Can i pursue a case for a dog bite?
Many Americans are bitten by a dog every year, with many of those bites inflicting injuries severe enough to require medical care. If you have been bitten by someone else’s dog badly enough to need treatment, can you pursue a legal claim to recover compensation for your medical expenses and/or other losses?
What Are Your Rights for Filing A Lawsuit after a Dog Bite?
If you are bitten by somebody else’s dog and have incurred financial or personal losses as a result – including medical expenses, lost wages or income, or pain and suffering – you may have the right to sue the dog’s owner to recover compensation for your losses. However, the potential success of a dog bite lawsuit will depend on the circumstances of the incident and on New Jersey’s dog bite laws.
New Jersey Dog Bite Laws
New Jersey has a “strict liability” dog bite law. This means that a dog owner will be held liable when their pet bites and injures someone when the bitten victim was lawfully present in the place where the attack occurred. A dog bite victim does not need to prove that the owner knew or should have known that their dog previously bit someone else or had displayed vicious tendencies.
in addition, someone who is injured in a dog attack may still bring a claim of negligence against the dog’s owner even if the attack does not involve biting, such as when a dog jumps on and knocks a person down. In a negligence-based claim, an injured victim will need to show that the owner failed to fulfill their duty to exercise reasonable care and control over the dog. What constitutes “reasonable” control will depend on the dog. While a dog with no history of violence may be “reasonably” controlled when their are on a lease, a dog that has previously acted aggressively or that has jumped on people may require more strict control by their owner, including keeping the dog on a taut leash, muzzling the dog, or keeping the dog contained behind sturdy fencing.
While a dog owner may have certain legal defenses to a dog bite injury claim, including showing that the bite victim was trespassing on the owner’s property at the time of the attack, or that the victim intentionally or recklessly provoked the dog into an attack, the dog owner has the burden of proving that one of those circumstances is what led to the dog bite, and is often unable to do so.
Under New Jersey’s Statute of Limitations, you have two years from the date that you were bitten by a dog to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner.
Who Pays After a Dog Bite?
It is often worth pursuing legal action for a dog bite when you have sustained injuries that led to you incurring medical bills or other financial losses such as lost wages, or harm like physical pain, disability, or scarring and disfigurement. In many dog bite lawsuits it is the homeowner’s or renter’s insurance company of the dog owner which pays the expenses and compensation to the injured victim.
Contact a Clark Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Dog Bite Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain injuries due to a dog bite in New Jersey? Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Team Law represent clients injured because of dog bites in Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 540-1394 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 136 Central Ave., Clark, NJ 07066, as well as offices in West New York, Perth Amboy, Edison, Summit, Newark, New Brunswick, Orange, Plainfield, and Jersey City.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.