The Biggest Risk Factors for Animal Bites
Family pets in America are popular today than ever. Also increasing in popularity are rescue pets. Of course, with the increased numbers of pets comes added risks. The most common risks associated with pets are animal bites and falls caused by dogs. The owners of these four-legged friends must care for them properly and secure them from getting loose in the neighborhood. If they are negligent in this regard, injuries to others are likely to occur.
When considering risk factors, animal bites are the first thing that comes to mind. Dogs have a protective nature that makes them susceptible to biting someone. Being attacked or simply bitten by a dog or any animal is a painful experience and can result in significant residual scarring and emotional distress, especially in children. Sadly, the potential damage does not stop there.
In addition to the pain of being bitten, an animal bite also subjects the victim to the added risk of catching rabies, a potentially deadly disease if not treated quickly. When a person suffers an animal bite, they should immediately seek medical treatment to treat the wound and reduce any risk of infection. In addition to proper wound care and medications, testing for rabies may be advised.
Animal Bite Liability
Dog bite liability laws vary from state to state. In most states, the law requires property owners to take reasonable care to keep their dog properly restrained and to make their property safe for guests to enter. New Jersey follows the “strict liability” law for dog bite cases. New Jersey Statute 4:19-16 controls dog bites:
“Liability of owner regardless of viciousness of dog – The owner of any dog which shall bite person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
For the purpose of this section, a person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner when he is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner thereof.
What this means is that dog owners are liable for any injuries caused by a dog bite, regardless of the amount of care a dog owner takes to control the dog and regardless of whether the dog had ever bitten anyone previously.
To prove an animal bite lawsuit an injured victim must prove only that the defendant owned the dog, that the dog bit the plaintiff, and that the plaintiff was in a public place or lawfully on the owner’s property. Even trespassing is no defense to a dog bite unless the trespasser had a criminal intent while on the dog owner’s property.
Bitten by a Dog
If you are bitten by a dog, the first thing to do is to seek proper medical treatment. After getting medical attention, you should document as much as you can about the incident. Collecting such documentation early on will let you avoid struggling months down the road trying to recall necessary details that may have already faded from memory. Pictures taken at the time will also assist in documenting events and injuries. Other steps to take include notifying the police and animal control of the incident and speaking to the animal owner regarding insurance information. Property insurance comes with liability insurance to cover injuries suffered by others while on the property, including dog bites.
Filing an Animal Bite Lawsuit
If you’ve been bitten by a dog or other animal, you need to know your rights. Consult the animal bite lawsuit experts at Rossetti & DeVoto, P.C., New Jersey’s Personal Injury Law firm. Our attorneys will assist you through the whole process, start to finish, properly documenting your injuries and getting you full compensation for your pain and suffering, scarring, medical bills, and lost wages. At Rossetti & DeVoto, P.C. we fight for your rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Call today for a free consultation (856) 354-0900.