Although dogs are man’s best friend, they pose a serious health risk to the communities. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 4.5 million people suffer dog bites each year, with at least 800,000 people receiving medical attention.
A section of people who suffer dog bites endure severe injuries and complications, which include bacterial infections. In other instances, a dog bite can be a small cut or bruise. Nonetheless, a minor or severe dog bite could prove dangerous.
Unfortunately, victims of dog bites endure mounting medical bills, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of income.
If your dog has inflicted a dog bite on someone, consult a trusted New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer about your legal options.
While most owners care for and protect their dogs, they often fall short in putting them in situations where they don’t feel threatened or provoked. A dog is likely to bite if it feels threatened or provoked.
Any dog can bite if involved in defensive communication. They’re also likely to bite if in any kind of stress due to emotions like fear, anxiety, or arousal.
Different dogs have varying triggers for the above emotions and reactions. For instance, some dogs fear children and react by hiding behind the owner after seeing them. Some dogs fear motorcycles and may lash out by biting the rider to defend themselves.
That said, know your dog’s emotional triggers, responses, and warning signs to understand how it will behave in certain situations. Growling or snarling is a way of telling that your dog is reaching its bite threshold.
Growing or barking is a good sign for your dog towards a stressor because it lets you know it is stressed. Anytime you encounter such a sign from your dog, find a way to put some distance between you and the dog.
In the unfortunate event that a dog bites someone, take the following steps to protect yourself, the dog, and the victim:
Despite the victim’s pain or injury, most dog owners are quick to defend themselves. For instance, they may become argumentative against the victim’s accusations. Others become angry and may also punish the dog.
Anger or aggression will most likely stress the victim, which can compound the pain they’re experiencing. The dog can also bite again, triggered by your angry reaction. Try to be polite and helpful to solve the matter amicably. The victim is also less likely to sue you.
It is always recommended to take responsibility if your dog bites someone. In case the matter becomes a personal injury lawsuit, the judge or jury may be inclined to offer a hefty punishment because you attempt to flee the scene or hide your identity.
Advise the victim to seek medical attention and take their personal information. In addition, take detailed information about the scene, which you’ll provide to the police, insurers, and pet handlers.
The case of a dog bite is likely to be less serious if the victim recovers quickly. Quick medical attention is the perfect way to facilitate recovery. The dog bite could become a serious bacterial infection if not treated immediately.
Contact a dog bite attorney if the victim cannot get treatment for various reasons, including lack of health insurance. It may also be in your best interest to pay for the medical expenses of the victim.
Notifying the police is a good move for your case. The police will create an unbiased and independent report you can rely on in a court case. It can also discourage the victim from issuing false claims.
Speak to your insurance provider to determine whether your home or renter’s insurance policy covers dog bites. It is not always necessary to initiate a claim for a minor dog bite because it can lead to a premium increment.
You must inform the insurer on time, which will be useful later while processing a claim.
Compile copies of the dog’s vaccination and other recent medical records. Availability of these records can minimize liability by ensuring the victim doesn’t sue you for rabies and other canine diseases.
It is advisable to speak to a dog bite attorney whether or not you anticipate the victim to file a claim. The attorney will give you the best chance to defend yourself if the victim files a lawsuit. An attorney will also help you compile the necessary documents to file an insurance claim.
More importantly, a dog bite attorney will speak with medical experts, speak with the victim and the insurance firm, and advocate for you throughout the case.
After your dog bites someone, try to manage its behavior by avoiding stressors that would trigger a bite. For instance, locking it up when children visit or avoiding places where they will likely encounter motorcycles.
Alternatively, hire someone to implement a behavior modification program.
Depending on the circumstances, you may need to file an insurance claim if a dog bites someone on your property. You may be liable if a dog bites a guest, trespasser, or pizza delivery person.
However, if your homeowner’s insurance has liability coverage, it should cater to the expenses of the claim and legal defense.
When a dog bite occurs on your property, premises liability is the most relevant law. When someone enters your property, they generally expect to avoid injury. In addition, a homeowner owes a standard of care to anyone who enters their property.
In addition, the owner or occupier of the land should maintain a reasonably safe environment. The duty also extends to people who enter their property. As such, property owners should restrain dangerous animals, including dogs, and put up warning signs to keep their property safe.
Different states apply dog bite rules ranging from leash laws to strict liability or one-bite regulations. New Jersey state applies the one-bite rule, in which the dog owner or their insurance provider is not liable to the victim if it’s the first time a dog inflicts a bite.
Here’s how dog bite law treats different people who may enter your property:
Euthanasia might be the only option if the dog becomes vicious, unmanageable, and dangerous. New Jersey law permits law enforcement to euthanize a dog if it poses a significant threat to public safety.
Euthanasia can be administered if a dog bites someone in the following instances:
It is often accomplished in dogs and other pets by injecting a death-infusing drug. After the injection of euthanasia drugs, the dog becomes deeply and irreversibly unconscious as the drug halts brain function.
Death by euthanasia is quick and painless. Your dog may move their legs or head or breathe deeply after the injection; even so, these reflexes don’t mean your pet is suffering or in pain.
Before administering euthanasia, a law enforcement officer also considers whether the dog is improperly trained or received training involving protection or bite. A dog that is trained to guard, attack, kill, or fight may be deemed dangerous, necessitating euthanasia.
Similarly, the type of dog breed also matters. Some dog breeds, including pit bulls, rottweilers, and shepherds, are deemed more dangerous than others, increasing their likelihood of being euthanized.
As a victim of a dog bite, pursuing legal action can be crucial for receiving the compensation you deserve. Dog bite incidents can lead to significant physical and emotional trauma, and you have the right to seek justice and financial recovery for your injuries.
Working with an attorney specializing in representing dog bite victims is essential. The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer brings over 40 years of experience in this field, providing a distinct advantage in advocating for victims’ rights and entitlements.
If you’ve suffered from a dog bite, our expert legal team is ready to help you navigate the complexities of your case. Contact us online for a free initial consultation and take the first step towards getting the justice and compensation you deserve.