Suffering a dog bite is a visceral experience that can affect a person in many ways, both physical and emotional. However, depending on the state where people live, they may have fairly different legal options to pursue after a dog bite experience.
Here in New Jersey, dog bites are a serious matter. While it is never enjoyable to suffer a serious dog bite, New Jersey offers dog bite victims greater flexibility to pursue legal action after such an injury.
If you or someone you love recently suffered a dog bite, you have a number of things to consider, and it is important to make these decisions carefully. While justice is certainly important, few other types of legal conflict may result in the death of a living creature, which is a sobering responsibility.
It is always wise to consider all of your options with the guidance of an experienced attorney. A professional personal injury and premises liability attorney understands how to work through the various issues that dog bite injuries raise while keeping your rights and priorities protected.
New Jersey doesn't give dogs one free bite
In many states, a dog and his or her owner get one bite before a person can pursue legal action against the owner. However, New Jersey does not offer this flexibility. This is good news for dog bite victims, because it lowers the standards that a bite must meet before a victim can take legal action.
Even if it is the first time that a dog has ever bitten someone, a victim may pursue monetary damages from the owner of the dog, and may even compel the owner to euthanize the animal.
Whom can you sue?
The liable parties may vary, depending on when and how you receive the bite injury. If, for instance, you are in a public space and a dog bites you, then the liability usually lands solely on the owner of the dog.
However, if you receive a bite from an animal while on private property, and the owner of the property should reasonably have known that the animal was dangerous, then you may have grounds hold the owner of that property liable as well.
On the other hand, New Jersey often does not favor the plight of a person who unlawfully enters a property and receives a bite from a dog guarding that property. If you receive a bite as a part of criminal activity, this may compromise your options for pursuing fair compensation.
Do your homework before you file a claim
The strength of your claim generally depends on the severity of the injury you suffer and the circumstances under which you received the injury. It is wise to consult with an attorney to assess your circumstances and identify ways you can protect your rights as you pursue justice.