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  • Writer's pictureAlexander J. Kemeny

When May You Sue a Dog Owner for a Dog Bite Injury in New Jersey


Dog Attack in New Jersey

Under New Jersey law, individuals injured by a dog bite may obtain compensation without having to prove the dog's prior viciousness or the owner's negligence. New Jersey's dog bite statute operates on strict liability, relieving victims from the obligation to demonstrate the dog's previous aggressive behavior. N.J.S.A. § 4:19-16 states:


4:19-16. Liability of owner regardless of viciousness of dog


The owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.


For the purpose of this section, a person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner when he is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner thereof.


N.J.S.A. § 4:19-16.


To substantiate a dog bite claim against an owner, the injured party must prove three elements: (1) the defendant's ownership of the dog, (2) the absence of trespassing by the victim during the incident, and (3) the occurrence of the dog bite. Unlike some jurisdictions, New Jersey does not mandate that dog bites must puncture the skin to be actionable; even injuries without breaking the skin are subject to legal recourse.


Dog Bite in New Jersey

In certain situations, landlords or property management companies may be held responsible if a tenant's dog attacks someone, particularly when there's knowledge or should have been knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities. Thorough investigations, incorporating accident reports, police records, animal control documents, vet records, and witness statements, can reveal crucial evidence, potentially establishing liability for the property owner or manager.


Dog attacks often result in severe injuries, ranging from puncture wounds to emotional trauma or death. Comprehensive investigations may uncover overlooked evidence, such as statements from postal service employees familiar with dangerous dogs on specific routes, serving as crucial witnesses in a dog bite case. Despite concerns about pursuing a lawsuit against a friend or relative who owns the dog, compensation is typically covered by the homeowner's insurance policy, and skilled New Jersey dog bite lawyers can assist in securing maximum recovery from insurance companies.


In the event of a serious dog bite, seeking immediate medical attention is paramount, along with reporting the incident to the police to prevent harm to others. If you or someone you know has suffered significant injuries from a dog bite, contacting an experienced New Jersey dog bite lawyer promptly is crucial due to strict time limits for filing a claim.


The dog bite attorneys at Kemeny, Ramp & Renaud, LLC are available to assist you. We provide free consultations for people injured as a result of dog attack. Call us at (732) 853-1725 to schedule a consultation.




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