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What does strict liability mean concerning dog bites?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2024 | Animal Bites & Attacks

Living in harmony with our furry friends is a shared joy for many in New Jersey. However, when a dog bite occurs, it is important to understand the legal implications.

New Jersey operates on a strict liability basis, which is very important to a dog bite case.

Strict liability defined

New Jersey follows a strict liability approach when it comes to dog bites. Owners are responsible for any injuries their dogs cause.

Proving a case

When it comes to strict liability, there is no need to prove owner negligence. As long as a dog bites someone, the owner is liable. The person only needs to prove the dog bit him or her and that the other party is the owner of the dog. Whether the dog was on its owner’s property or elsewhere, the owner remains responsible for the consequences of the pet’s actions. This approach simplifies the legal process for those who suffer a bite.

History of aggression

In some states, having a history of aggression plays into liability. In New Jersey, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before and the owner had no reason to suspect aggressive behavior, strict liability still applies. The rationale behind this approach is to prioritize the safety of the public and encourage responsible pet ownership. Owners must take appropriate measures to prevent their pets from causing harm.

Possible defenses

Owners may raise certain defenses against liability. If the injured person was unlawfully on the owner’s property or engaged in actions that provoked the dog, these factors could potentially impact the liability determination.

Strict liability for dog bites in New Jersey places a clear responsibility on dog owners for the actions of their pets. It makes for an easy process for injured parties to recover damages.