Each day, nearly 1,000 people across the country receive treatment for dog bites in ETs and the like. If a dog has bitten you, and the dog poses an immediate danger to you or others, immediately call 911 and report it to the police. However, even if the dog does not appear to be a danger, you must still report the bite to the local health department.
One of the biggest risks from a dog bite is developing rabies and other infections. That’s why it’s so important to report a bite immediately. After reporting a dog bite, the local health department will advise you as to whether or not you need to get a rabies shot or further treatment.
Dog bites can also lead to ongoing medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress, but state laws may protect you if you’ve been bitten by someone else’s dog. A qualified personal injury lawyer can explain your rights and guide you through pursuing the compensation you require.
At Judd Shaw Injury Law, we know that a dog attack can be deeply unsettling and painful. We want to hear your story and help you to understand your legal options. Get started by calling 1-866-909-6894 or completing our online form to schedule a free case review – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Reporting Dog Bites
Most state laws regarding reporting dog bites are there to limit the spread of rabies in the community. For example, according to New Jersey state law, all animal bites must “be reported to the Health Officer in the jurisdiction where the exposed person or animal lives.” You can do this by calling the health department or by reporting the incident to your local police department.
New Jersey law requires physicians to report all animal bites to the Health Officer within 12 hours of attendance. Heath Officers will then quarantine the dog at its home or another approved location for observation for 10 days from the date of the bite. Finally, the Health Officer will then determine whether the dog is healthy or not.
Dealing with a dog bite
If a dog has bitten you, the CDC advises washing the bite area immediately with soap and water. Call your doctor, even if you do not feel unwell, because the symptoms of some infections take time to develop. Your doctor can advise you on whether you require any further treatment.
Information to collect
As soon as possible after the bite occurs, collect the following information from the dog owner:
- Contact details
- Details of the dog, including breed and coloring
Also, note the details of where the incident happened and what led up to the attack. Additionally, if there were any witnesses to the attack, collect that person’s details too.
The Law on Dog Bite Liability
The law on dog bite liability varies from state to state. Some states require you to prove that the dog was known to be vicious before the attack for the owner to be liable for damages. This is commonly known as the “one-bite: rule.
This doesn’t mean that the dog gets one bite for free. Rather, by law, the owner must have known that the dog posed a danger to others based on the animal’s previous behavior. This could include previous bites, threatening behavior, or chasing people.
Other states follow a doctrine of strict liability, in which the owners, whether found to be negligent or not, are always liable for injuries caused by their dogs.
New Jersey is a strict liability state, so you only need to prove that the bite occurred, not that the owner was negligent. The owners can be held liable even if he or she took reasonable measures to restrain the dog or warn others.
Liability for other injuries
During a dog attack, you may suffer other injuries apart from those caused by the bite. Other scenarios include:
- Being chased by a dog and falling over
- Being knocked down by a dog jumping on you
- Falling off a bicycle or motorcycle after being chased by a dog
If you suffered other injuries in addition to the bite, you may be able to make a claim under strict liability. However, if you were injured by a dog in one of the ways mentioned above but were not bitten, you may still be able to pursue a claim against the owner for negligence.
Exceptions to strict liability laws
Some states, including New Jersey, may not allow a dog bite victim to make a claim based on the strict liability statute if he or she had been trespassing on the property at the time. Trespassing is usually defined as being on the property without an invitation unless you are carrying out a legal duty like delivering mail.
However, it’s important to get legal advice before concluding that you do not have a case. During your free case evaluation, an experienced attorney will review the facts of your case and any evidence that you bring along with you. He or she can then advise you whether or not your claim for compensation is likely to be successful.
Contact Judd Shaw Injury Law at 1-866-909-6894 or complete our online form to get a free case review – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Damages in Dog Bite Cases
The damages you may receive in a dog bite case may depend on the legal statute you use to pursue your claim. For example, in strict liability cases, the dog owner may be held liable for your medical expenses and nothing more.
However, if you can establish that the owner was negligent, you may be able to pursue additional compensation, including:
- Lost earnings and business opportunities
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of future earning potential
- Future medical expenses relating to the injury
If you’ve been injured by a dog, proving liability can be challenging without qualified legal assistance. You need to focus on your recovery while a personal injury attorney helps you to pursue the compensation you need.
Why You Need a Dog Bite Personal Injury Lawyer
At Judd Shaw Injury Law, our attorneys understand the impact a dog bite can have. Dog attacks are incredibly distressing and can leave physical and emotional scars. However, proving liability requires knowledge of the law and experience in handling similar cases.
During your case evaluation, you’ll meet with a qualified personal injury lawyer, who will listen carefully to your story. He or she will review any evidence that you bring along with you and look for evidence of liability and negligence.
If our personal injury lawyer feels you have a strong chance of success, we may decide to take on your case. Our legal team will examine the evidence to determine the best way to pursue compensation on your behalf.
Most dog bite injury cases can be settled out of court. If this is not possible, though, our personal injury lawyer can represent you in court.
How a Judd Shaw Injury Law Attorney Can Help You
At Judd Shaw Injury Law, we understand that you’re going through a difficult time. You need a personal injury lawyer on your side who can fight to protect your rights.
With our No Fee Guarantee®, we promise that you won’t pay a cent unless we successfully secure compensation for you. We follow the Judd Shaw Way, meaning we’re committed to following the highest standards of courtesy and respect in all our dealings with you.
Contact us at 1-866-909-6894 or complete our online form to get a free case review – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.