According to the Humane Society of the United States, more than 83 million dogs across the country are considered household pets.
Every year, a significant percentage of these canine companions are responsible for biting attacks that lead to serious injuries. Dog bites and attacks can be traumatizing, causing physical, emotional, and financial damages that can last for a very long time.
In New Jersey, some laws protect dog bite victims and help them get the compensation they deserve.
An experienced dog bite lawyer can help these victims understand the unique challenges they’re facing, let them know what to expect at each stage of the process, and build a strong case.
Which Dog Breeds Bite and Injure Most Often?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 4.5 million dog bites occur in the country each year, and more than 800,000 of those require medical care.
It’s a common misconception that only certain breeds are prone to aggressive behavior and attacks, but dogs are animals, and any breed is capable of biting.
Some dog breeds do have a higher prey drive than others, which means that they’re more likely to harm people if not trained properly.
Here are some of the dog breeds that are most often associated with bite injuries:
- Pit Bull: This breed is notorious for having dangerous bites that may even lead to fatalities.
- Rottweiler: Known as guard dogs, Rottweilers are calm, intelligent, and easy to train. While they may be good family dogs, Rottweilers are also known for being territorial and overly aggressive towards strangers and other dogs. They can be dangerous if they’re not leashed or kept inside a fenced property.
- German Shepherd: This breed is known for being incredibly intelligent and great at following commands—which is why they’re commonly used in law enforcement. However, poorly trained german shepherds can also get too territorial or defensive.
- Boxer: This breed has a lot of energy, but can be easily trained to be calmer around strangers. Otherwise, they’re prone to fear-based aggression.
It’s important to note that even breeds that are known to be highly aggressive can be trained and be brought under control. Owners need to be vigilant to make sure that their pets don’t become a danger to the public. They are—and in case of attacks, should be held—responsible for the behavior of their pets.
What Happens When a Dog Bites Someone in NJ?
Injuries, emotional trauma and complications caused by dog bites can be devastating.
Common problems include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Fractured bones
- Nerve damage
- Infections such as cellulitis, tetanus, rabies
- Permanent scarring
- Punctures and open wounds
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Emotional trauma including anxiety, depression, and PTSD
Severe injuries can also bring a considerable financial burden for the victim and their family. Some of these injuries may require long-term rehabilitation and treatment. They can also lead to other lifelong consequences such as reduced earning potential or changes in mobility or lifestyle.
A dog bite can be a life-altering event for a victim, and the law allows them to recover compensation for the damages they’ve sustained.
New Jersey is a strict liability state. Strict liability, essentially, refers to liability that isn’t dependent on one’s intent to harm or negligence. This means that dog owners will be held liable for the damages caused by their dog’s biting or attack even if their pet doesn’t have a prior history of aggressive behavior.
They will also still be held responsible even if they weren’t negligent or don’t have malicious intentions. As long as the victim can prove that they were in a public place or lawfully in a private place when the bite happened, they can seek compensation from the dog’s owner.
Should You Sue After a Dog Bite?
No matter how minor or severe a dog bite injury is, see a dog bite doctor as soon as possible.
Some effects and symptoms—such as rabies—won’t manifest immediately. It’s important to get treated right away to determine the full extent of the injury.
That said, the question of whether or not a dog bite victim should sue depends on several factors.
Here are some of them:
- The victim has suffered significant injuries
- The victim incurred significant medical bills
- The attack caused the victim to miss work
- The injury caused emotional and mental distress
Even if the bite is minor, the victim may still be able to recover compensation. It’s best to consult with an NJ dog bite attorney who can help assess the value of the claim and determine if it’s worth pursuing.
How Much Money Can You Get from a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
Depending on the facts of the case and the extent of the injury, the settlement for a dog bite may amount to more than $100,000. Compensation will also depend on the following factors:
- Medical expenses, hospital bills, and other related costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering, including embarrassment, physical pain, disability, disfigurement, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life.
- Punitive damages, which are typically awarded by the court, when the compensatory damages are considered to be inadequate remedies.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Dog Bite?
Yes. It’s best to work with a lawyer to determine the available options and get legal advice on how to proceed with the claim. They’ll also help present the case to insurance companies so the victim can obtain compensation without the need to go to trial. They’ll handle every aspect of the claim so the victim can focus on their health and recovery.
Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been attacked or bitten by a dog, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim against its owner. A lawyer can help determine the value of your claim, offer insight on the dog owner’s legal responsibility or liability, help you navigate the process, and protect your rights and interests.
Our team at Grossman Law will help you with your case and make sure that you get fair compensation. Call (732) 625-9494 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
We look forward to speaking with you.