I Was Bitten by My Neighbor’s Dog. What Can I Do?
Every year, over 4 million people in the United States are attacked by dogs. The vast majority of those attacked, and nearly half of those seriously injured by dog bites, are children. If you are the victim of such an incident, you need to know your rights. So if you were bitten by your neighbor’s dog, here’s what you can do.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites, while most often not deadly, can cause life-changing and permanent damage. The majority of dog bites affect the arms, hands, feet, legs, head and neck areas of the body. The most serious types of dog bite injuries include:
- Permanent scarring
- Damaged nerves, muscles, and tendons, which can impede mobility
- Infections from cuts and scratches
- Emotional and psychological trauma
Dog Bites and NJ State Law
In the State of New Jersey, the owner of a dog can be held liable for injuries caused by dog bites. New Jersey has a dog bite statute that provides that the owner of a dog is strictly liable for all injuries resulting from a bite. This means that the owner of the dog must prevent his or her dog from biting another person. If he or she fails to do so, they are responsible for the injuries caused by the bite even if the dog never bit anyone before and even if the owner had no reason to believe the dog would bite anyone. The only exception to this rule is if the person is illegally on the dog owner’s property or the has provoked the dog in some way.
The owner or tenant of the premises where the dog bite occurs can also be held responsible under traditional premises liability law.
New Jersey law has a statute of limitations of two years from the date of the incident for you to file a claim. As such, it is essential that you contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer right away. Cases filed after the two years have expired are often dismissed.
After You Are Bitten
If you have been bitten, there are certain steps you should take immediately. The first is to contact the police and seek immediate medical care. The police will investigate the matter and find out whether the dog has had all of its vaccinations. Knowing whether the dog is up to date on its vaccinations will impact the medical treatment you receive. Even after your initial medical treatment, however, you may still not fully understand the extent of your injuries or scarring. You may not fully know, for example, how your scars will look as they heal, whether your nerves or ligaments were injured, whether your wound will become infected, whether you will have resulting emotional trauma and whether you may need surgery to improve your appearance. This sense of unknowing is especially true for psychological damage, or PTSD which occurs after many dog bites, especially with young children.
Seek Expert Legal Advice for Your Dog Bite Claim
When bitten by a dog, you should seek expert legal advice right away. If you are the victim of a dog bite, or animal attack, you have the right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering, disability, scarring and any psychological injuries that result. You need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side. Rossetti & DeVoto, PC is willing to assist you through the process of claiming compensation for your injuries. Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys will relentlessly fight for your rights, and make sure that you always come out on top. Call us today at (844) 263-6260 for a free, no-obligation consultation.