New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyers
Legal Representation After a Dog Bite
Has a dog bite incident left you with serious injuries, mental trauma, and financial hardship? Depending on the extent of the damages you have suffered, you may be entitled to thousands, even millions, of dollars in compensation. However, to get the settlement you deserve, it is vital that you take immediate action and seek help and guidance of a qualified personal injury attorney. With the right legal representative on your side, you can fight to obtain the financial support you need and the justice you deserve.
The New Jersey injury lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. can help you or your loved one obtain reimbursement for damages from the dog owner whose negligence contributed to your injury. Please call (609) 240-0040 to discuss your case with one of our dedicated legal team members.
Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C.'s NJ Dog Bite Case Result
Dog Bite Victim - $167,100.00 (name witheld as plaintiff was a minor).
The parents of a four year old girl accepted a settlement that will result in a total payout of $167,100.00. The minor 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.
Dog Owner Liability in New Jersey
In New Jersey, dog owners are responsible for controlling their pet's actions and preventing them from causing harm to others, regardless of whether the owner had any knowledge of any previous aggressive behavior. One of the most important factors of a dog bite case is whether or not the dog attack occurred on public property or on the dog owner's property. In the event that the injured victim trespassed on to the owner's private property, the dog 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 you were actively provoking the dog before it bit you.
An experienced NJ dog bite lawyer will investigate the circumstances that led to the dog bite, obtain police reports, take depositions from witnesses, get the testimony of physicians who treated you, and calculate the dollar amount your injuries have cost you so far, and what they are expected to cost you in the future. Armed with a complete case file, your attorney will file a personal injury claim against the dog's owner and their insurance company.
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.
Common Dog Bite Injuries Suffered From an Attack
More often than you may realize, dog bites cause very serious injuries that require medical care. Sometimes these injuries are so severe that they lead to permanent disfigurement or death. Even when this is not the case, it's not unusual for damages to require complex reconstructive surgeries along with rehabilitation and long-term medical treatment. There are many different types of injuries that can be suffered from a dog bite, but some of the most common include:
- Broken Bones: Dogs have incredibly powerful jaw muscles that seem to get even stronger as their aggression intensifies. If they are able to get a grip on a limb or another body part, they can easily fracture or break bones. Broken bones can also be sustained from being knocked over in an attack. Any kind of broken bone is likely to inhibit the ability to continue on with normal daily activities, including those pertaining to work, which means taking a loss in wages for as long as the recovery time requires.
- Puncture Wounds: Whether or not puncture wounds are bleeding heavily, they should be addressed by a medical professional right away. When a dog's teeth puncture the skin, the area automatically becomes susceptible to infection, which can then result in serious health conditions such as blood poisoning, rabies, and tetanus. It's vital that puncture wounds be properly cleaned and bandaged and all prescribed antibiotics taken to reduce the chances of further complications.
- Nerve and Muscle Damage: Dogs bites can go pretty deep down and have the potential to reach the nerves and muscles that lie beneath the layers of skin. When this happens, the injury oftentimes creates problems with mobility and produces chronic pain that lasts for years. Nerve and muscle damage can significantly hinder movement to the point where it's no longer possible to perform everyday activities that were once routine, including occupational tasks. There are also some situations where it has even caused paralysis.
- Scarring: While the majority of dog bite wounds may heal completely over time, there are plenty that leave permanent scarring on the body. Not only do these marks serve as a constant reminder of the attack, but they can also take an emotional toll, generating troubles with depression and self-confidence. Scars may drastically change the quality of life that was enjoyed at one time. Paying for expensive reconstructive surgeries can prove to be a challenge, as many insurance companies deem these to be cosmetic, and therefore, unnecessary despite how the injury occurred.
- Infection: Dogs are not always kept as clean as they could be and are regularly covered in dirt, bacteria, waste, and other pollutants that they pick up from their environment. If skin is broken by a dog's teeth or paws during an attack, these contaminants can be transferred into the wounds, which then become vulnerable to infection. Symptoms of an infection may consist of redness, swelling, heat, painful to the touch, and pus discharge.
In addition to the physical damages that dog bites can 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 that can be seen, especially when it's a child that has been hurt. The fear of dogs can be something that stays with them well into adulthood, not to mention there is a possibility of having recurring nightmares, being scared to go outside, and other anxiety-related issues.
What Actions to Take After A Dog Bite
First and foremost, seek medical attention. Dog bites can easily become infected, so the sooner you get medical care, the better. If the dog's owner is present, get their name, phone number, and driver's license number if possible. Ask if the dog has had its required rabies vaccination. If it hasn't, call police immediately and have the dog impounded. The dog will be observed to see if it develops rabies symptoms. Get names and numbers of any witness who were present when the incident occurred. Contact a qualified dog bite attorney and explain your situation to them. If the dog owner's attorney or a representative of their insurance company contacts you, do not answer any of their questions, agree to a settlement, or sign anything. Instead, refer them to your attorney and let them handle it. Be sure to attend any follow up visits your doctor schedules for you and keep copies of all related receipts.
Your Legal Rights as a Dog Bite Victim in New Jersey
Depending on the size and breed of the dog, dog bites can result in a variety of injuries, from puncture wounds, to broken bones, to infections. Serious injuries may leave the survivor with long-term scars or lifelong disabilities, either physical, emotional, or both. If you or someone you care about has suffered a dog bite, it is crucial that you seek legal representation as soon as possible to discuss your rights and options, particularly because there are strict statutes of limitations regarding personal injury claims. In New Jersey, a personal injury claim must be filed within two years of the date of the injury.
Compensation in a New Jersey Dog Bite Claim
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
- Reduced 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)
Contact a Trusted NJ Dog Bite Attorney
New Jersey dog bite lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. have provided professional and caring legal representation to injury victims for over 20 years, and will put their accumulated knowledge to work on your claim. Our team has successfully obtained fair and just financial settlements for our clients in the past and will work diligently with you to help 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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