New Jersey Dog Bite Law
New Jersey dog bite law has developed significantly over the years. The NJ dog bite statute is a strict liability statute; this means that regardless of the viciousness of their dog, an owner of a dog is liable to a dog bite victim. Viciousness refers to whether or not the dog has been proven to be dangerous in the past or has bitten someone before the latest incident. The statute applies to a dog attacking someone in a public space, such as a sidewalk or park, or while the victim is lawfully on private property including the dog owner’s property. If you were bitten in a public place or even in the residence of the dog’s owner (provided you are there lawfully), the dog’s owner will be liable for your injuries if there are no defense factors.
Elements of NJ Dog Bite Statute
The components of a dog bite case that have to be established in order to obtain a desirable judgment for the victim are as follows:
- The defendant was the owner of the dog in question.
- The plaintiff was on/in a public place or lawfully on/in a private area, including the property of the defendant.
- The dog did bite the plaintiff while in such a place.
- Someone is lawfully upon private property when they are expressly invited by the owner onto the property, or when they are in the performance of a legal duty, such as a mail carrier.
Common Defenses to a Dog Bite Claim
Usually, the NJ dog bite law statute allows a defense based upon trespass by the dog bite victim, or if the dog bite occurred as a result of the victim’s negligence. A defendant in an NJ dog bite claim may use the defense of negligence to reduce his or her accountability to the dog bite victim. If the defendant raises this defense, he or she has the burden of proof on themselves, to prove that the victim of the dog bite was negligent. The defendant must establish that the victim of the dog bite endangered themselves voluntarily to a known risk. A known risk meaning, that the victim was previously aware of the violent nature of the dog or that the victim deliberately intended to incite the dog to bite by teasing or taunting the dog, for example.
When is it Time to get a NJ Dog Bite Lawyer?
Victims of dog bites often have to deal with expensive medical bills, lost wages, missed school, and they often endure pain and suffering and emotional distress. If you or a loved one is the victim of a dog bite, you should consider seeking legal representation from an experienced dog bite attorney immediately. Our NJ dog bite lawyers will be able to help you to obtain evidence, identify defendants and witnesses, and help you receive compensation for your injuries. Call us today for a free consultation.