What Happens When a Dog Bites Your Minor Child?
What Is the Potential Liability? What Should You Do?
Many children are naturally attracted to dogs, and most don’t have any understanding of the potential risks involved. What are the consequences if your child is bitten by a neighborhood dog? What should you do to protect your rights?
The New Jersey Dog Bite Laws
Like many states across the country, New Jersey imposes “strict liability” on dog owners when their canine bites someone, provided one of two conditions is met:
- The dog bite victim was on public property at the time of the attack
- The dog bite victim was legally on private property when he or she was bitten
Under the concept of strict liability, there’s no requirement that the victim show that the dog owner was careless or negligent, or had any prior knowledge of aggressive behavior by the dog.
It’s important to understand that the fact that a person (your child, for example) was not legally on the property will not necessarily prevent recovery for injuries. In such a situation, the strict liability statute won’t apply, but you may be able to recover compensation based on allegations of negligence. In a claim based on negligence, a jury may consider the extent to which the injured party (your child) caused the bite (by provoking the dog, for example), and may reduce your damage award accordingly. Under New Jersey’s comparative negligence approach, if your child is deemed to be more than 50% responsible for the attack, you may be prevented from any recovery.
What Should You Do When Your Child Has Been Bitten by a Dog?
Here are the important steps to follow:
- Get your child the medical attention he or she needs
- Get contact information from the dog’s owner, as well as from any witnesses
- Report the dog bite to animal control or the local police department
- Hire an experienced dog bite attorney
Contact Our Office
At the Lee Law Firm, we have extensive knowledge and experience successfully handling personal injury claims. We take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis—you won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover compensation for your losses.
Call us at 973-315-9080 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.We are available to meet with you evenings and weekends, if necessary. We welcome all major credit cards. ¡Nosotros hablamos español!