New Jersey dog owners liable for injuries caused by their dogs

by | Feb 4, 2021 | Dog Bites and Animal Attacks

Dogs are some of the most loving creatures on earth, but when they are provoked, they may lash out and cause injury. When a dog bites a person, the dog may cause various physical and emotional injuries to the person, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Puncture wounds
  • Infections (e.g. rabies)
  • Nerve damage
  • Sprains/strains
  • Scarring
  • Emotional distress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

A New Jersey resident who has been bitten by a dog may file a personal injury claim against the persons responsible for the dog’s care.

New Jersey ‘strict liability’ statute

Under N.J.S.A. 4:19-16, dog owners in New Jersey are strictly liable for dog bite injuries caused by their dog even if the owner was unaware that the dog had dangerous propensities. In other words, an owner generally cannot use the fact that they did not know their dog was dangerous or that their dog has not bitten anyone before as defenses.

Establishing dog bite liability

In order to prove your dog bite claim, you will need to establish that:

  • The defendant(s) named in your suit were the owners of the dog.
  • You were in a public place or lawfully on the owner’s (or another person’s) private property at the time of the incident (not trespassing).
  • The dog bit you and caused you to suffer injuries.

If you can successfully prove your claim, you may recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, and pain and suffering caused by the incident. An attorney specializing in personal injury law can help build a strong case in your favor.