Understanding Strict Liability for a Dog Bite Injury

Pets enrich our lives in many ways, but unfortunately, they can also be the cause of injury. Dog bites alone injure more than 4.7 million people every year. When injuries from domesticated animals occur (cats, reptiles, even exotic animals), the victim may be able to recover damages from the animal’s owner. It is important to understand the strict dog bite injury laws in New Jersey before an incident occurs; keep reading to understand the regulations and repercussions for dog bite injuries:Dog Bite Injury Laws

Owner Liability

Dog owners in New Jersey are held to extremely strict statutes and liabilities. The dog’s owner will be held responsible for any dog bite injuries that occur, both in a public place and while lawfully in a private place. This means that invited guests and lawful visitors, such as postal carriers, may claim liability if they are bitten. If a dog does bite someone in a public place, the owner is automatically held responsible regardless of any warnings given or preventative measures taken.

Making a Case for Compensation

Unlike many other states’ dog bite statutes, New Jersey’s statute does not require a dog bite victim to prove that the owner of the dog was negligent. Rather, under New Jersey’s statute (N.J.S.A. 4:19-16), a dog owner is held strictly liable for the harm his or her dog causes. What this means is that a dog bite victim need only prove that he or she was bit by a dog and establish to whom the dog belongs.

The state’s strict liability statute means that owners are liable for any and all dog bite injuries. If you have been bitten, you do not need to build up a case that cites owner negligence or carelessness. You only need to prove that the dog bite occurred and to whom the dog belongs, which may be done:

  • Using photographs of the bite
  • With video of the incident
  • Using eyewitness accounts

This particular injury statute does not apply to any other injury caused by a dog, such as being knocked down by an overly friendly or excited canine.

Filing within the Statute of Limitations

Many dog bites result in serious injuries that require immediate medical attention. If you or a loved one were the victim of a dog bite injury, you may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future wages, and pain and suffering.

Dog bite incidents fall under the category of personal injury cases, and there is a strict statute of limitations for each state. According to the website for the State of New Jersey, the deadline for filing a lawsuit in court is two years from the date of the injury. If you do not file within this time period, your lawsuit will most likely be dismissed without any consideration.

Exceptions with a Dog Bite Claim

As with other victim-friendly laws in New Jersey, some exceptions exist in the dog bite statute for the strict liability of dog owners. For example, dog owners may not defend against any dog bite claims except in the case of trespassers. If an owner can prove that the victim was trespassing when the dog bite occurred, the case may be dismissed. Liability for dog bite injury may also be absolved if the dog bite victim’s personal negligence led to the injury.

Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has suffered physical injuries as a result of being bitten by a dog, contact the lawyers at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. We will determine how your case fits New Jersey’s statute, and, if we take your case, we will provide you with the steps to take after your dog bite and fight to get you the maximum recovery you deserve. Ensuring liability for dog bite injury can help you receive full compensation for any medical bills or lost wages caused by a dog bite injury. Contact the lawyers at Villani & DeLuca P.C., who will carefully review your case and help you build a strong personal injury lawsuit. If you are feeling unsure, read our customer reviews and see how Villani & DeLuca can help. For a free initial consultation and case evaluation, call 888-389-9533 or contact us online; as with all personal injury matters, there are no legal fees unless we recover for you.