At the onset of summer, the number of dog bite injuries increases as the clear majority of the population begins to spend more time outdoors with their furry friends. Dogs are immersed into more social situations as the weather gets nicer, which may be outside the dog’s comfort zone. Much like humans, dogs can become irritable in the heat, and even the most well trained pet can act out of character when placed into unsavory conditions.
The NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene reports that in 2013, more than 4,611 dog bite accidents were reported. More than half of them occurred during the summer months, with the highest number of bites occurring in August. Dog owners are subject to criminal liability and civil lawsuits if they do not adhere to state laws regarding ownership of an aggressive animal. What’s worse, if a dog is found to have a history of attacks, the dog could be put to sleep.
Laws vary by state, but in New Jersey for example, an owner can face criminal charges if it is discovered their dog is considered dangerous or has been found guilty of acting aggressively on numerous occasions. It is the owner’s responsibility to practice reasonable care by keeping their dog restrained using various methods, such as a leash and muzzle, to prevent personal injury. There are variations to these statutes, however. If a dog bite accident occurs on public property or someone is attacked while being legally present on private property, New Jersey law allows the injured party to hold the dog owner liable.
New Jersey has a strict liability statute in place for dog bites. This means an owner can be held responsible for a bite even if they say their dog had no history of bites and despite them placing reasonable restraints upon the animal to prevent an attack from happening. Although New Jersey dog bite laws are only applicable towards bites, dog owners can be subject to negligence claims if any additional injuries are sustained from the attack.
Victims of dog bites in New Jersey are eligible to sue for damages endured, including lost income due to pain and suffering and compensation for medical bills. If the person is injured in a different manner by a dog, they can file a negligence claim. The victim must prove the owner was responsible for controlling the dog’s behavior and that they practiced reasonable care in doing so. They must prove the owner breached this duty, and that the injury was sustained due to the duty failure.
It is essential that dog owners learn to recognize the signs of an aggravated canine to prevent liabilities. A strong indication of a grumpy dog can include a stiff body, heavy panting, a tucked tail, or pinned down ears. Dog owners should give their pets frequent breaks from social situations to avoid overwhelming them. It is also recommended to seek professional training if the dog is not following instructions well.
New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP Advocate for Victims of Dog BitesAt Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP, we let our knowledge work for you and seek maximum settlements for pain and suffering endured. Servicing clients throughout New Jersey, with office locations in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, our years of litigation experience can prove you have a legitimate case. Speak with one of our skilled New Jersey personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation at 732-777-0100 or send us an online inquiry.