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Dog Bite Law Questions

Being bitten by a dog may not seem like something you think would happen to you. Maybe it seems like a rare situation. However, it is fairly common. It helps to be aware of the law and what your options are if you are a victim of this type of injury or a dog owner facing challenges with your dog. Below are common questions answered on dog bite law.

Am I entitled to compensation for a dog bite? If the owner is willing to pay for medical expenses, can I sue for other damages?

If you are bitten by a dog owned by another person you would be eligible to receive compensation equivalent to the cost of your medical expenses and pain and suffering. If the dog owner is willing to pay for the medical bills, you do have the option to sue for the emotional trauma and suffering. The court would decide the amount that is payable after hearing the case and passing a judgment.

My dog escaped and bit another dog whose owner is a cop. What are the chances of a lawsuit given that I am in New Jersey?

New Jersey is one of the states that enforce legal liability on the dog owner for all damages inflicted on the dog bite victim even if the dog has previously not exhibited any type of tendency to attack humans.

As per the New Jersey statutes section 4:19-16: “Liability of owner regardless of viciousness of dog - The owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.” This statute does not apply if the victim was trespassing even without criminal intent, injury was not caused by a dog bite or the accused is not the owner of the dog.

In this particular case, you will have to pay the medical bills of the dog to the owner. Most likely you will not be liable to any other type of claim as no human being was affected or hurt.

My dog bit the mailman and I have received a demand letter from his attorney asking for over $10,000. I cannot afford this, what are my options?

A demand letter sent by a person’s lawyer is not a legal document that is enforceable on you. It may not even be an accurate assessment of the alleged damages. All aspects of the letter can be contested by you. The first option would be to check the homeowner’s insurance carrier for coverage of such incidents in your policy. If they do cover, then they would likely handle the claim, else you would need to appoint the services of a lawyer should be able to protect your interests.

Is it essential to report a dog bite after it occurs even if it was a family member’s dog and it was a minor injury?

The law does not stipulate any time period as to when a dog bite needs to be reported. It simply states that any person with direct knowledge about it must inform the authorities. However, if the incident has occurred with a known dog, which has been properly vaccinated and the victim has received timely medical assistance after the dog has been quarantined, it may not be necessary to report the incident.

I am from Florida and being sued as my dog bit a boy who approached it in an aggressive manner while it was sitting peacefully by my side. There has been no previous aggression shown by my dog. What can I do?

Florida has what is known as comparative negligence. This means that if the victim was even partly at fault, the amount they can recover is proportionately reduced by the percentage of their fault. Since your dog was on a leash and sitting by your side, and because the boy charged at the dog and his parents did not stop him, you could plead it was at least 50% the boy’s fault. If your insurance company covers dog bites and if the victim is not seriously injured, the insurance company and the victim would settle the matter between themselves.

A dog bite can be both a painful and traumatic experience. It could even leave lifetime scars or a fear that is difficult to overcome. Sometimes, despite obvious behavior exhibited by the dog, the owner does not take any remedial action to avoid untoward situations. Despite being careful you can get bitten by a dog and it can happen so quickly that you have no time to protect yourself. The presence of the dog bite law assures at least the possibility of reimbursement of medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer

Infolawyer
Infolawyer, Attorney
Category: General
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Experience:  Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.
11313492
Type Your Personal Injury Law Question Here...
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Recent Dog Bite Questions

  • I have a chocolate lab, that has never bitten a human, but

    I have a chocolate lab, that has never bitten a human, but is jealous of other animals. Bit open a baby goat's nose, cheek of a puppy and ear of another.
    A neighbor is interested in adopting him, I've disclosed his past and they still want him. They have four children ranging in age from 2 - 10. Should my dog, after I give it to them, with transfer papers including the disclosure, signed by both parties. Could I be responsible for a possible dog bite to one of their children?
  • Dog Bite

    Hi there, my mom was just bitten by a large pit-bull type dog. She sustained several bites to the face, primarily around the nose area, but there are bites under the eye and on the ear as well. The wounds were not life threatening or extremely serious. Most of the bites were shallow, she required dermabond (in lieu of stitches) for three small areas on her nose. We went to urgent care, took photos before and after of the injuries. We paid upfront for medical costs.

    We want to know what our rights are, how we can get compensated for medical bills as well as punitive damages.

    At the time of the attack, the dog was not on a leash and the owner did not attempt to help her, but rather held onto her other smaller dog and told her to "run away."

    On a previous occasion the same dog came charging at my mother and dog, but the dog was held back by one of the owners. We have not yet contacted authorities, should we call animal control and/or file a report with the police?

    The attack took place in Los Angeles County (specifically, Glendale)

  • Your Question Edit Question I HAVE A PERSONAL INJURY CASE

    Your Question Edit Question
    I HAVE A PERSONAL INJURY CASE DUE FOR TRIAL MAY 2014 WITH THE DEFENDANT. I ALSO HAVE A CLAIM WITH THE DEFENDANT HOMEOWNER INSURANCE ALLSTATE FOR HER DOG/ATTACK BITING ME WHILE IN THE DEFENDANT'S HOME. ALLSTATE ADJUSTOR OFFERED ME $3,000 IF I DROP MY PERSONAL INJURY CASE AGAINST THE DEFENDANT & THE DOG BITE CLAIM. ADJUSTOR STATED ALLSTATE DON'T PAY FOR INTENTIONAL ACTS. I REFUSED & WAS TOLD THAT AN ATTORNEY WILL CONTACT ME. I WON MY CASE IN ARBITRATION IN JAN 2014 ($10,000) & DEFENDANT WAS NOT AWARDED ANYTHING FOR HER COUNTERSUIT. WHAT CAN I DO? ISN'T THE HOMEOWNER LIABLE FOR HER DOG BITING ME? THE ALLSTATE ADJUSTER HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY LAWSUIT AGAINST DEFENDANT FOR ATTACKING/INJURING ME. CAN THE ALLSTATE ADJUSTER LEGALLY DO THIS? WHAT SHOULD BE MY NEXT STEP?
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