Dogs are often referred to as a human’s best friend. Cat lovers might disagree. Regardless, it is estimated that about 43 million American households have at least one dog as a companion animal. Animals are a significant and beloved part of many households across the United States. Yet, what happens when a dog bites someone and causes an injury? Dog bites can be serious and traumatizing both physically and emotionally. In New Jersey, specific laws apply to dog bite injuries and it is important for anyone who has been bitten by a dog to understand them. It is also key for those who have a dog to be aware of their responsibilities in case of injury to another person.
In New Jersey, the dog’s owner is liable when their dog bites someone. This is referred to as a strict liability law and means that the owner remains responsible. This applies to all cases when a dog bites a person on private property or while lawfully present on public property. The law also applies even if the owner took reasonable care or attempted to restrain the animal.
This differs from other areas of personal injury law in which the victim must prove negligence on the part of the responsible party. For dog bites, the owner is automatically liable regardless of any negligence. If a dog knocks over the victim, however, the law does not apply; it is restricted to dog bites.
There are situations where the dog owner may have a possible defense against liability. If the victim was trespassing, the law may not apply. If the victim is also shown to have been negligent or provoked the attack, the courts can assign a percentage of responsibility to the victim. This has the effect of also reducing any monetary settlement.
The law also includes a statute of limitations that applies to filing a personal injury lawsuit. Victims must file a lawsuit within two years of the incident, according to the statute. Filing after this time period has passed will usually result in the case being dismissed, so it is important for victims to be timely and proceed as soon as possible after the incident occurs.
Damages for those injured by a dog bite can include coverage of medical expenses and lost wages while unable to work. Additional damages for serious occurrences where the victim is left disfigured can also apply. No one ever anticipates being on the receiving end of a dog bite injury, but unfortunately these incidents can happen. In a case where you have been injured due to a dog bite, it is essential to have a skilled personal injury lawyer on your side to advocate for you.
If you were bitten by a dog, contact an Eatontown personal injury lawyer at Fox & Melofchik, L.L.C. today. Our lawyers have the experience and knowledge to fight for your personal injury claim. We will work to secure you the compensation and care you deserve. Please contact us for a free consultation at 732-493-9400 or complete our online form.
Located in Eatontown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Asbury Park, Neptune, Long Branch, Keansburg, Ocean Township, Eatontown, Red Bank, Middletown, Colts Neck, Deal, Freehold, Holmdel, Jackson, Little Silver, Marlboro, and Rumson.