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Dog Bites

If you have recently been seriously injured because of a dog or animal bite, our legal team of New Jersey injury lawyers may be able to help you recover damages. Please take a few moments to look over the information on this page to learn more.


What should I do first?

Dogs bite 4.7 million people every year. Here’s a short checklist of what to do if you’ve been the victim of a dog or animal bite:

  1. Seek medical help immediately. Even if you don’t think your injuries are serious, see your doctor as soon as possible. It is important to be treated for any diseases like rabies that the animal may have been carrying.
  2. Don’t argue with the owner. Many dog owners simply won’t believe that their beloved pet could harm someone without being severely provoked. Arguing will only get everyone more upset.
  3. File a police report. Notify the police of the incident immediately. You’ll want to get all the details into the official report.
  4. Take pictures. It’s important to document your injuries by taking pictures of them.
  5. Consult with a lawyer. It’s important to discuss your case with a lawyer before you fill out any insurance forms, sign any checks, or meet with an insurance company representative – particularly the animal owner’s insurance company. You can request a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers by filling out the Free Case Evaluation form on the top right side of this page.
  6. Start a journal. The best way to keep track of what the injury is costing you is to start a daily journal describing how the injury is affecting you and your immediate family. You should also write down all your expenses, notes, lost wages, and any other relevant details.

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What can I expect if I contact an attorney?

Once you request a Free Case Evaluation, a New Jersey attorney will contact you to discuss the details of your case. These include:

  • interviewing you to learn your side of the story
  • determining which owners or other persons (such as a landlord) are responsible
  • evaluating how extensive and severe your injuries are
  • estimating the amount of your loss

If both you and your lawyer are satisfied that you have a viable case, your lawyer will begin building your case. This includes:

  • collecting all available information including the police report and other documents
  • interviewing all witnesses
  • reviewing your medical records including doctor reports and hospital records

Your lawyer does this so that he or she can re-enact the scene before a judge or jury. It is critical to have all the information available so you can paint as clear a picture as possible of what actually happened.

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Who’s at fault for the bite?

New Jersey is a “Strict Liability State” which means that the owner “shall be liable,” according to New Jersey State Statute 4:19-16. A few years ago, dog owners got the benefit of the doubt if there was no reason to believe their dogs were likely to hurt someone – that is, if the dog had never bared its teeth or lunged at someone. This was known as a “free bite rule.” Nowadays, however, most states hold owners liable for any harm their dog causes – even if the owner had no reason to suspect that the dog was dangerous. This means that if your dog attacks someone, you could find yourself responsible for the injured person’s medical bills and lost wages. There are only a few circumstances where the injured party may be liable, such as if the injured person was trespassing or provoked the dog, but they can be difficult to prove in court.

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Do I have to file a lawsuit?

The decision to file a lawsuit can be a difficult one, especially if friends, family members or neighbors are involved. Many minor cases are settled without filing a lawsuit. However, if you have suffered an injury that required medical attention and rehabilitation, an attorney can help you recover the expenses you incur as well as compensation for pain and suffering by presenting a strong case supported by irrefutable evidence. It has been shown that claimants will receive up to 70% greater compensation when they are properly represented by a qualified attorney.

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What compensation am I entitled to?

The exact amount of money you can recover can’t be determined without analyzing all information related to your injury including your medical bills, loss of income, and the severity of your injury. Each case involves a different set of circumstances, and therefore different amounts of money. New Jersey law allows recovery for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, mental anguish, emotional distress, psychological injuries, and disfigurement. There have also been cases where the victim is awarded punitive damages in order to punish an animal owner for reckless or intentional behavior, such as if the owner allows the animal to run free, disregarding the welfare of others.

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How long will my case take?

While we handle all cases as quickly as possible, the length of time varies from case to case. It is important to realize that once you settle your claim, you cannot go back for more money if you realize later that your injuries are more severe than you thought. Therefore, it is crucial to collect as much information as possible about your injuries before presenting your case before a judge.

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How long will it take me to receive my money?

That depends on a number of factors such as how serious your injury is and whether your case is settled or goes to trial. If you have a serious injury, it’s best not to settle until you receive sufficient medical treatment and rehabilitation so you can better estimate how much your injury will cost you in the long run.

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What are the attorney’s fees?

If we accept your case, there are no out of pocket fees or costs to you. We are reimbursed a small percentage of the amount we recover for you – so if you don’t get paid, neither do we.

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How do I get started?

Please fill out the Free Case Evaluation form on the top right side of this page and we will respond within 24 hours.

If you wish to speak with someone immediately, call our client-intake specialist, Ken Cooper, at (856) 308-5426.