New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer
Experienced New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyers Ready to Fight For South Jersey Personal Injury Victims of an Animal Attack
Dogs are a popular pet in America, and many families have wonderful relationships with their canine companions. Of course, dogs are still animals, and sometimes they will bite. A dog bite can lead to serious injuries and disfigurement. Fortunately, if you are the victim of a dog bite, you might be able to collect compensation. The damages available in such cases can cover many of the losses related to your injury. Call Gelman Law, LLC to speak to a qualified New Jersey dog bite lawyer about recovering fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Injuries Related to Dog Bites
When a dog attacks, the injuries can be devastating. Some common injuries affiliated with dog bites include the following:
- Puncture wounds
- Eye damage
- Nerve damage
- Head injuries
- Facial injuries
- Broken bones
- Neck wounds
Bites are one way that dogs may harm someone, but they may also scratch a person or knock them down, causing fall-related injuries as well. Some dogs will even pursue and aggressively attack a person leading to terrifying circumstances and severe harm. The treatment for these injuries can be costly and require long-term care, rehabilitation, and surgery.
Sadly, many of the victims in dog bite cases are children. About half of the bites that lead to injuries affect children, likely in part because they may not know how to conduct themselves around an unfamiliar dog.
New Jersey is a Strict Liability State for Dog Bites
New Jersey is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. Strict liability means that the owner will be liable even if you cannot show that their behavior was negligent. For instance, if a dog that has only ever displayed friendly behavior suddenly bites you, the owner will still be liable, even though they did not have a good reason to believe that the dog presented any damages to others.
Some states have a “one bite rule.” A one-bite rule effectively means that an owner in the above example would not bear liability for an unexpected first-time bite. New Jersey does not offer this one-time liability-free bite to owners. Also, if more than one person owns the dog, you could hold both owners liable.
If the dog is with a dog walker or other non-owner when the attack takes place, the liability will typically still fall on the owner.
While you might feel uneasy about pursuing a dog bite injury claim, remember that a dog bite’s consequences are sometimes severe and extremely expensive.
If you or a loved one suffered a significant injury associated with a dog bite in New Jersey, you should consult with a New Jersey dog bite lawyer at Gelman Law, LLC as soon as possible to preserve your right to compensation. To schedule your free initial consultation to discuss options in your case, call or contact us online today.
Provocation in NJ Dog Bite Cases
One possible way that an owner might avoid liability in a dog bite case is if you provoked the animal. If you attempted to hurt a dog or attacked the dog’s owner, the court may decide that the dog acted in defense of itself or its owner.
Even if you did not aggressively attack the dog, if you otherwise provoked the incident by irritating or pestering the dog, this could limit the owner’s liability.
Damages in a Dog Bite Injury Case in New Jersey
Dog bite claims in the United States, on average, amount to over $43,000. New Jersey’s claims have a slightly higher average at more than $47,000. Of course, each case’s actual damages will depend on specific facts, such as the severity of the injury.
Damages that you could recover in a successful injury claim will include compensation for the following:
- Medical bills, surgery, and physical therapy
- Lost wages and income
- Future anticipated medical bills
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
In New Jersey, there is no limit on the amount of compensatory damages that you can recover. States often implement restrictions on damages for pain and suffering. New Jersey does not have any of these caps in place on the above forms of compensation.
However, New Jersey does cap punitive damages. Punitive damages are not a form of compensation. Instead, punitive damages will punish perpetrators for gross negligence or particularly egregious conduct, such as if they trained their dog to attack viciously.
Punitive damages cannot exceed $350,000, or five times the compensatory damages. The law will permit the plaintiff to recover the larger of those two amounts, so if the compensatory damages are exceptionally high in your case, you could recover significantly more than $350,000.
How Do Dog Owners Cover the Damage Payments After an Injury Claim?
Many people would struggle to pay tens of thousands of dollars in damages for a dog bite claim. Other defendants will be entirely unable to cover those costs. Fortunately, in many cases, the defendant will have insurance that will cover the cost of the damages.
Homeowners’ insurance will often cover the related losses. Other policies that might cover these types of damages include:
- Condo insurance
- Renter insurance
- Co-op insurance
- Landlord insurance
- Business liability insurance
- Automobile insurance
- Dog owner liability insurance
If the dog owner has a homeowner insurance policy, that coverage likely includes a provision for personal injury liability. Of course, the coverage amounts will vary depending on the amount of coverage the defendant carries.
Call a Respected New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer at Gelman Law, LLC About Your Dog Bite Accident Case Today
Filing a lawsuit can be intimidating, but if you suffer serious harm because of another person’s dog, you likely have legal options. Contact Gelman Law, LLC today to learn how a dedicated New Jersey dog bite lawyer from our firm can help you pursue your legal claim.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bite Accident Claims in New Jersey
Dog attacks can be frightening and traumatizing. Many clients have questions about filing a claim.
In New Jersey, you have two years to file a dog bite claim. The statute will begin to run on the date of the attack. If you wait too long to file your claim, the court will likely prevent you from pursuing compensation, even if your claim is valid.
If a dog bite causes fatal injuries, then the family can file a wrongful death claim against the owner of the dog. These cases will compensate the family for damages related to losing their loved one, including funeral costs, loss of consortium, and loss of love and companionship, and other relevant damages.
There is a two-year statute of limitations in wrongful death claims, which typically begins to run at the time of the victim’s death. Contact a New Jersey dog bite lawyer at Gelman Law, LLC to get your claim started.