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Dog bite claims and settlements in New Jersey have some key differences that apply to situations when a dog bites a child and the laws that govern these cases. Dog bites are more likely to occur to children than to adults and to be more severe. New Jersey courts will take into account the age of the dog bite victim. They will factor in that a child will live longer with their injuries than an adult would and what impacts that will have on their life. This results in some key differences in dog bite claims.
New Jersey dog bites child law is similar to dog bite laws when a dog bites an adult. One key area of difference is the statute of limitations for victims that are minors. The deadline for filing a dog bite lawsuit in New Jersey is two years from the date of the incident. When the victim is a child, parents or guardians can file on behalf of the child. Minors also have until their 18th birthday before the statute of limitations begins. This means a child victim can file to recover damages until their 20th birthday takes place.
A dog owner may not be held responsible if it was found there was provocation. Generally, children under seven will not be held liable for their actions, so dog owners are unable to use this claim. For older children, they may be found to have played a role in the dog bite. This doesn’t mean they are ineligible for compensation, but it may depend on all of the circumstances. In rare instances, parents can be held accountable for the actions of their children. This could happen if a parent encouraged the behavior that led to the bite or other factors that led to the dog bite happening.
How a settlement is paid out can be different for a minor victim as well. In many cases, I advise my clients on setting up a structured settlement for their child.
If your child has been bitten by a dog in New Jersey, contact David J. Cowhey to discuss your case. He is available 24/7 at 609-245-5217 and will use his extensive experience with child bite dog victim cases to assess the situation of your dog bite claim.