The Humane Society of the United States estimates that there are over 83 million dogs owned in this country. Each year, a small percentage of these household pets will cause serious injuries resulting from a biting attack. When this occurs, the physical, emotional and financial aftermath in the lives of the dog bite victim can be catastrophic, making it necessary to consult with a New Jersey dog bite lawyer. An experienced lawyer can help prepare those injured for what to expect at each step for the claims process and ensure that they put forth the strongest claim possible.
Dog Bite Liability in New Jersey
Under New Jersey dog bite law, dog owners will face strict liability for the injuries caused by their dog’s biting even if this is the first time that the dog has exhibited this biting behavior. The fact that a dog has shown no prior biting history or a prior propensity to bite humans is not a defense in a dog bite case. N.J.S.A. 4:19-16 sets forth the legal requirements for dog bite liability in New Jersey.
Under this state statute, a dog owner is liable for all the injuries caused by a dog that bites a person on or in a public place or lawfully in a private place (such as the dog owner’s residence). Liability is imposed even if the dog owner was unaware of the propensity for viciousness of the dog.
A dog owner will not face liability if the injured individual was criminally trespassing or the injury was not caused by the dog bite. Only dog owners can be held liable under New Jersey’s dog bite statute. An injured individual may bring a negligence cause of action against other potential responsible parties such as dog walkers or dog trainers. The New Jersey Comparative Negligence Act (N.J.S.A. 2A:15-5.1) may limit the total amount of liability in cases where the injured individual also contributed to the cause of the injury by provoking the animal.
Young dog bite victims (children under the age of 7) are presumed to not have been negligent in dog bite cases. Dog owners may also face liability based on their dog’s aggressive behaviors (other than an actual dog bite) including jumping on or chasing an individual if those actions result in injuries.
Dog Bite Injuries
The physical and emotional injuries that can result from a dog biting attack can be devastating, especially when the dog bite victim is a child. Some of the most common dog bite injuries include:
- Broken or fractured bones and other crush-related injuries
- Open wounds and punctures
- Abrasions and lacerations
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Infections (including rabies, C canimorsus infections, cellulitis)
- Emotional trauma including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety
- Permanent scarring
- Nerve damage
- Facial fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
The financial costs of treating the physical and emotional injuries caused by dog bites can be overwhelming to dog bite victims and their families. The first step in alleviating this unwanted financial stress is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your South Jersey dog bite case.
Contact a New Jersey Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has suffered bodily injuries as a result of a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. In addition to past and future medical costs (including rehabilitation and prescription drug expenses), you may be entitled to lost wages and damages for your pain and suffering and emotional distress.
At Grungo Colarulo, our experienced New Jersey dog bite attorneys understand the unique legal and insurance issues in New Jersey dog bite cases and we will provide aggressive representation to ensure that all responsible parties are held liable for your injuries.