New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer

In New Jersey, strict liability is imposed on the owners of dogs and other animals that bite and seriously injure others. There is no such thing as a “one-bite rule” where if the animal in question hasn’t bitten someone before, the owner isn’t liable. It doesn’t exist.

In New Jersey, there are no free bites when animals attack.

At Brady Reilly & Cardoso LLC, we represent individuals and families in northeastern New Jersey who have suffered serious injuries and other losses as the result of negligent dog owners. If you or someone you love has recently suffered a serious dog bite injury — we encourage you to put more than three decades of trial experience on your side by calling or contacting our firm today for a free consultation.

New Jersey Dog Bite Resources

To immediately access the resources at any point on this page, click the corresponding links below.

Possible Consequences of a Dog Bite
What is New Jersey’s Dog Bite Statute?
Benefits of Hiring a Dog Bite Lawyer
How Our New Jersey Dog Bite Attorney Can Help
Potential Damages Available in Your Case
Time Limit to File a Dog Bite Claim
Speak to a Lawyer Today

New Jersey Dog Bite Attorney

What Are The Possible Consequences of a Dog Bite?

Dog bites might seem common and sound like no big deal, but they can result in severe physical and emotional harm; the damage caused by such incidents is often more than what meets the eye. Some common consequences include:

Physical Scarring: A bite from a large or small dog can cause substantial injuries resulting in serious scarring and permanent disfigurement, affecting the function and appearance of body parts.

Infections: A sometimes overlooked but severe consequence of dog bites is infections. Even a seemingly minor bite can become infected if not correctly cleaned and treated.

Fear and Emotional Trauma: An upsetting event like a dog attack could evoke distressing emotions lasting long after the incident occurs. You may find yourself developing uncontrollable fears around dogs or related situations – this could be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Medical Expenses: Costs can begin to mount, starting with your immediate visit to the hospital, screening for rabies, stitches, other emergency interventions, and then further increase due to necessary follow-up treatments like check-ups or potential surgeries. More complicated cases may need prolonged treatment which equates to higher expenses.

Lost Income: Recovering from a dog bite may require time off work for physical as well as psychological healing, leading to significant income loss depending on the healing timeline.

The impacts of a dog bite can significantly disrupt one’s life in many ways.

What is New Jersey’s Dog Bite Statute?

New Jersey’s dog bite statute operates on a principle known as strict liability. In this context, it means that the dog owner is held responsible for any injuries their pet causes, regardless of whether they had prior knowledge or warning of the animal’s potential aggression.

“The owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

While New Jersey operates under a strict liability rule, situations exist where this might not apply. Several exceptions could affect the application of this dog bite statute:

The Injured Party Was Trespassing

If an individual is bitten while not lawfully present on public property or private grounds – trespassing – they generally wouldn’t be eligible to make a claim against the owner under strict liability.

The Injury Was Not The Result of a Dog Bite

This specific statute covers injuries caused directly by bites; if your injury came from falling over trying to avoid a dog or occurred in some other way, you may have to file a premises liability claim instead, which is based on negligence.

The Dog Was in Someone Else’s Care

Typically, an owner carries responsibility for a dog bite, but if someone else is taking care of the dog – like a dog walker or a friend – this makes your case more difficult. In these situations, it’s essential to work with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Do You Need a New Jersey Dog Bite Attorney?

Working with a New Jersey dog bite attorney is essential and advised for many reasons:

Understanding of New Jersey Dog Bite Laws: Laws specific to dog bites in New Jersey aren’t always simple, and having an attorney who understands these statutes will give you a better chance at success.

Experience with Insurance Companies: An experienced dog bite lawyer brings negotiating expertise when dealing with insurance companies. They know the tactics insurers might use to try and undercut the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Legal Expertise in Liability and Damages: Determining fault and arriving at appropriate figures for compensation requires a full understanding of legal principles, which a lawyer has.

Court Representation: If it becomes necessary, an attorney can represent you in court hearings.

Securing adequate legal representation from a New Jersey personal injury lawyer gives you a much better chance of successfully navigating these types of claims.

How Our New Jersey Dog Bite Attorney Can Help

Our practice includes dog bites resulting in:

Whatever type of dog bite injury is involved, it is important to recognize that New Jersey’s strict liability laws are not a guarantee that you will recover. For instance, a dog owner may try to claim that you were trespassing at the time of the incident or that you intentionally tried to agitate the dog in some way. Without experienced lawyers representing you, they may succeed.

In other situations, the dog may be owned by someone who doesn’t carry homeowners insurance. When this occurs, victims can still sue the dog owner but will generally not recover much in the way of compensation. In these cases, victims may be able to obtain medical coverage through their own homeowners or health insurance policy.

Where there is insurance coverage, you can rest assured that our lawyers will spare no effort or resource to ensure the maximum possible compensation possible for you and your family.

Potential Damages Available in Your Case

When deciding to pursue legal action after a dog bite incident, understanding potential damages you can secure is crucial. Generally, claims involve two primary types of damages:

Economic Damages

These include quantifiable financial losses incurred as a result of the accident – medical bills for treatment and hospital stays, costs for necessary medication or support like crutches and slings, as well lost income if time off work was needed.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages might also be awarded in a dog bite case. These are less tangible than out-of-pocket costs associated with the incident but should not be disregarded, as they could form an integral part of your claim. Specifically, this usually includes:

Physical Pain

This compensates for pain and suffering caused by physical distress beyond the immediate incident. This could include any discomfort you will experience in the future linked to the attack.

Mental Anguish

The emotional impact can linger long after physical injuries have healed; compensation for mental anguish serves to mitigate this suffering which can include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety, for example.

Loss Of Enjoyment of Life

These injuries can disrupt your normal routine, creating key lifestyle shifts and loss of enjoyment or quality of life. Returning to activities that were once loved may now be a challenge due to physical limitations or emotional distress associated with the accident.

In rare cases, punitive damages might be awarded in addition to the other forms of compensation. This is only if there’s clear and convincing evidence that the dog owner acted with actual malice or displayed a significant disregard for people who foreseeably could have been harmed because of their acts or omissions.

“Punitive damages may be awarded to the plaintiff only if the plaintiff proves, by clear and convincing evidence, that the harm suffered was the result of the defendant’s acts or omissions, and such acts or omissions were actuated by actual malice or accompanied by a wanton and willful disregard of persons who foreseeably might be harmed by those acts or omissions. This burden of proof may not be satisfied by proof of any degree of negligence including gross negligence.”

How Long Do You Have to File a Dog Bite Claim in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, you’re given a two-year window to file a dog bite claim. This time limit usually starts from the date of the dog bite incident itself.

“Except as otherwise provided by law, every action at law for an injury to the person caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of any person within this State shall be commenced within two years next after the cause of any such action shall have accrued…”

This two-year deadline is what’s known as the statute of limitations. If you fail to file your claim within this deadline, you could lose out on your ability to file and recover compensation.

There are sometimes exceptions to this timeline, so always speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to make sure you don’t miss your chance to get what you’re entitled to.

Your Decisions, Our Experience

Call (201) 997-0030 today. For a free consultation regarding your dog bite injuries — contact our New Jersey law offices directly or feel free to contact a Jersey City personal injury attorney online as well.

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