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I was bitten by my neighbor’s Rottweiler in the face and need multiple surgeries. He said his dog is allowed the “one bite” rule in NJ and that I can’t sue, is that true?

 

A:

No, that is not true.  In New Jersey, there is a “Dog Bite” statute, which imposes strict liability on the owner of a dog that bites someone in a public place or lawfully on private property. New Jersey does not allow dogs “one bite” or “one free bite” before holding dog owners responsible for the dog attack victims’ injuries.  Furthermore, a dog’s previous behavior, i.e., aggressive propensity, is irrelevant in determining the dog owner’s negligence.  New Jersey dog owners are absolutely responsible for bite attacks and injuries their dogs cause to others.  This means the owners will be liable for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

However, dog bite victims in New Jersey must prove three things in order to prevail in a NJ dog bite lawsuit:

  1. the defendant owned the dog,
  2. the dog bit the plaintiff, and
  3. the plaintiff was in a public place or lawfully on the defendant’s property.

As long as you were not a trespasser on your neighbor’s property, you will be able to bring a claim against the dog owner.  For example, if your neighbor’s dog was in a fenced in backyard and you entered the yard by jumping over the fence for some reason, like retrieving a ball you threw over there by accident, and the dog bit you as a result, your neighbor will likely not be liable for your injuries.

For more information regarding your legal rights after being attacked or bitten by a dog in New Jersey, click on the following related legal NJ dog bite articles:

If you would like to talk about your unfortunate dog attack, feel free to give me a call at 877.944.8396. 


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