Gabriel Lependorf David Silverstein (609) 240-0040
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New Jersey Dog Bite Liability Lawyers

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NJ Dog Bite Attorneys Discuss State Laws & Liability

New Jersey has a strict liability law regarding dog bites. This means that the owner of a dog involved in an attack is held liable for the dog's actions and any injuries that it inflicts. Strict liability holds dog owners liable for their dogs regardless of whether the dog showed previously aggressive behavior. A dog owner cannot, therefore, claim that he never knew the dog was aggressive, and thus, not be held responsible for the dog's attack.

Proving a dog bite case in New Jersey is extremely complicated. Did the attack take place on private, public, or the dog owner's property? That is a very important issue which must be determined. In addition, the breed of dog, the seriousness of the attack, the conditions under which the attack took place, the dog's history, and the owner's history are all vital elements of any New Jersey dog bite claim. Each element must be thoroughly investigated so that a comprehensive case and demand can be made.

New Jersey Law

According to New Jersey state law 4:19-16: "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."

Elements of a NJ Dog Bite Case

One particular detail of New Jersey dog bite liability law is that the victim must be on the property lawfully. This law is designed to protect people when their dogs attack trespassers. Unfortunately, this element of the law is often used as a defense for the dog owner, even when the victim was truly lawfully on the property. In these cases, it always helps to have experienced NJ dog attack lawyers who are able to spot fraudulent charges and respond with the truth.

In order to prove your case and prove liability, there are three things:

  1. You must prove that the dog owner owned the dog. This can be as easy as having the dog's registration papers to show the court. In other cases, you may have to prove through secondhand information that the dog was owned by the defendant.
  2. You have to show that the dog attack occurred on a public property or on a private property where the victim was legally present.
  3. You must prove that the victim was actually bitten or attacked by the dog in question, and suffered injuries.

While these elements may sound straightforward, they can become complicated during a dog bite lawsuit. It is always important to have experienced and aggressive attorneys who care about you. In cases with poor legal representation, clients have lost their trials and been forced to pay for legal fees, their own medical expenses, and other related damages.

Liability for Attacks at Dog Parks, Beaches, and Animal Events

Leash-optional dog parks, beaches, and animal events are great places for dog owners to let their pets socialize and exercise. Unfortunately, some dogs are unfit for these environments due to their aggressive natures.

When owners irresponsibly bring these dogs anyway and it results in injuries to another person, the owners can still be held liable for the attack. Leash-optional settings don’t provide owners with immunity, and people who suffer injuries typically have the same rights as they do on private property.

However, it can be more challenging proving dog owner liability under these circumstances. This is when a dog’s history of previous aggression will become especially important to establish. Although there is an assumption of risk when you enter into places where dogs will be unleashed, this cannot be used to shield owner conduct that is deemed unreasonable or unlawful.

New Jersey Dog Bite Liability Attorneys on Your Side

The New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., have been handling animal bite cases for years. We understand the nuances of state law and each county’s complex dog bite rules. Our Princeton office can handle every aspect of your claim, including all communication with any involved parties, investigations, expert witnesses, medical expense questions, and more. Call (609) 240-0040 or contact us today with your questions so we can begin working on your case immediately.

Additional Information

The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over twenty five years.

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