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What rights do you have as a victim of a New Jersey dog attack?

On Behalf of | Oct 23, 2019 | Animal Bites & Attacks

Owning a dog, much like raising a child, involves assuming substantial responsibility. Although you can’t really predict what an animal may do despite how well you train it, you as the owner are typically responsible for what that dog does, at least in the state of New Jersey.

For those who find themselves suffering injuries after a vicious dog bite attack, these rules may be particularly comforting. You have the right to hold a dog’s owner accountable if the dog ran loose and attacked you or if they viciously bit you while you were legally visiting the property of the owner.

The more you understand how New Jersey looks at dog bite cases, the better prepared you will be to make decisions for your specific situation after a dog bites you or someone you love.

New Jersey has strict liability laws for animal owners

Quite a few states seem to prioritize the right of an individual to own an animal over the right of others to be safe. These states have laws that are known as one-bite rules. Basically, if a dog attacks and injures someone but has never done so in the past, the victim may not have any right to seek compensation from the dog’s owner.

Unless the owner somehow acknowledges that the animal poses a threat to the public or there is a record of a previous attack by the animal, the victims will be vulnerable to financial losses. New Jersey protects the rights of its citizens to stay safe from vicious animals over the rights of people to own animals.

That means that you do not have to demonstrate to the courts that the owner knew the dog posed a threat or that the dog has previously attacked someone else. Instead, you just need to prove that you have suffered injuries and financial losses because of the actions of the animal.

What expenses can you seek after a dog bite attack?

Another source of confusion for the victims of dog bite attacks is what compensation they have a right to claim. Generally speaking, any provable financial loss that results directly from the dog bite attack can factor into the compensation you seek. You could seek lost wages for your time off of work, compensation for any medical expenses you incur and property damage costs as well.

Perhaps the animal knocked you over, forcing you to drop a computer or cellphone that cost hundreds of dollars. Maybe they tore your clothing, which happened to be a designer outfit. Those costs can be part of your claim as well.

If the dog’s owner has adequate insurance, you may be able to connect with the compensation you need with a basic insurance claim. However, it is also common for people to file personal injury lawsuits against an animal’s owner after a vicious attack when insurance doesn’t cover everything. The approach you take will likely vary depending on the severity of your injuries and the nature of your relationship with the person who owns the dog.