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Personal Injury/Negligence: Animal/Dog Bites

New Jersey Dog Bite Attorneys for Animal Attacks 

If you are hurt by a dog bite or an animal attack, you may experience serious physical injuries as well as significant emotional trauma caused by the incident. You deserve full and fair compensation and should consult with an animal bite attorney for help getting the money you deserve.

At Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, PA, our experienced New Jersey dog bite attorneys know the laws on canine bite incidents and other claims arising from animal attacks. We will help you negotiate a settlement allowing you to obtain compensation without court action, or can represent you in litigation when you need to go to court to get the money you deserve.

What Animals are Most Dangerous? 

The most dangerous and aggressive dogs were bread to be aggressive and dangerous. They include the American Staffordshire terrier, the American Pit Bull, Rottweiler and Doberman Pincher. Their bites exert hundreds of pounds more pressure than the average German Shepherd for example. Ironically, it is the popularity of these breeds that has been their downfall. Unscrupulous breeders, anxious to make a quick profit, are culpable. Comprehensive investigation of the bite incident may prove such a breeder also potentially liable.

Your Rights After a Dog Bite

New Jersey Statutes section 4:19-16 outlines the rules for liability of dog owners after a bite or an animal attack incident. The law makes clear that a dog's owner is responsible for any bite that takes place in a public place or that occurs when the bite victim is lawfully on the dog owner's property. The former viciousness of the dog is not a relevant factor and it does not matter if the dog's owner was aware of the likelihood an attack will occur. Dog owners are strictly liable for damages and losses.

Understanding the strict liability rule applicable to dog bite liability is essential for victims, because laws like New Jersey's make it easier for those injured by a dog attack to make a claim. While the law is clear that the dog's owner is responsible, you still need to go through the formal legal process of making a claim. You may also be dealing with insurance companies who try to undervalue your losses or may try to deny your legitimate claim and argue the dog's attack was provoked.

Protecting yourself during the process of getting dog bite compensation is imperative, as a bite can cause very serious and lasting damage. An animal bite lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, PA will offer you the representation you both need and deserve as you fight for your right to full and fair compensation after any attack.

Liability for Animal Attacks in New Jersey

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 4 million reported dog bites occur in the United States annually. Not surprisingly, a majority of bite victims are children who often suffer painful, permanent injuries to the face. New Jersey has some of the strictest dog bite laws in the country and the courts take dog bite attacks very seriously. Unlike other states, New Jersey does not allow “one free bite” and thus holds dog owners strictly liable for the injuries caused by their animals.

There are a few situations where the dog’s owner might not be obligated to the bite victim, such as: If the victim is a trespasser on the dog owner’s property; if the victim’s injuries are not caused by the bite; and, if the person against whom the victim is making a claim is not the actual owner of the dog. In addition, special treatment may be given where the victim bears some responsibility for the bite, such as provoking the dog. These types of situations are evaluated based on the entire circumstances of the dog bite incident.

What to Do After a Dog Bite

Victims of such injuries must protect their legal rights in order to recover damages under New Jersey law. If evidence is not properly documented or if a formal complaint against the dog owner is not filed in a timely manner, victims can lose their right to pursue a claim. Therefore, victims of dog bite attacks must obtain the following information as soon as possible:

(1) Identify the dog and dog’s owner and obtain contact information;

(2) Obtain contact information for all potential witnesses;

(3) Obtain insurance information from the dog’s owner;

(4) Seek medical care and insist that wounds and bruises be properly documented;

(5) When possible, take photographs of the dog, dog owner, witnesses, wounds and location of the incident;  

(6) Seek legal advice in order to file a timely claim and obtain necessary evidence. Most importantly, never sign any document provided by the dog’s owner, landowner of property upon which the attack occurred or any documents from an insurance agent without the advice of your own New Jersey personal injury attorney.

Getting Help From a New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer after an Animal Attack

An attorney can provide assistance when an adult or a child suffered any injuries due to a dog attack, including injuries resulting from bites or from being knocked over by an aggressive dog. Whatever the harm you endured as a result of an animal attack, we'll work hard to help you receive full and fair compensation for all resulting losses.

Animal attacks often necessitate plastic surgery and other costly medical care. Permanent disfigurement may result, and you may experience significant emotional trauma as well as a decrease in your quality of life due to the bite incident. We firmly believe you deserve to be fully compensated for all losses and we will work hard to get you the monetary damages you deserve. Call Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, PA to speak with an animal bite attorney to learn more: 877-HELMER1.

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