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Can You Sue After A NJ Non-Bite Attack?



Below is a recent question we received regarding a NJ dog attack:

Q: I was taking a walk around a field in a school near my home in Cherry Hill, NJ, when a dog being walked by his owner lunged at me and tried to attack me as it passed me.  I jumped backwards to avoid getting attacked, and stepped in a hole which caused me to fall.  As a result, I twisted and broke my ankle.  Thankfully, the dog owner was able to hold the dog back on the leash and I was not actually bitten.  The owner then said, “I am so sorry, he always does this.”  Do I have any legal rights? Can I sue for my injuries?

Yes, you do have legal rights.  In New Jersey, the dog attack laws are very favorable for dog bite victims, as well as non-bite dog attack victims.

Related NJ Non-Bite Attack Case Result – Confidential Six-Figure Settlement

The NJ dog attack law which applies to non-bite attack cases is called absolute or strict liability.  This may be a bit confusing because the legal standard that applies in dog attack cases where victims are bitten is also called strict liability.

In dog attack cases where the dog actually bites someone, strict liability applies. Therefore, the dog owner is liable for the victim's injuries, regardless of whether the dog had a history of aggressive behavior. Basically, in NJ dog bite cases, the owner is liable even if the dog never attacked or bit someone else before.

Strict liability in non-bite dog attack cases means that a dog owner is held liable for a victim’s injuries caused in a non-bite dog attack if the owner knew about the dog’s overly demonstrative affection or playfulness with a propensity for jumping on people.  In other words, the dog does not have to be vicious in order for liability to attach.  If a dog owner knew that his dog has a dangerous tendency to be overly excited, chase people or jump on people, then he will be responsible for the injuries caused by the dog in a non-bite attack case.

For a discussion on NJ’s non-bite dog attack law, see NJ Dog Attack/Bite Cases: Strict Liability Vs. Absolute Liability In Non-Bite Injury Cases.

In a New Jersey non-bite dog attack lawsuit, you may be able to recover the following damages:

  • medical expenses,
  • lost wages, if applicable,
  • out of pocket expenses, and
  • pain and suffering.

It is best that you talk to a NJ dog bite lawyer to inquire about your legal rights.  We have helped dog attack victims, as well as non-bite dog attack victims in New Jersey.  Feel free to contact us to schedule a FREE consultation. 877.944.8396

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