When Animals Attack! was a popular television series in the 1990s that compiled graphic clips of various animals attacking humans – almost glorifying these terrifying unexpected encounters in a way only Hollywood can. The reality is, every year, thousands of Americans are bitten by animals — most often dog bites.
Injuries caused by animal bites make up one of the most common types of personal injury claims in the United States; so, in many cases, a person bitten by an animal may have a legal right to recover damages from the pet’s owner. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 4.7 million dog bites every year, with 800,000 people requiring medical attention. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports the average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was more than $18,000.
Dog Bite Law in New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 4:19-16)
New Jersey’s dog bite law is a strict liability statute. Strict liability means that the dog owner is liable for injuries caused by his or her dog, regardless of whether the owner was actually at fault. Provided there are no viable defenses that can be proven by the dog owner under the circumstances of the dog bite event, the victim is entitled to recovery under the law. But the type of animal may affect your bite injury claim; therefore, it is important to consult with an experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney to discuss your case.
Untamed and Uncut
The vast majority of animal attacks are caused by dog bites, followed by horse kicks, cat bites, rodent bites (such as gerbils and hamsters), other pet bites and even exotic animals. Owning a pet, particularly a wild or exotic animal, makes one responsible for knowing the laws associated with keeping that animal.
Most people commonly associate pets that bite with dogs, but bites from cats and other animals are also a very common phenomenon. The Center for Disease Control provides some stats on other animal bites below:
• There are an estimated 400,000 cat bites each year.
• An estimated 66,000 hospital emergency visits each year are due to cat bites.
• In 2009, there were 81 rabies cases from dogs, but 300 rabies cases from cats, meaning that cats were three times more likely to be rabid than dogs that year.
• Three children have been killed by pet wolves in the past 30 years.
• Reptile pets can also be fatal; some injuries involve strangulation instead of bites as they are caused by reptiles such as boa constrictors and pythons.
• An injury caused by an exotic animal is a strict liability offense. This means that the owner of the exotic animal might be held liable for an attack regardless of whether they were in fault.
Experienced New Jersey Dog Bite Attorneys
If you have become the victim of a domestic animal bite, it is highly recommended that you speak to an attorney immediately; the type of animal that injures you could affect your legal rights. The knowledgeable personal injury lawyers of Villani & DeLuca can answer your questions and advise you during your free initial consultation. Call us at [dyna_phone phone=’1′ format=’dashed’] to schedule your free consultation today! We represent clients throughout Monmouth County, Ocean County, and the rest of New Jersey.