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What You Need To Know About New Jersey Dog Bite Law (Part B)

In New Jersey, a dog owner's liability for a victim's injuries and damages caused by his or her dog is governed by New Jersey Statutes, section 4:19-16.  (See What You Need To Know About New Jersey Dog Bite Law (Part A) for statute)

In New Jersey, there are three elements a dog bite victim must show to establish the defendant’s strict liability for the resulting injuries:

  • the defendant owned the dog;
  • the dog bit the plaintiff; and
  • the plaintiff was in a public place or lawfully on the defendant’s property. 

Common defenses focus on whether the plaintiff was lawfully on the dog owner’s property and whether the plaintiff provoked the dog. 

If the plaintiff was trespassing on the defendant’s property, the statute will not apply. In these cases, in order to recover, the plaintiff must show negligence of the owner in failing to chain or otherwise control an aggressive dog.

In situations in which a dog causes injury without biting, the statute simply does not apply.   A common example is when a dog knocks over bystander, causing injury.  In these cases, a plaintiff must prove ordinary negligence.  

What To Do After A Dog Attack:

Injuries resulting from dog attacks and bites can be permanent and lead to scarring and disfiguration.  You will need to document your injuries as soon as possible after the dog attack.  Some examples of documentation include:

  • seeking medical care as soon as possible;
  • taking photographs of the injuries; and
  • continuing to take pictures of the injuries on a regular basis.

It is also important to talk to a New Jersey dog bite lawyer to discuss your legal rights and provide all information in a timely manner in order for the lawyer to conduct a proper investigation.  Feel free to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation @ 877.944.8396.

Related Legal New Jersey Dog Bite Article:

Published: 7-25-12

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