In order to recover for your medical expenses relating to your puncture wounds from the dog bite, you will have to sue the dog owner. However, even if the dog owner is liable in a New Jersey dog attack lawsuit, we would have to determine if there is liability insurance to financially compensate you. I will address that issue in the second part of my answer. I will first address the law in New Jersey pertaining to dog bites and attacks.
Dog Attack Case Result - $1,000,000 settlement for dog owner attacked by her own dog after sending dog to obedience school
Pursuant to New Jersey law, dog owners are strictly liable for the injuries caused by their dogs in dog attack/bite incidents. That means a dog does not have to attack others prior to a dog attack or have a propensity to attack in order for a dog owner to be liable. As long as a dog attacks or bites someone, the owner will be liable for the dog attack/bite victim's damages even if it never attacked before. This statute holds true wherever the dog attacks. If you were walking in a park and a dog attacked you, the dog owner would be held responsible. Therefore, the dog owner would be liable for your injuries resulting from his dog attacking you in his home.
The other issue I want to address is liability coverage. When you sue an at-fault party or defendant in a personal injury lawsuit, liability coverage will be a source of financial compensation for the injured individual's damages and injuries resulting from the accident. For example, in a car accident, the at-fault driver's car insurance policy's liability coverage will compensate the injured car accident victim for his damages.
In dog bite incidents, there may be insurance coverage that compensates the dog bite victim. Many people do not realize that homeowners insurance may cover dog bite/attack incidents. However, some homeowners insurance policies have exclusions, and one such exclusion for coverage is for a dog bite incident. In that situation, when there is no coverage, the dog attack victim will have to sue the dog owner personally. Even if the dog owner is liable, it may be difficult to recover financial compensation from the dog owner personally.
Just because there is no insurance coverage, that does not mean the dog attack victim cannot recover. There may be other parties liable for the dog attack. Other parties may be breeders or trainers. For example, if prior to your attack, the dog owner sent his dog to an obedience school that caused it to be more anxious and exhibit aggressive behavior around other people due to inhumane training, then the obedience school/trainer may be liable for your injuries.
Therefore, it is important to discuss your dog attack and injuries with a New Jersey dog attack lawyer who will thoroughly investigate your case to determine whether there is insurance coverage.
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