The members of our legal team receive numerous questions every year concerning legal issues surrounding a NJ dog bite claim. While the questions posed by potential clients to our lawyers vary, there are some that are reoccurring. The following are some of the more common questions raised by individuals who have suffered a dog bite in New Jersey. Our New Jersey dog bite attorneys are available 24/7 for free initial consultations if individuals possess more detailed questions or are seeking representation. We represent those injured as a result of being bitten by a dog throughout the state including in Middlesex County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Passaic County and elsewhere.
Q: Who is liable for dog bite injuries?
A: If you have been injured by a dog bite, the person liable to compensate you for your suffering is the owner of the dog and/or any other person possessing a duty to protect you from such an injury.
Q: What do I need to prove in order for the owner to be liable?
A: New Jersey has a dog bite statute, N.J.S.A. §4:19-16, which says that three elements must be proven in order for the owner to be liable for injuries caused by his or her dog: (1) that the defendant was actually the owner of the dog; (2) that the dog actually bit the injured person; and (3) that the injured person was either in a public place or was lawfully in a private place when the bite took place. If the injured party can show that these elements occurred, then compensation may be provided for his or her injuries.
Q: If a stray dog bites me, do I have a legal claim?
A:Usually there is no claim if there is no owner or person otherwise possessing a duty to protect against the dog. There are, however, situations where a third party could be held liable, for example, where a pound, kennel or vet is negligent in preventing a stray dog in its custody from biting an innocent party.
Q: How are damages determined for dog bite cases?
A: In New Jersey, there are multiple components of damage including unpaid medical bills, future treatment expenses, pain and suffering, loss of earnings or earning capacity, as well as scarring and disfigurement.
Q: Are there any restrictions on the amount of time I can take to file a lawsuit for my injuries?
A: In New Jersey, any personal injury claim must be filed within two years from the date that you were injured. Therefore, it is extremely important to consult with an attorney immediately after your injury so that you do not face any problems with New Jersey’s dog bite statute of limitations.
Q: If I was at work during my dog bite injury, should I file for worker’s compensation?
A: It is quite possible that you will be able to file a claim for worker’s compensation if you have been injured during the course of employment. You may also be able to file a claim against a third party such as the owner of the dog.
Q: Will retaining a lawyer make my settlement a lot smaller?
A: Our lawyers will evaluate your situation and advise you whether you possess a viable claim in our judgment. Initial consultations are free of charge, so there is nothing to lose from seeking free legal advice. Retaining a lawyer usually results in much higher compensation than if you decided to take on the case yourself. Therefore, even though a lawyer may take a percentage of your settlement, you will typically end up with much more in the way of compensation.
Q: What information will I need to have for my attorney when I file my dog bite claim?
A: It is always easiest when a dog bite victim possesses information concerning the name, address, and insurance information of the dog owner; the location of where you received your injuries; information about any potential witnesses; documentation and photographs of your injuries; and information about the dog including any prior incidents or attacks. Lack of this information usually is not a problem, however, as post-injury investigation can usually yield the same information.
Q: Are there any defenses that a dog owner can bring to escape liability for my injuries?
A: There are some common defenses that dog owners try to assert in order to mitigate or potentially evade compensation. The owner might try to say that you (1) provoked the animal, assumed the risk, or were negligent and this is what led to your injury. In the overwhelming percentage of cases, these allegations have absolutely no impact on the ultimate outcome of a dog bite case.
Q: Will I have a valid claim if I received a dog bite while performing work on someone’s property?
A: If you are lawfully in a private place when the injury took place, then under N.J.S.A. §4:19-16, the owner of that property has a legal responsibility for your safety. The property owner must warn you about the animal, especially if you are dealing with a vicious dog. Additionally, if you were employed to be on the premises, you have also have a worker’s compensation claim.
If you have sustained an injury due to a dog bite, please contact us at 1-877-450-8301 as one of our attorneys would be happy to assist you. Initial consultations with our lawyers are free of charge, so there is no reason to hesitate contacting us. We have offices to serve you in almost every region including Hudson County, Camden County, Burlington County, Mercer County and Somerset County. An attorney with experience handling dog bites is available 24/7 to address your questions and concerns.