Dogs have long been considered a “man’s best friend” because of their unconditional love, loyalty and companionship. While we tend to agree with that expression, we are mindful of the inherent risk posed by the unpredictable nature of many dogs.
Unfortunately, dog bites do happen. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the U.S. An alarming statistic points out that more than half of those bitten involve cases where a child was the victim.
When a dog bite occurs, it can lead to serious physical, mental and emotional injuries that require prompt medical attention. Each year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites. In addition to medical treatment, a dog bite victim may be entitled to compensation to cover permanent injuries, lost income and/or pain and suffering.
A. Medical Treatment includes hospital visits, doctor’s’ visits, medications, physical therapy, plastic surgery, and sometimes psychiatric therapy.
B. Permanent Disability/Disfigurement includes payment of compensation for any functional loss or permanent disfigurement of a body part resulting from the dog bite, including scarring.
C. Lost Wages includes compensation to cover for lost wages while a victim is out of work recuperating from a dog bite and necessary medical treatment.
D. Pain and Suffering, while more difficult to prove, provides compensation for the physical and emotional stress caused by the dog bite incident.
It is important to know your rights if you or someone you know was the victim of a dog bite. Or, it is also best to hire an attorney as they handle dog bite cases as well.
New Jersey is considered a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bites, holding a dog owner liable for all of the damages inflicted upon a dog bite victim, regardless of whether the dog had ever exhibited vicious propensities.
In order to recover under the NJ Dog Bite Statute (N.J.S.A. 4:19-16), a Plaintiff only has to prove:
- That the Defendant owned the dog.
- That the dog bit the Plaintiff.
- That the Plaintiff was in a public place or lawfully on the dog owner’s property.
Unlike other states, New Jersey does not follow the “one-bite” rule, which precludes or limits dog owner liability in situations where the owner had no reason to believe his dog was aggressive.
If you are the victim of a dog bite in New Jersey, you should first seek emergent medical treatment. Once your injuries have been assessed, you should contact a personal injury attorney to evaluate your claim. It is important to note that you have a period of two (2) years from the date of the dog bite accident in which to file a formal lawsuit. A Civil Complaint filed after that two-year Statute of Limitations will likely be dismissed by the Court.
Dog bites are much more common than the general population may believe, happening to millions of people in the U.S. each year. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, call the New Jersey dog bite lawyers at Hyberg, White and Mann at 609-407-1000 to schedule your free consultation. The attorneys at Hyberg, White & Mann have been successful in countless cases dealing with a dog bite incident and truly understand the impact a dog bite injury can have on your life.
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