The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Thursday, February 18, 2021

New Jersey Dog Bite Laws

Whether you own a dog in New Jersey or have had the unfortunate experience of encountering a dog that has bit you or otherwise injured you, knowing the dog bite laws of the state can be very important. New Jersey dog bite laws are specific about a dog owner’s liability for the injury his or her dog may inflict on another as it is specific about the rights of dog bite victims to recover compensation for the harm they have suffered. Here, we will go into more detail about New Jersey dog bite laws.

New Jersey Dog Bite Laws

Unlike some other states, New Jersey does not permit a dog to get a one warning bite in. In fact, in the majority of dog bite cases, the past behavior of a dog is irrelevant. This is because of New Jersey’s strict liability law regarding dog bites. In fact, most other states have strict liability laws in dog bite cases. What this means is that most states make a dog’s owner liable in a civil suit when the animal has bitten someone. As long as the dog bite victim was attacked while on public property or was otherwise legally present on the private owner’s property when the incident occurred, the dog owner will be liable for the damage his or her dog caused. This is true regardless of whether the dog bit anyone in the past or ever displayed any aggressive behavior. Because of the liability, the owner may very well be on the hook for paying damages for the resulting injuries sustained by the victim.

There are, however, exceptions to the strict liability rule. In several situations, the dog owner will not generally be held responsible for paying damages to a person who has been bitten by his or her dog. For instance, if the victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property, the owner will likely not be held liable for the victim’s injuries. This is also true in cases where the when the person who the victim is suing is not actually the dog’s owner. Furthermore, when a dog injured a person without actually biting him or her, strict liability does not apply. This happens in cases such as when a dog knocks someone over.

While these may be exceptions to strict liability, the possibility remains that the victim may be able to recover damages under a theory of negligence as opposed to that of strict liability. If the victim can prove negligence on the part of the dog owner, then the owner may still be liable for compensating the victim for his or her injuries. In order to be compensated under a theory of negligence, the victim must be able to prove that the owner had a duty to take reasonable care in controlling the dog’s behavior. It must also be shown that the owner failed to uphold this duty and that this failure resulted in the dog harming the victim. Things like a dog’s history of aggressive behavior may then become relevant in the court’s evaluation as to what reasonable measure the owner should have been taking to protect others from the dog.

New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you been injured by a dog? The Cassidy Law Firm can help explore and enforce your right to compensation for the harm you have suffered. Contact us today.


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