Mercer County Dog Bite Lawyer
Although we often think of dogs as friendly creatures, sometimes they can become aggressive. When a dog’s aggression is unprovoked and results in an injury, the owner may be to blame. A practiced personal injury attorney can lay out the next steps that you should consider when dealing with being injured by an aggressive dog. A Mercer County dog bite lawyer can help you determine whether you are eligible to recover compensation for your injuries.
How is a Dog Owner’s Liability Determined?
N.J.S.A. §4:19-16 stipulates that if a dog bites a person in a public place or bites someone who is lawfully visiting a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, the animal’s owner will be held strictly liable for damages resulting from the attack. This standard applies regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s viciousness.
The level of duty that the property owner owes to a dog bite victim is dictated by how he or she entered the property. If you were lawfully on the property, the owner has a duty of care to prevent you from suffering harm. However, if you were trespassing at the time of the incident, you are not lawfully on the premises. Therefore, the dog owner cannot be held liable for the injuries sustained by the dog.
Consulting a Mercer County dog bite lawyer can help you put the events while on the dog owner’s property in its proper perspective so you can determine whether you have a viable claim against the dog owner.
What Defenses Are Available for a Dog Owner in Mercer County?
If you were a trespasser on the dog owner’s property, they can file a counterclaim that you were unlawfully on their property at the time of the attack. If that is the case, under New Jersey dog bite and property laws, the dog owner may not be liable for your injuries and you will not be able to recover. Further, the dog owner can also make the argument that you provoked the dog into attacking you. If they are successful, your settlement may be diminished by the percentage that you contributed to causing the dog attack, under N. J. S. A. § 2A:15-5.1.
The damages you can recover will depend on the evidence that you can supply to the insurance companies or the courts to support your claim. Your damages may be economic or non-economic in nature. They can include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Loss of wages (past, current and future)
- Disfigurement due to the injury
- Physical Pain and emotional suffering
- Mental Anguish
Benefits of Hiring a Mercer County Dog Bite Attorney
Getting the counsel of a practiced injury attorney can be crucial to proving your case. A dog bite claim can be quite complex due to the amount of evidence needed, the intricacies of dog bite law, and the insurance companies and opposing counsel. Your focus during this time should be on healing. A Mercer County dog bite lawyer can immediately start working on your case, so you can focus on what is important. Give us a call.