Types of Compensation for Dog Bites
According to New Jersey law, victims suffering from dog bites are eligible for compensation recovery. The person bitten can possibly receive damages if they have been bitten by a dog whether they were on the dog owner’s property, lawfully in a private place, or in a public place. The viciousness of the dog does not particularly come into play. That, in essence, is what section 4:19-16 of the New Jersey Statutes refers to in a nutshell. What it boils down to is that if you’ve been bitten by a dog, after receiving the proper medical attention, your next step should be to contact a knowledgeable attorney experienced in dog bites.
More New Jersey Statutes
In addition to protecting dog bite victims, however, New Jersey statutes also can provide a line of defense for dog owners and complicate many cases. As examples, complications that can arise involve the following sections of New Jersey’s Comparative Negligence Act:
- A jury may attribute a percentage of the loss (possibly 50%) each to the dog owner and to the dog handler (walker). So, a victim may only receive the dog owner’s 50% of their losses if neither assets nor insurance is/was held by the dog handler.
- Directly to the victim of a dog bite, 50% blame may be attributed if they are believed to be somehow negligent (i.e., they weren’t watching where they were going). In this case, only 50% of the losses may be received by the victim from the owner of the dog.
Note: Playing a large part in the “blame game” can be the age of the dog bite victim. Clearly, a victim would not particularly be presumed negligent if they were, as an example, under the age of seven. There is an almost irrefutable presumption that they are not considered negligent at four years or younger.
If You’re Bitten by a Dog…
As stated, dog bites should receive immediate medical attention. Following that, however, to file a lawsuit in regard to a dog bite incident, the victim has two years in New Jersey. For personal injury lawsuits (re: dog bite injuries), there is a two-year statute of limitations in New Jersey. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, if you file after that deadline, you can expect your case to be completely dismissed.
New Jersey has rules that are relatively strict regarding how dog owners can defend themselves against a lawsuit and regarding deadlines. They also have firm regulations about what kinds of damages can be pursued. New Jersey is a strict liability state. This means that, rather than the burden of proof falling on the victim, it falls on the owner to defend the allegations being made against them.
If You’re the Dog Owner…
Frequently, trespassing is used as a dog bite claim defense. If, when the incident occurred, the person that got bitten had entered a private area, for any injuries received, the dog owner may not be held liable. This includes lawfully private property (a home or backyard) or public property.
In any case, whether you’re the victim of a dog bite or the dog owner being sued, adequate legal representation is always highly recommended.
Do You Need a Knowledgeable Dog Bite Attorney?
If you have been the victim of a dog bite, do not hesitate to seek the advice and assistance of our legal experts at Corradino and Papa, LLC. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Disclaimer: Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.