Dog bites and attacks that are unexpected and unprovoked can cause a tremendous amount of physical and emotional damage, especially when the resulting injuries are severe. Fortunately for New Jersey dog attack victims, New Jersey’s dog bite laws serve to protect and compensate innocent dog attack victims. In fact, our laws are so favorable to dog bite victims that a New Jersey court has held that broken skin is not even a requirement to prove a dog bite injury. Our dog attack attorneys with The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. have highlighted portions of New Jersey’s dog bite laws and theories of recovery below.
- Physical – Physical injuries may include lacerations, shredded skin and muscle, permanent scarring, disfigurement, disease, and death. These injuries may require medical treatments and surgeries to repair the damage caused by a dog attack.
- Emotional –Dog bites can have truly emotional impacts on victims and witnesses, especially for children who are often the victims in dog attacks.
It does not matter what breed the dog is or if the dog has bitten anyone before, if New Jersey’s strict liability elements are satisfied, the dog’s owner will be liable for any injuries and damages sustained. Strict liability elements are 1) the defendant was the owner of the dog, 2) the plaintiff was in a public place or legally on someone’s private property, and 3) the dog bite occurred when the plaintiff was in one of those places.
Other theories of recovery
Should you find that you cannot satisfy the strict liability elements because the plaintiff was a trespasser, New Jersey allows for other theories of recovery for a dog bite or dog attack victim.
Under a premises liability theory, you will show that the defendant property owner was negligent in his or her duty of care to a trespasser (yes, sometimes a property owner owes a duty of care even to trespassers). One example would be a child trespasser who was attacked by a dog on the dog owner’s property.
New Jersey also protects victims who were attacked by dogs or other animals with a dangerous or vicious trait or propensity. In these cases, you need to show1) that an animal owned by the defendant injured the plaintiff, and 2) that the animal had a vicious or dangerous propensity. Evidencing a prior dog bite or aggressive behavior often satisfies this second element. And 3) that owner knew or should have known about the dangerous propensity that caused your injuries.
Dog injuries other than bites
Strict liability is only available for actual dog bites, so for example, if a big dog knocks you over and you sustain injuries, strict liability does not apply. That does not prohibit your recovery, however. Your claim may be made on a theory of negligence if you can show that the owner was negligent in letting his large dog off leash in a public place or some similar factual scenario that shows an owner breached his or her duty of care resulting in your injuries.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries due to a dog bite or other injuries caused by someone’s animal, contact one of our Atlantic City dog attack attorneys with The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. We will discuss the extent of your injuries and damages to help you value your claim and discuss your recovery options and legal strategies.