Dealing with Dog Bite Cases With Legal Assistance from Country’s Best Attorneys
Most animal-lovers agree that the positive effects of owning a dog are immeasurable. Dogs provide a wonderful source of companionship, comfort, unconditional affection and security; they are faithful friends to their owners and loyal guards who protect a home’s inhabitants. Owning a dog can promote healthy lifestyles and well-being by reducing stress, alleviating symptoms of depression, decreasing blood pressure and increasing the frequency of physical activity. However, dogs can also be unpredictable, moody and mercurial creatures that sometimes exhibit erratic and aggressive behavior. Many dogs have strong and unyielding jaws with razor-sharp teeth that are capable of inflicting considerable harm. Dog owners must be aware of their pets’ possessive and territorial tendencies and vicious inclinations to lash out and bite; owners must take the necessary measures to prevent attacks and reduce the likelihood that their pets will inflict pain and suffering.
According to statistics released by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 4.5 million dog-biting incidents happen annually in the United States. The majority of injured individuals were familiar with the dog that attacked them, and approximately two-thirds of dog-biting incidents occurred at the victim’s place of residence or on neighboring property. Each year, approximately 800,000 victims undergo medical treatment for bite wounds, and an estimated 50% of those receiving medical attention are children. The highest incidence of bite injuries is reported among children between the ages of five and nine, and boys are more frequently wounded than girls. Children are the most vulnerable and susceptible to attacks because dogs can easily subdue them due to their small size. Young children are also innately curious about exploring their surroundings, and they are not fully aware of the potential consequences their actions may have; they are more inclined to approach and pet an unknown animal without assessing possible risks or suspecting danger.
Pit bulls and Rottweilers, two dog breeds that exert immense muscular force against victims, frequently commit severe bites. However, any type of dog has the potential to attack. When considering nature versus nurture, it is important to remember that a dog’s temperament might be molded by its owner. Aggressiveness can be a dog’s personality trait or a learned behavior; neglect andabuse at the hands of the owner can contribute to a dog’s viciousness.
Dog bites range in severity from faint scratches and tender scars to muscle tears, bone fractures, disfigurement, organ damage and infection. Dogs usually target extremities of the body when lunging toward a victim; arms, hands, legs and feet are affected over 70% of the time in a dog-biting scenario. Sometimes there is no visible indication that a dog has committed a minor bite, but dog owners may still be liable even if skin is not pierced since underlying tissue may be bruised. Extremely severe dog bites can damage internal organs. For example, a dog’s teeth might thrash through layers of tissue and muscle and puncture the victim’s chest cavity, causing a pneu mothorax, or collapsed lung. Dog mouths are also riddled with bacteria and are breeding grounds for infection. According to CDC, approximately 18% of dog bites result in infection. For example, Past eurella multocida is observed in over half of reported dog bite infections and is characterized by painfulness, redness and inflammation of the affected area, as well as swelling of joints that inhibits movement. Rabies is another rare but deadly brain infection that can be contracted through dog bites and exposure to an infected dog’s saliva.
Dog bite victims in New Jersey receive greater protection with increased chances to obtain compensation under thelegal principle of strict liability. Dog owners are held fully accountable for all injuries inflicted by their pets regardless of who is to blame for instigating the attack and regardless of the dog’s prior displays of animosity. Other states institute “one-bite” laws that grant owners immunity from liability in a dog-biting incident, unless the owners were aware that their dog was prone to biting and could have reasonably anticipated a future attack consistent with the dog’s disposition or the aggressive tendencies the dog previously exhibited. “One-bite” rules enable dog owners to evade legal responsibility for a dog bite; an owner often accuses the victim of inciting his dog to act maliciouslyor contends that the victim disregarded the risks of approaching a dog known to be dangerous. According to the “one-bite” rule, a single dog bite is permissible before a dog is deemed “vicious” and before the owners can be held responsible for further episodes of biting. However, when it comes to determining liability for dog bites in New Jersey, the first dog bite is not free of penalty, and a dog’s past behavior has no bearing on the case’s outcome. Whether an attack is characteristic of a dog’s volatile temperament, or whether biting is a deviation from normal obedience and discipline, New Jersey dog owners are held liable for harm their pets have caused.
In order to receive compensation for injuries, dog bite victims must fulfill three main criteria. First, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant in the lawsuit is the dog’s owner. The injured party must also provide sufficient evidence which clearly demonstrates that he was indeed bitten by the dog. To this end, the victim should supply photographs that depict fresh wounds, testimony of credible witnesses who were present at the scene of the attack, pictures of any tattered clothing that the dog may have shredded,and medical records pertaining to dog bite treatment at a hospital or clinic. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that the dog-biting incident took place in a public area or when the victim was “lawfully on private property,” such as the dog owner’s home or yard. The law does not offer protection to trespassers and robbers who have illegally encroached on private property with hidden agendas to vandalize or steal. By contrast, a victim may lawfully enter private property to fulfill job-related tasks. For example, a postman may be delivering mail or a gardener might be trimming hedges when a dog suddenly strikes. “Lawfully entering private property”therefore refers to an explicit or implied invitation to enter the premises. The victim might be a guest who was directly invited to visit the dog owner, or the victim might be a pedestrian who entered the dog owner’s property out of sheer necessity.
O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble has significant experience handling personal injury cases. If you or a loved one has fallen victim to a dog’s aggression and has suffered injury or illness as a result of a dog bite, you are most likely able to file a claim under premises liability law and are eligible to obtain compensation for your pain and suffering.