Dogs may be man’s best friend, but not all dogs live up to this reputation. Each year, approximately 4.7 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs. The majority of these bites aren’t serious, but hundreds of thousands are.
We’ve provided some helpful information in this post for anyone in New Jersey who has been bitten by another person’s dog.
Owners Assume Strict Liability
Laws vary from state to state, including laws governing when a dog owner is liable after their pet bites someone. In New Jersey, the laws are very straightforward. Dog owners are considered “strictly liable” when their dogs attack others. This means that there are no requirements that the dog previously showed signs of aggression or that the owners knew (or should have known) that the dog was capable of being vicious.
Who Pays When Dogs Attack?
Although dog owners are strictly liable for dog bites, financial liability is often passed on to insurers. In most cases, injuries caused by dogs are covered under the homeowner insurance policy of the dog’s owner. Each year, insurers pay out tens of millions of dollars in claims and settlements for dog-bite injuries. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average claim paid out in 2019 nationwide was $44,760. Depending on the severity of the injuries and other circumstances, individual payouts could be substantially higher.
What To Do Following a Dog Bite
If you’ve been bitten by someone else’s dog (hard enough to cause serious pain or draw blood), the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. You may assume that your injuries aren’t serious or that you can just patch yourself up at home. But you won’t know the full extent of your injuries until you are checked out by doctor.
The last thing you want is for your injuries to get worse or to develop a dangerous infection because you didn’t seek medical attention. Plus, in order to file a dog-bite claim, it may be necessary to have medical records documenting your injuries.
Your next step should be to contact an experienced personal injury attorney (like those at our firm) to discuss your rights and legal options.