For those who own dogs in New Jersey, New York and throughout the country, a dog is far more than just a pet; a dog is a companion, friend, and even a member of the family.
But as much as a dog may be loved and trusted, even the best dogs can demonstrate aggressive tendencies when they feel threatened or scared.
In fact, there are millions of dog bite cases reported every year, with some bites even leaving victims with disabling or disfiguring injuries.
If you’ve been attacked by a dog, our New Jersey and New York dog bite lawyers at the office of Kreizer Law can help you to understand what steps to take next, from filing a report with the proper authorities to filing a lawsuit for damages against the dog’s owner.
To learn more about our legal services and how we can assist you, please reach out to us directly today.
Dog Bite Statistics
Dog bites are a serious problem in the United States. In fact, according to Canine Journal, which cites the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 4.7 million dog bite cases reported throughout the country every year. While about 80 percent of dog bites don’t lead to serious injuries and don’t require medical care, about 800,000 cases do result in medical care each year.
Some dogs are more dangerous than others. To be sure, statistics show that pit bulls, chihuahuas, bulldogs, German shepherds, Australian shepherds, cocker spaniels, and bull terriers tend to bite more than other breeds. While breed has something to do with it, dogs that are not spayed or neutered also have a greater tendency to bite.
Dog Bites: Injuries and Damages
While a slight nip can be scary, most dog bites, as stated above, don’t really do too much physical harm to a person. However, this isn’t always the case; an especially bad dog attack could leave an individual with serious harm, both physical and psychological. Common dog bite injuries that result from a serious attack include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (which can occur if the person falls down and hits their head as a result of the animal attack);
- Bone fractures;
- Infection and disease;
- Soft tissue injuries;
- Internal injuries;
- Scarring and disfigurement; and
- Psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In addition to the injuries above that a person may suffer, a variety of other noneconomic and economic damages are commonly associated with dog attacks as well. These include:
- Medical expenses;
- Rehabilitation and therapy costs;
- Lost wages; and
- Pain and suffering.
Who’s Liable for Damages After a Dog Attack in New Jersey?
If you are attacked by a dog and incur financial damages as a result of the injuries, you may have questions about who’s liable for your harm and how you will make up for your lost wages, pay for your medical bills, and account for any other losses you have suffered.
In New Jersey, the law–section 4:19-16 of New Jersey Code–holds that the owner of a dog that attacks another person is held strictly liable (which means that the harmed individual doesn’t have to prove the dog owner’s negligence) when the victim is lawfully on a private or public place at the time of the bite, including the property of the dog owner. The law clearly states that the dog owner will be held liable regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of the viciousness.
Note that the statute only covers dog bites, not instances when a dog harms a person in another way, such as jumping on the person and knocking them down, causing the person to break their arm. A person who is harmed by a dog in this manner could pursue a negligence-based action against the dog owner, though.
How Our NJ and NY Dog Bite Lawyers Can Help
Being attacked by a dog can be a very traumatic experience. If you have been attacked, we urge you to take action immediately, beginning with seeking medical care. Then, our lawyers will be here to help you take the next steps and preserve your right to compensation. We will aid you by:
- Reviewing your case for free. We start all new cases with an introductory free case consultation where we can learn more about your case and you can learn more about our process.
- Assisting you in notifying the appropriate parties. After suffering a dog bite, it’s important that you inform various authorities of the bite, including the police in some cases, and always to the local health department. Additionally, you will need to get the dog owner’s information and provide their insurer (typically, their homeowners’ insurance provider) with notice of the event, too.
- Gathering evidence. While a dog owner can be held strictly liable for harm their dog causes, note that there is an exception to this rule: if the victim is trespassing at the time of attack/is not upon a property lawfully, the dog owner will not be held liable. Our lawyers can help you to gather evidence in your favor. If you are pursuing a claim under the negligence theory of liability, we can gather evidence to support your case, too.
- Proving damages. You’ll need evidence to prove that you have suffered the economic and noneconomic damages for which you are seeking compensation. We can gather evidence, organize it and keep it safe, and calculate your total damages.
- Negotiating your claim. Once you have filed your claim, you will receive a settlement offer from the insurance company. You should not accept this settlement without having it reviewed by a New Jersey dog bite attorney first. We will negotiate with the insurance company to improve your chances of recovering your maximum recovery award.
Call Our NJ and NY Dog Bite Attorneys Today
We know what you’re going through after being attacked by a dog, and we want to help. For trusted, effective legal counsel that you can count on, please call the office of Kreizer Law today for your free consultation, or send us a message telling us more about your injuries.
Call us toll-free (800) 4-JUSTICE ® – (800) 458-7842 to begin evaluating your case.