If you are attacked and injured by a dog in New Jersey, the dog’s owner may be liable for the damages you suffer, even if the animal has never bitten anyone before. In New Jersey, subject to a few exceptions, including if you were harassing the dog, proof of negligence or carelessness isn’t required in order to seek compensation for your dog bite injuries. This concept is referred to as “strict liability,” and is unique to NJ dog bite cases.
Dog Bite Damages
A settlement in a dog bite case in the same as a settlement in any other personal injury case and should include compensation for all economic and non-economic damages caused by the dog bite. In this regard, dog bite victims may seek compensation for some or all of the following losses:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Permanent disfigurement
- Treatment and therapy
- Psychological counseling
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
New Jersey’s Dog Bite Statute
New Jersey’s dog bite statute, N.J.S.A. 4:19-16, provides as follows:
- N.J.S.A. § 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.
As is the case across the nation, individual recovery amounts for New Jersey dog bites vary greatly. There is neither a minimum, nor a maximum compensation amount for these claims. There are a number of insurance policies that may come into play when seeking damages for a dog bite:
- Homeowner’s Insurance
- Renter’s Insurance
- Mobile Home Owner’s Insurance
- Umbrella Insurance
- Commercial general liability insurance
- Landlord Insurance
Sample New Jersey Dog Bite Settlement and Verdict Amounts
- $2.1 million award for a pit bull attack. The owner had no insurance, but the building owner was held liable for failing to protect the woman from a dangerous condition on the premises.
- $124,336 settlement in 2005 for dog bites to the victim’s face, neck and head in Stone Harbor. The 75-pound dog belonged to the victim’s sister-in-law and brother. A five-inch scar to the man’s face required seven weeks of physical therapy. He also suffered psychological damage. The settlement amount was reached through binding arbitration.
- $250,000 settlement from Travelers Insurance in 2004 for a 9 year old victim bitten by a Doberman/Boxer mix. The child lost part of her finger and suffered bites to the arm and face.
- $495,000 settlement in 2005 for a grandmother bitten by a pit bull/German Shepherd mix. The victim was protecting her grandbaby when the dog attacked, locking onto her leg between her ankle and calf, shattering her tibial shaft.
- $375,000 settlement in 2006. The victim was bit in the face, suffering nerve damage, permanent scarring, and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog attack, call on the Reinartz Law Firm to schedule a free consultation to learn your rights