When a dog bites, not only can it inflict physical wounds but also, it can cause emotional trauma as well. Moreover, even shallow bites can lead to serious complications, such as infection, tissue or muscle injury, and bone injury, among others.
Because of how serious a dog bite can become, it is important to understand your rights under New Jersey law. Does the state maintain a one-bite rule for dogs, or is it a strict liability state?
An overview of strict liability
According to the New Jersey Certified Animal Control Officer Association, The Garden State maintains a strict liability rule when it comes to dog bites. What this means is that a dog owner is automatically liable for any harm his or her pet causes either on private or public property. This is the case regardless of if the dog has a history or prior indication of vicious tendencies, or whether the owner knew about such vicious tendencies.
For dog bite victims such as yourself, the strict liability rule makes it possible to recover financial compensation for dog-inflicted injuries despite the owner’s use of reasonable care to protect you. The courts do not require you to prove that the dog’s owner acted negligently or carelessly in any way, but only that the bite occurred.
New Jersey procedure following a bite
Though NJ takes a strict stance against dog owners, it is more lenient towards the animals themselves. If a dog bites, state law requires the owner to quarantine the dog for 10 days at his or her expense. After 10 days, a Health Officer or Animal Control Officer will evaluate the dog’s mental health.
If a dog bit you, you have every right to pursue compensation from the dog’s owner. If you struggle to do so, know that help is available.