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Approximately 60 million Americans keep dogs as pets, and most of these canines are well-behaved. However, each year, roughly 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog, and some of these bites have severe or even fatal consequences.
If you have suffered a dog bite injury, talking to a dedicated personal injury attorney about your legal options may be the best move you can make. A Trenton dog bite lawyer could help you take stock of your damages and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Dog Bite Laws Applicable to Trenton
In some states, a dog with no previous bite history may receive the equivalent of a first bite “pass,” but that is not the case in the Garden State. Under New Jersey Revised Statutes §4:19-16, the owner of a dog is deemed liable “regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
This principle holds true whether the dog bite occurs in a public place or whether the dog bite occurs on the owner’s property, as long as the person bitten is legally on the premises. A dog’s owner is not liable for a dog bite injury if the person attacked was criminally trespassing on his or her property.
Sometimes, a dog bites a person when it is under the care of someone other than the owner, such as a dog walker, dog trainer, a friend or relative of the owner, or a person providing pet care in the owner’s absence. In this situation, New Jersey dog bite law holds only the owner liable.
If a dog bite victim wants to pursue a claim against the person in charge of the dog at the time of the incident, they must file a negligence cause of action against that individual. A Trenton dog attack attorney could help you determine whether you have grounds to file such a suit and if so, work with you to construct a comprehensive and compelling case.
Dog Bite Injury and Damages
Under New Jersey law, if a dog’s owner is found civilly liable for injuries their pet caused, they may be liable to pay compensation for all the victim’s damages, even those not directly resulting from the bite. For example, if someone else’s dog knocked you down and caused you to suffer head injuries from the fall, the owner could still be liable for such injuries, even though they did not technically occur from a dog bite.
However, it is also possible that a dog bite victim may share some comparative negligence with the owner of the dog in question. This may come into play if the victim was teasing the animal or was otherwise involved in provoking the attack.
If a victim is deemed responsible for 50 percent or less of their damages, they may still pursue compensation. If the victim is deemed more than 50 percent responsible for the incident, however, they would not be eligible to pursue compensation. A dedicated dog bite lawyer in Trenton could work on your behalf to minimize your comparative fault and help you seek as much compensation as possible for your damages.
How a Trenton Dog Bite Attorney Could Help
Compensation from a successful dog bite lawsuit may include payments for medical bills, lost wages if you missed work due to the dog attack, and general pain and suffering. Although most cases are settled, your attorney could help you all the way through a civil trial, if necessary.
If you or a loved one fell victim to an attack from a domesticated animal, it might be worthwhile to consult with a Trenton dog bite lawyer about your legal options. Call today to schedule a consultation and get started on your case.