With spring just around the corner, it is almost time to take your morning run from the treadmill back to the pavement. Returning to the outdoors reintroduces dangers you did not have to worry about in the gym.
For runners that do not pay attention to uneven sidewalks, your daily jog is going to be more of an obstacle course rather than your favorite form of stress relief. Aside from erratic cars and the occasional open manhole cover, the real danger lurks three doors down from your house.
The neighbor's Chihuahua, Rambo, has been watching you all winter, waiting for his chance to sink his teeth into your ankle. This might be the year that he is successful. Dog bites, even those from small dogs, can cause a significant amount of damage. You should not have to pay high medical bills because someone else let their dog run loose.
If a dog has bitten you or someone you love, it is important to understand your options. A local New Jersey attorney can advise you on the best course of action for your case. Read further for an overview of what to do after a dog bite.
Get medical attention
Even if an animal bite seems minor, you should immediately seek medical attention. This is because untreated bites can often result in a serious infection, especially if the animal was diseased. After you have received treatment, you should consider speaking to an attorney. You may have a legal claim for damages.
If you choose to speak to an attorney, be prepared to provide detailed information about the circumstances that surround your injury. In addition, be sure to have the owner's name and phone number if possible, as well as any witness statements.
In New Jersey, dog bite laws enforce the rule of strict liability on dog owners. In other words, the owner is responsible for any injuries caused by his dog whether or not he or she knew the dog had aggressive tendencies.
The damages the court may award you will depend on the seriousness of your injuries. You might be entitled to medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and possibly reimbursement for property damage.
If the dog owner behaved in a way that the court considers reckless or intentionally damaging, you might also be awarded punitive damages. For example, if Rambo's owner knew that the dog was dangerous but still allowed him to run loose in the neighborhood, the court might decide punitive damages are in order.
Get the help you need
If an animal has injured you or someone you love, you might be able to file a claim for damages. As a victim of a dog bite, you do have rights.