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I was walking through a school yard near my house in NJ when a dog in the school yard ran towards me and attacked me. I have to get surgery on my arm. Can I sue the school?

 

A:

It will be difficult to fully answer your question because I do need more information about your unfortunate dog attack incident. You are probably not going to be able to sue the school if the dog is not owned by the school, but you may be able to sue the owner of the dog.

Related dog attack case result: Dog attack case settles for $1,000,000.

Suing A School After A Dog Attack/Bite Incident

In New Jersey, the victim of a dog attack or bite may bring a lawsuit against the dog owner.  If the dog lives in the neighborhood and just got loose on the night that you were attacked, you will not be able to bring a lawsuit against the school.  The school does not own the dog and does not have control over the dog.  Even if the same dog has gotten loose before on this school property, and the school had notice of it, you are still not going to be able to sue the school for your injuries.  In a recent NJ Supreme Court ruling, the court ruled that a school board and the school principal were not responsible for a dog attack incident that took place in the school yard. See Liable Parties In A New Jersey Dog Attack Case: Can A School Be Responsible For A Dog Attack On School Property?

Suing The Dog Owner After A Dog Attack

Though you will not be able to sue the school for your injuries and damages, you may sue the dog owner for your injuries.  In New Jersey, a dog owner is strictly liable for injuries caused by his/her dog during a dog attack.  When an owner is strictly liable, that means it does not matter whether the dog was previously aggressive or bit someone, the owner will be liable for a victim’s injuries and damages. 

As long as you were not trespassing on the dog owner’s property during the attack, strict liability will apply.  In your situation, since you were walking through a school yard that is open to the public, the dog owner will be strictly liable for your injuries. 

Some of the damages you may recover from the dog owner are:

  • past and future medical expenses,
  • past and future lost wages, and/or
  • pain and suffering.

A dog attack is a traumatic event for many victims.  You probably have many questions and concerns.  It is important to talk to an experienced NJ dog attack injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights to recover financial compensation.  Feel free to contact me at 877.944.8396 to discuss your case.  I always offer a FREE initial consultation.


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