If you have been bitten by a dog, you may have many questions about what to do next. Namely, you may be wondering how to defend your rights and recover as fully as possible.
Dog bites are a common occurrence, with around 4.5 million Americans being the victims of dog attacks each year. When you find yourself among this number, it will be helpful to understand New Jersey’s dog bite laws and your options for recovery.
A dog bite can severely affect your health, life, and future. For this reason, state laws defend the rights of victims to obtain monetary recovery. Each case is different, and that’s why Judd Shaw Injury Law treats each client’s needs as unique. Call us today for a free, no-risk consultation at 1-866-909-6894.
How to Defend Your Rights at the Scene of the Dog Bite
Starting at the scene of the bite, your actions can make a difference in your options for compensation later. The more level-headed you can remain, the better your chances are of defending your rights to pursue financial recovery from the dog’s owner or caretaker.
Here are a few specific things you can do in order to improve your claim:
- Take pictures of the injury, the dog, and the scene
- Exchange contact information with the dog’s owner and any eyewitnesses
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible, calling 911 if necessary
- Keep a detailed record of your medical documents and any bills related to your injury
- Call a dog bite injury lawyer to help you defend your rights from day one
It is especially important to take seeking medical care seriously. Due to the chance of a rabies infection after being bitten by a dog with unknown medical history, you must go see a qualified medical professional immediately after any dog bite, even a relatively minor one. By following the above steps, you can ensure that your rights as a dog bite victim are protected.
The Law Can Help You Protect Your Right to Compensation
After suffering a bite from a dog, you might receive some well-intentioned advice as to how to proceed with your claim. Alternatively, the owner may try to excuse the behavior or purport that their insurance won’t cover your expenses.
It can be hard to know who to believe and what your real options are. At Judd Shaw Injury Law, though, we can clarify your situation. We help our clients understand the state laws that are applicable in their cases and how they can receive the compensation that they deserve.
For example, New Jersey does not have a one-bite rule, meaning that the dog’s owners are not liable for the animal’s first aggressive incident resulting in injury, as is the case in some states. Rather, it is a strict-liability state, meaning that you can pursue compensation even if it was the dog’s first bite or attack.
What does this mean for you? It means that you can now begin to pursue compensation from your dog bite injuries. However, there are a few caveats we must add to that blanket statement.
For example, if you were provoking the dog or trespassing at the time of the bite, you may be liable for your own damages. The best way to know how to proceed in that case would be to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Five Mistakes to Avoid in Your Dog Bite Case
After a dog bite injury, you are likely trying to get back to your normal life as soon as possible. Medical bills might be piling up, and the thought of complicated litigation may move you to think that it is better to leave things as they are instead of fighting for your rights.
That would be a mistake, as there are a few more you should be leery of after a dog bite:
- Failing to follow up with medical attention (especially rabies vaccinations)
- Failing to immediately report the bite to the proper authorities
- Speaking with and admitting fault or provocation to the dog’s owner
- Interacting with insurance companies or letting your statements be recorded
- Delaying your call to an experienced dog bite injury lawyer.
If you can avoid the foregoing actions, you will be in a much better place with which to fight for your rights to financial compensation for your dog bite injuries. Never assume that insurance companies are on your side – instead, make sure that you have an attorney looking out for your best interests. Judd Shaw Injury Law can help you steer clear of common mistakes from day one.
How to Defend Yourself Against Future Dog Bites
Dog owners hold primary responsibility for the consequences of their dog’s actions. Sadly, some irresponsible dog owners let their dogs remain untrained and cause real damage to innocent victims.
While it should not be the victim’s responsibility to prevent a dog attack, there are some dog behaviors you can observe which may help you use good judgment when you are around other people’s dogs.
For example, it can help to identify a few situations in which dogs have a tendency to bite. These include:
- When overexcited or playing rough
- When they are sick or in pain
- When they are startled or threatened
- When protecting their owner or puppies
- When they are started or provoked
- When an unknown person approaches them
By avoiding approaching unfamiliar dogs or dogs exhibiting these behaviors, you can help to protect yourself from being bitten again in the future.
Dogs are wonderful companions and can be extremely intelligent, safe pets when properly trained. A dog’s owner has a duty to make sure the animal is safe to be around guests in their home or other people in public. Failure to do so may lead to a bite for which the owner is liable to provide compensation.
How Judd Shaw Injury Law Defends New Jersey Dog Bite Clients
After being bitten by a dog, you may be tempted to take some of the blame or explain what happened in an attempt to move on as quickly as possible. However, watch out that you don’t ruin your chances for a successful dog bite injury claim. Getting a dog bite lawyer is not a last resort – in fact, it can be one of your first steps forward.
At Judd Shaw Injury Law, we can help you get the money you need in order to recover fully from your injuries. We can deal with the dog owner and their insurance company so that you can focus on what really matters – healing.
We want to help you maximize your chances for compensation, so we work on a contingency fee basis. That means you get our No Fee Guarantee® – a promise that you won’t owe us a thing unless we get money for you.