When a dog attacks a person in New Jersey, there are specific legal principles that will apply to any legal claim. An experienced dog bite attorney can assist a victim in collecting damages by filing a suit to collect for lost income, medical bills and pain and suffering.
New Jersey has strict liability dog bite laws
In New Jersey, a dog owner is always responsible for their dog’s actions, no matter how much effort they put into restraining the dog or attempting to shield others from the dog’s actions. The bottom line is that if the dog causes an injury, the owner is responsible.
The state’s laws are very specific in that there is a statute that covers just dog bites. However, if the dog causes an injury due to some other type of behavior, then a different statute will apply, and a victim may seek damages through a negligence claim instead. For example, if a dog and their owner are taking a walk and the dog becomes excited, knocking a person down and causing cuts, bruises, sprains or broken bones, the negligence standard will apply.
With the help of an animal attack lawyer, such as the Law Offices of Patricia Eiges, the victim will need to show that the injury took place because the dog’s owner was negligent and didn’t do enough to prevent the incident. An attorney must be able to show that the owner had a duty to take reasonable care to control the dog, such as keeping it on a tight leash. Next, it must be shown that the owner did not meet that duty, perhaps by letting the dog off the leash or giving it a 20 or 30-foot length of leash to run with. Finally, it must be shown that because of the failure to use reasonable care, the dog caused harm to the injured victim.
Criminal penalties may also apply in an animal attack
Owners of dogs that have been formally identified as dangerous in New Jersey could also face criminal penalties if they do not do enough to keep the dog restrained. Criminal penalties are different in that they could include fines and jail time upon conviction vs. a civil case where only damages may be awarded. In a dangerous dog situation, an owner could face both civil and criminal liability.
The Law Offices of Patricia Eiges serves clients in Hazlet and other surrounding New Jersey communities. Call today to schedule a free consultation.