- What Are New Jersey’s Dog Bite Laws?
- What Are the Most Common Injuries from Dog Bites?
- What Are the Psychological Consequences of a Dog Attack?
- What Should I Do After Being Bitten by a Dog?
- Can an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Help if I File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite?
- Explore Your Options with the NJ Dog Bite Lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C.
Nothing is more frightening than being attacked by an animal, specifically a dog. Dog bites often leave physical and psychological scars. Victims of dog bites may fear rabies and other infections and require ongoing medical services.
But dog owners frequently do not take accountability for their beloved animal, fearing fines — or worse, the dog being put down. Instead, they blame the innocent child, repairman, postal worker, cable repairman, store customer, or Amazon delivery driver for not being careful or antagonizing the animal. The good news is that the animal’s owner is subject to the legal doctrine of “Strict Liability” under New Jersey Law.
The New Jersey legal doctrine of “Strict Liability” says that if a dog bites someone, the victim does not have to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent. They just must prove that the dog attacked them and ownership of the animal. There is no longer a requirement that the actual bite break the skin. Also, there is no need to prove that the dog had a history of prior attacks. Unlike other states, NJ does not have a “one free bite” rule requiring that the owner had notice of the vicious tendencies of their dog.
Sometimes there is no contact between the animal and the dog attack victim because the startled person may be injured due to falling off a sidewalk, tripping, or losing balance while trying to escape from the attacking dog. It also does not matter if the dog was on or off a leash. The owner is strictly liable, and their homeowners or rental insurance policy usually covers the loss.
At Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., we want to help you pursue the compensation you need for your injuries and other losses after being attacked by a dog. The members of our dog bite practice group have experience settling and trying dog bite cases to verdict before New Jersey juries. Many of our attorneys have been certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as civil trial attorneys. They have fought for the rights of injury victims throughout New Jersey for over 40 years, recovering over $800 million in verdicts and settlements. Let us put this experience, skill, and dedication to work on your behalf. Contact our office today to speak with a New Jersey dog attack lawyer during a free consultation.
What Are New Jersey’s Dog Bite Laws?
Under New Jersey law, an owner is liable for injuries their dog causes, regardless of whether the dog had attacked or acted viciously previously. To hold a dog’s owner responsible, a victim of a dog attack must prove the following:
- The defendant is the owner of the dog that attacked
- The victim was on public property or legally on private property
- The dog bit the victim
A defendant in a New Jersey dog bite case may argue that the victim purposely provoked the dog to attack. Another common defense is to say that the person bitten by the dog was trespassing. However, the burden of proof falls on the defendant who raises these defenses.
While there is no requirement for a dog owner to have insurance, homeowners, apartment tenants and renters, gas stations, stores, and junkyards all often have liability or homeowners insurance covering their animals.
What Are the Most Common Injuries from Dog Bites?
Dog bites can be forceful and inflict serious injuries, especially in a vicious dog attack. Some of the most common injuries from dog bites include the following:
- Severe bleeding
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Puncture wounds
- Severe scars
- Facial disfigurement
- Eye injuries
- Nerve damage
- Broken bones
- Head and neck injuries
What Are the Psychological Consequences of a Dog Attack?
Unfortunately, dog attacks happen too often and can lead to serious injuries. In addition to the physical consequences, many dog bite victims suffer psychologically because an attack can be traumatic. Some common psychological side effects of dog bites include the following:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Heightened fear of dogs or people
- Repetitive nightmares and insomnia
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Stuttering or other problems speaking
- Increased feelings of anger or other strong emotions
The psychological consequences of a dog bite attack can last for months or years, even after physical injuries have healed. Children are especially prone to severe psychological consequences following a dog bite attack and may experience these side effects for the rest of their lives.
What Should I Do After Being Bitten by a Dog?
If a dog has bitten you, you should take the following steps to protect your health and your rights to compensation:
- Try to identify the dog and its owner.
- Call the police to make a report and find out the name and address of the dog’s veterinarian to determine if the dog was fully inoculated and vaccinated.
- Take pictures of the injuries, area, and dog, if you can.
- Get the owner’s contact and insurance information.
- Look for any eyewitnesses who may have seen the attack and get their information.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible and make sure the doctor thoroughly documents all your injuries. You will likely need a tetanus shot.
- Do not sign any agreements with the dog’s owner, the owner of the property where the attack occurred, or any insurance companies until you have spoken to an attorney.
- Speak to a dog bite attorney as soon as possible after the attack.
Can an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Help if I File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite?
You would be best served by speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after being bitten by a dog. Several of our animal attack practice section members at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, PC. have experience trying dog bite jury trials and taking verdicts. While you may be uncomfortable with pursuing compensation if the dog’s owner is a family member or friend, it’s important to know that this compensation will likely be paid by their homeowners or renters insurance provider.
However, just because the dog’s owner is liable for your injuries does not mean that pursuing the compensation you deserve will be easy. If you are dealing with an insurance company, you may be offered a lowball settlement that is not worth what you are owed.
A New Jersey dog bite lawyer can help you sue for the money you need through an insurance claim or lawsuit. You could be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Past, present, and future pain and suffering, including from living with the scars
- Medical bills and other expenses related to treating your injuries
- Future medical bills for scar revision
- Lost wages if you cannot work due to your dog bite injury
- Reduced earning potential if your injury causes a permanent disability
- Emotional and psychological suffering
- Lower quality of life if your injuries prevent you from participating in daily activities
Explore Your Options with the NJ Dog Bite Lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C.
At Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., our attorneys have the expertise and skill to negotiate for a fair settlement after a dog attack. We are prepared to fight for your rights and help you pursue the compensation you need for your injuries and other losses. Contact our office to speak with an NJ dog bite lawyer during a free initial consultation and see how we can help you.