Pet ownership has always been quite high in the United States – a fact that has only increased since the pandemic when millions of beloved pets were adopted or purchased across the country. Unfortunately, there are some situations where dogs truly are not man’s “best friend.” Even a normally friendly animal may unexpectedly turn aggressive, and dog bites are more common than you might think.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, what are the legal options available to you? What kind of lawyer would be able to help you? The personal injury lawyers at Judd Shaw Injury Law are dedicated to helping injured New Jerseyans, including those who have been hurt by a dog bite or an attack.
Our team cares for our clients, which is why we value high-quality representation and excellence in customer service. Learn more about how our team can help you after a New Jersey dog bite incident by calling our firm at 1-866-909-6894 or by filling out our online form for a free case review.
Your Lawyer Should Have a Background in Personal Injury Law
In a criminal case, the main objective is to hold the guilty party responsible for the crime committed. Civil matters, however, are concerned with providing the victim with appropriate compensation for what was lost. Some common examples of civil matters that are regularly handled by the court system include landlord and tenant relationships, custody arrangements, and wage disputes.
Personal injury law is an umbrella term for the branch of civil law that includes different types of personal injuries.
For example, personal injury law often involves situations such as:
- Motor vehicle accidents (including trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians)
- Slip and fall
- Construction accidents
- Maritime accidents
- Malfunctioning products
- Dangerous medications
- Medical negligence
- Animal injuries
Each branch of law is unique and complex, with its own set of precedents, regulations, and legislations governing it. This makes it important to work with a lawyer that is knowledgeable in local personal injury laws. The team members of Judd Shaw Injury Law have dedicated their practices to recovering full compensation for New Jersey injury victims, and we want to help you and your family, too.
Your Lawyer Should Be Aware of Dog Bite Misconceptions and Facts
Dog bites are often an overlooked type of personal injury, and the majority of us do not expect to be injured by a dog in our life. However, suffering a life-altering or even fatal injury is a reality for thousands of Americans each year. For example, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 27,000 people across the country required reconstructive surgery after suffering a dog bite in 2018.
Let’s take a look at some common misconceptions regarding dog bite injuries, along with the facts.
Misconception #1: Dog bite injuries only affect children and the elderly
Fact: In 2019, the age group with the most dog attack fatalities was 30-49.
While it is true that young children and the elderly continue to be especially vulnerable to dog bite injuries, they are not the only age group to be affected. DogsBite.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to dog safety, has conducted extensive research on dog attacks and fatalities across the country. Of the 48 people who were tragically killed by dogs in 2019, 13 of them (27 percent) were between the ages of 30 and 49.
Misconception #2: Normally friendly dogs would not attack someone they know
Fact: Any dog can become unexpectedly aggressive, even attacking a familiar person.
One study of 282 dog bite incidents seen at a pediatric trauma center between 2007 and 2013 revealed that “dog familiarity did not confer safety.” In fact, the study revealed that 53 percent of dogs belonged to the patient’s immediate or extended family.
New Jersey Dog Bite Laws
Due to New Jersey’s “strict liability” dog bite laws, a dog owner can be found liable for injuries after a bite whether or not the dog had a history of viciousness or if the owner had taken reasonable precautions to prevent an attack. That means that if a bite occurred, the owner is civilly liable for the medical expenses of the victim.
The injured party (or the attorney representing him or her) must prove that:
- The defendant owned the dog
- The dog bit the victim
- The victim was legally on the property
However, there may be certain situations where it may be possible for even a trespasser to recover compensation after a dog bite injury. A free consultation with a dog bite lawyer at our firm can help you better understand the local laws at play after a dog bite.
Comparative negligence may play a role in the amount of compensation you are able to receive after a dog bite injury. In New Jersey personal injury cases, the victim’s level of responsibility for the incident reduces the amount of compensation he or she can recover. For example, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault for the incident, you would only be eligible to receive 80 percent of the resulting damages.
The Role of a Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bite lawyers play a vital role in ensuring that injured victims recover the compensation they deserve. Whether the dog owner was known to you or not, dog bites can result in serious injuries, massive medical bills, and potentially life-altering disabilities. When this happens, a dog bite lawyer can help you receive compensation for the damages you suffered due to the incident.
Dog bite lawyers help their clients in many ways, including:
- Fighting for full compensation. Your lawyer will be able to fight for you to receive the full amount of compensation you are owed according to local laws and the circumstances of your case.
- Handling the necessary documentation and communication. Your lawyer will ensure that all necessary legal paperwork is filed on time and according to current regulations. He or she will take over essential communications between the insurance company and other involved parties.
- Proving liability when necessary. The dog owner may argue that the victim was partly – or entirely – responsible for the attack, or that he or she was not legally allowed on the property. In these cases, your dog bite lawyer can provide evidence to refute untrue claims.
You Need the Lawyers Who Go by the Judd Shaw Way
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog attack, you understand the impact these types of injuries can have on your life. The legal system has regulations in place to help injury victims recover the compensation they need to begin the healing process and move forward.
At Judd Shaw Injury Law, we are guided by our set of core values, the Judd Shaw Way, to work for the best interests of our clients every day. We want to do the same for you and your family, too.
Schedule your free consultation and case review with our legal team today at 1-866-909-6894. Our team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to offer the help you need. With our No Fee Guarantee®, you won’t pay us anything unless you get money for your claim.