Dog and Animal Bites FAQs
1. If a dog bites me, can I recover for my injuries?
Yes. Dog bites can be serious cases, often resulting in significant scarring and injuries. New Jersey recognizes injury claims for people bitten by dogs and has enacted a law that specifically protects persons from dog attacks.
2. What must I prove in order to recover for my injuries?
The law requires a dog bite victim to prove:
- Who owned or controlled the dog at the time of the bite or attack;
- That you were bitten while you were in a public place or on private property on which you were allowed; and
- That you were injured from a dog bite.
3. How do I know if I was allowed to be on private property if that is where the dog bite occurred?
You are allowed to be on private property when you are invited on the property by the owner (either by invitation or by a common understanding) or when you are in the performance of a legal duty, such as a mailman.
4. Does it matter if this was the dog’s first bite?
No. New Jersey’s “Dog Bite” law imposes strict liability upon an owner regardless of whether the dog has bitten people on prior occasions or whether the owner has knowledge that the dog might bite persons.
5. Can I be held responsible for anything I did in causing the dog to bite?
The injured person can be fully or partially at fault if he or she incited or aggravated the dog or knew that the dog was likely to bite.
6. Can I still recover for injuries if I am attacked by a dog even if I am not bitten?
Yes. If you are attacked by a dog and suffer injury, but the dog does not actually bite you, you can still recover if you prove:
- The dog’s owner failed to maintain reasonable control over the dog; or
- The owner knew of the dog’s propensity to bite or cause injury.
7. Who is responsible to pay for my injuries?
The dog’s owner (or the person in control of the dog at the time) is responsible for the injuries caused by a dog bite or attack. They are often insured for any damages that have to be paid through their homeowners’ insurance policy.
8. What should I do immediately after a dog bite or attack?
You should immediately report any dog bite or attack to the local police. First, because it may prevent another attack. Second, the police will investigate the history of the health of the dog and whether the dog had all of its shots. This will assist your medical providers in giving you the best possible care.