New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyers
Proudly serving all of New Jersey
Legal Representation After a Dog Bite
Has a dog attack left you with serious injuries, mental trauma, and financial hardship? Depending on the extent of your damages, you may be entitled to thousands of dollars in compensation. However, to get the settlement you deserve, it is vital that you take immediate action.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a dog bite incident, please let our reliable New Jersey injury lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., bring the dog owner to justice. We are thoroughly familiar with all the local and state provisions regarding dog ownership and attacks. We can build a strong case for you so you can get the money you need to recover. To discuss the facts of your case in a free consultation, call (609) 240-0040 today.
Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C.'s NJ Dog Bite Case Result
Dog Bite Victim - $167,100.00
The parents of a 4-year-old girl accepted a settlement that will result in a total payout of $167,100.00. The girl was injured when a friend's dog bit her upper lip, resulting in a two-centimeter scar that was stitched under local anesthesia.
Click here for more verdicts and settlements.
What constitutes a dog bite in New Jersey?
The term "dog bite" is used in most dog attacks. Generally, a dog that grabs a person with its mouth has bitten the person. Even if the person’s skin is unbroken, the dog’s owner can still be held liable for the bite. In New Jersey, you must be able to prove that the dog bit you for your case to move forward.
What sort of evidence can I use to prove the dog bit me?
The most compelling evidence are photographs of your injuries and witness testimony. Pictures of any affected clothing and the area where the attack took place (even after the attack) can also be extremely useful. Medical records, including paramedic and hospital reports, can also help prove you were bitten.
How serious are dog bites?
Throughout the United States, as many as 5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Around 800,000 people need medical attention after an attack. More than half of the victims of dog bites are children, most of whom end up suffering facial disfigurement.
What kinds of dogs are most involved in dog attacks?
We’ve seen a rise in the number of attacks by pit bulls and Rottweilers, but any dog can bite. While these dogs can also be docile and friendly, if they are provoked, they can be extremely deadly due to their size and strength. In many dog bite cases, the dog’s owner played a significant role in creating a dangerous dog through abuse and neglect, forcing the dog to fight other dogs, or training the dog to be aggressive.
Through legal action, you or a loved one may be able to ease the monetary strain that many survivors must bear on the road to recovery.
In New Jersey, dog owners are responsible for controlling their pets and preventing them from causing harm to others, regardless of whether the owner had knowledge of previous aggressive behavior. One of the most important factors of a dog bite case is whether the attack occurred on public property or on the dog owner's property. If the victim trespassed onto the owner's private property, the owner may not be held fully liable for damages. A dog's owner may also be free of liability if it can be proven that the victim was actively provoking the dog before it attacked.
Some dog-related injuries are so severe that they lead to permanent disfigurement or death. Even when this is not the case, it's not unusual for bite wounds to require complex reconstructive surgeries along with long-term medical treatment. There are many injuries that can be suffered from a dog bite, but some of the most common include:
- Broken bones: Dogs have incredibly powerful jaw muscles. If they are able to get a grip on a body part, they can easily break bones. (Broken bones can also be sustained from being knocked over in an attack.) Any fractures will likely inhibit your ability to perform normal activities, including doing your job, which means taking a loss in wages for as long as it takes your bone to mend.
- Puncture wounds: When a dog's teeth puncture human skin, the area becomes susceptible to infection, which can result in serious health conditions such as blood poisoning, rabies, and tetanus. It's vital to have any puncture wounds cleaned and bandaged by a medical professional, and you should take all prescribed antibiotics to reduce your chances of further complications.
- Nerve and muscle damage: Dogs bites have the potential to reach the nerves and muscles that lie beneath the layers of skin. Nerve and muscle damage can significantly hinder your movement to the point where it's no longer possible to perform everyday activities, including occupational tasks. Some dog bites have even caused paralysis.
- Scarring: While some wounds heal completely over time, dog bites often leave permanent scarring on the body. These marks serve as a constant reminder of the attack, taking an emotional toll on the victim, and may drastically change your quality of life. Paying for expensive reconstructive surgeries is challenging because many insurance companies deem these to be cosmetic, and therefore, unnecessary, despite how the injury occurred.
- Infection: Dogs are covered in dirt, bacteria, waste, and other pollutants that they pick up from their environment. If your skin is broken by a dog's teeth or claws during an attack, these contaminants can be transferred into the wounds, which then become vulnerable to infection. Symptoms of an infection include redness, swelling, heat, painful to the touch, and pus discharge.
In addition to the physical damage that dog bites leave behind, victims frequently experience emotional trauma and post-traumatic stress. The psychological effects of a dog bite can be just as detrimental as any injury, especially when it's a child who has been hurt. The fear of dogs (cynophobia) can stay with them well into adulthood, not to mention the possibility of recurring nightmares, being scared to go outside, and other anxiety-related issues.
First and foremost, seek medical attention. Dog bites can easily become infected, so the sooner you get medical care, the better. Be sure to attend any follow-up visits your doctor schedules for you and keep copies of all related receipts.
If the dog's owner is present, get his name, phone number, and driver's license number if possible. Ask if the dog has is up to date on its vaccinations. If it isn’t, call the police immediately and have the dog impounded. The dog will be observed to see if it develops rabies symptoms. Also get names and numbers of any witness who were present when the incident occurred.
If the dog owner's attorney or insurance company contacts you, do not answer their questions, agree to a settlement, or sign anything. Instead, have your lawyer speak to them.
An experienced NJ dog bite lawyer can investigate the attack, obtain police reports, take depositions from witnesses, get the testimony of physicians who treated you, and calculate how much your injuries have cost you so far and what they are expected to cost you in the future. Armed with evidence, your attorney will file a personal injury claim against the dog's owner and his insurance company.
With the help of a skilled New Jersey personal injury attorney, dog bite survivors may seek financial compensation for any of the following losses and damages:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical bills related to your injury
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Costs of physical and emotional therapy
- Permanent injury or disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Lost wages
- Loss of career or earning capacity
- Punitive damages
- Hedonic damages for loss of joy of life (for instance, if your injury has cost you the ability to do something you formerly enjoyed, such as play golf)
If you were bitten by a dog, or someone you care about has died from an animal attack, seek legal representation as soon as possible. In New Jersey, a personal injury claim must be filed within two years of the date of the injury, and the sooner you start, the better your chances of proving your case.
Our New Jersey dog bite lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., have provided professional and caring legal representation to injury victims for over 25 years. Our team has successfully obtained fair and just financial settlements for clients in the past and will work diligently to secure the compensation you deserve for your losses. Contact us for a free consultation at (609) 240-0040 and let us answer your dog bite case questions.
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