog bite cases are often necessary for proving damages. To determine the role of an expert witness in your dog bite case, it is important to contact a Cherry Hill dog bite attorney as soon as possible.
Where experts are necessary in Cherry Hill dog bite cases is when damages must be proved. The damages in these cases involve injuries to the person who is bit or attacked. Expert testimony is also required with regard to their economic losses, whether it is lost wages or medical bills.
Medical experts may be relevant also. For example, if a person has an orthopedic type injury, an orthopedist can talk about the injuries, including the diagnosis and prognosis, and give an opinion about what can be expected going forward with regard to injuries.
Sometimes when dog bites are involved, there could be very significant scarring and disfigurement as a result. A plastic surgeon would evaluate the scar and discuss not only what to expect with the scar going forward, but any scar revision surgeries that could be performed and the costs of those surgeries. A surgeon would want to make the costs of any potential scar revision surgery a part of the claim against the responsible party. That is something that the injured person should not have to pay for.
Variety of Experts
The final expert witness that may be utilized in a Cherry Hill dog bite case is going to be an economic expert. If someone is out of work and unable to work because of this accident for an extended period of time, a vocational expert or an economist can talk about the potential lost wages, not only past wages, but if necessary, future lost wages as well.
These are just some examples of experts that may be used to help prove the case and the damages that have been sustained following a Cherry Hill dog bite accident.
Prevention of Liability
In a dog bite case, because strict liability is involved, the burden of proof shifts to the defendant. The defendant would have to argue that the person who was bit was either trespassing within an area that they were permitted to be or somehow enticed the dog into biting them.
Normally, when someone is injured, they have to prove that the defendant was at fault, but when a dog bite occurs, the burden shifts and the defendant has to prove that somehow the person who was bit was negligent in trespassing or enticing the dog into biting them.
Accidents Other Than Bites
When dealing with a dog attack that does not result in a bite, maybe it results in a knockdown or something along those lines, what could prevent liability is if a person cannot prove that the defendant was negligent in any way.
For example, if the dog owner is doing everything properly, they have the dog on a leash, the dog has no history of attacking or doing anything that would show aggressiveness, and the dog then jumps on someone and knocks them down, it may be difficult to prove that the individual was negligent in any way.
If that dog bites someone, a person does not have to prove negligence. If it is just a knockdown case, they need to prove negligence, so that is where that issue could arise. An expert witness could be useful in handling these Cherry Hill dog bite cases.
Comparative negligence rules apply in Cherry Hill dog bite cases. There would be a percentage of negligence assigned to that plaintiff depending on how they acted. Depending on what the percentage is, as long as it does not exceed 50%, the plaintiff is entitled to a recovery. Once it exceeds 50%, for example, if a jury was to determine that a plaintiff was 51% or more negligent, they are not entitled to a recovery.
For 50% or less, the amount of damages that are awarded will be reduced by the amount of comparative negligence that is assigned. If it is 50-50, the plaintiff was deemed to be 50% comparatively negligent, for example, the amount of damages would be reduced by 50%.