Knowledgeable Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Representing Victims Across New Jersey
Americans are wild about dogs. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 36.5% of U.S. households own a dog. That works out to 43,346,000 households — and just under 70 million dogs in America.
Of course, while dogs are loyal and faithful companions, they are still animals. Dogs can and do bite humans, including both adults and kids. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in a one year period, approximately 4.7 million people were bitten by dogs; of those people, 800,000 required medical treatment.
Each state has specific laws governing responsibility for dog bites. While some states require that the victim of a dog bite show that the dog was vicious or dangerous, New Jersey does not. Instead, victims of dog bites in New Jersey need only show that they were on public property or legally on private property to recover from the dog’s owner.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Although dogs may be “man’s best friend,” dog bites are far too common in the United States. In many cases, the victims are children, whose small size and tendency to be more active may make them more ready targets for dogs. Children are also generally shorter and closer to a dog’s height, which makes them more susceptible to bites to the face. These are some of the worst possible injuries caused by dog bites.
Dog bites can cause a range of injuries, including permanent scars or disfigurement, infection from untreated bites, nerve damage, fractures, and even death. In many cases, victims of dog bites suffer from trauma and anxiety over the attack. Many people have a life-long fear of dogs after being bitten by one.
Severe dog attacks may result in more significant injuries. Victims of these types of dog bites may require extensive medical treatment, and suffer long-term effects. They may be required to take time off of work, and may even be permanently disabled.
If you have been bitten by a dog, it is critical to seek medical care as soon as possible. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 5 people bitten by a dog will require medical attention — particularly due to the high risk of infection. Dog bites can lead to the transmission of diseases such as rabies, pasteurella, MRSA and tetanus.
New Jersey Law: Dog Owners Generally Responsible for Dog Bites
When it comes to dog bites, New Jersey is what is known as a “strict liability” state. This means that it does not matter if the dog has a history of aggression. In most cases, if you were bitten by a dog, the dog’s owner will be held responsible for your damages.
Unlike other states, New Jersey has a specific statute that addresses liability for dog bites. Under this law, if a dog bites a person while he or she is in a public place or lawfully in a private place — including the property of the dog’s owner — then the dog’s owner will be responsible for any damages suffered by the victim of the dog bite. In other words, as long as you are not trespassing on private property, if you are bitten by a dog, you can recover against the dog’s owner.
Typically, this means filing a claim against the owner’s insurance policy. Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies cover dog bite claims, so you don’t have to worry that you will be hurting your friend or family member financially if you ask for money for your injuries. Instead, the claim will be processed through insurance, and you may be able to recover for property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages that you have incurred.
Of course, even when the law is clear on liability (as it is in New Jersey), insurance companies often don’t want to pay what you deserve. That is why it is critical to work with an experienced New Jersey dog bite lawyer. Your attorney can advocate for you, fighting to make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve.
In New Jersey, dog bite and dog attack cases must be filed within two years of the time of the incident. If it is not filed within this time frame, the case will be barred. For minors, a claim must be filed within two years of the date of their 18th birthday.
How a New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
The law in New Jersey is clear: if your dog bites somebody, you are required to pay for their losses (with a very limited exception for trespassers). Yet despite this law, many insurance companies quibble over the amount of a settlement, making it difficult for victims of dog bites to get the money that they deserve.
With more than 15 years of experience handling dog bite and similar cases, the legal professionals of Mattiacci Law are highly skilled at negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of our clients. Attorney John Mattiacci has personally recovered tens of millions of dollars for his clients. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced New Jersey dog bite lawyer, contact our firm today at 215-398-4306 or email us anytime.