Dog Bite

Dogs are generally considered a member of the family. However, with the prevalence of dogs in our society, there is also the prevalence of serious injuries resulting from dog bites and attacks.

At the law firm of Beninato & Matrafajlo, we make it our top priority to ensure our dog bite victims get the maximum compensation they deserve from the responsible parties. Over the decades, our Elizabeth, NJ dog bite attorneys have helped our clients recover full and fair compensation for their dog bite and/or attack injuries. We take pride in the fact that we are driven to get the maximum results our injured clients deserve.

New Jersey Dog Bite Law

There are two legal theories in New Jersey dog bit claims can move forward. Under New Jersey statute (N.J.S.A. 4:19-16 ), dog owners are held strictly liable for the harm caused by their dog’s biting or attack, even if it was the first time the dog exhibited such vicious behavior.  The victim only needs to prove that they were bitten or attacked by the dog and to whom the dog belongs. The owner cannot use as a defense the dog’s prior no biting history or prior lack propensity to bite humans. 

Some exceptions to this strict liability rule:

  • The victim was not in a public place or lawfully on the dog owner’s property.
  • The harm was not the directly caused by the dog bite.
  • Another individual is possible involved – for instance, the dog was in the control of a dog walker, dog trainer and/or veterinarian, in which case your case may be more complex.

The second legal theory is under the New Jersey Comparative Negligence Act (N.J.S.A. 2A:15-5). This statute limits the total amount of legal responsibility in situation where the dog bite victim was a contributing factor to the cause of the injury by provoking the animal. It should be noted that dog bite victims under the age of 7 are presumed to not have been negligent in dog bite cases.

Common Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bite incidents can result in serious physical, emotional and mental suffering, especially for younger dog bite victims. Common dog bite injuries include:

  • Broken or fractured bones and other crush-related injuries
  • Open wound and punctures
  • Permanent scarring
  • Abrasions and lacerations
  • Bruising 
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Infections (such as rabies, C canimorsus infections, cellulitis)
  • Nerve damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Emotional trauma, depression and anxiety
  • Death

The Union City dog bite lawyers at Beninato & Matrafajlo will consider all factors surrounding your dog bite claim to ensure you obtain the full money damages you deserve. Treatment for serious dog bite injuries can leave you in a financial wreck. We can help you get the relief you need.

Economic & Non-Economic Damages in NJ Dog Bite Claims

Economic damages are awarded based on your financial losses resulting from the accident, which generally includes medical bills and lost wages. Examples of economic damages include:

  • Hospital bills
  • Doctor’s’ visits co-pays and bills
  • Physical or occupational therapists
  • Medical devices and aides
  • Prescriptions and medications
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Any other out of pocket costs caused by your dog bite injuries

You may also be entitled to non-economic damages as well, or those that do not have a monetary value. Examples include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

Our legal team will evaluate your claim and all of your losses to make sure you get the full compensation you deserve from the dog owner and/or their insurance company.

Time Limits for Filing a Dog Bite Claim

You have 2 years from the date of the dog bite and/or attack to file a claim in New Jersey. If you fail to file your claim within this time frame before the statute of limitations expires, you have little recourse. 

There are only limited circumstances when a personal injury claim for a dog bite and/or attack may be filed beyond the two-year mark. You should contact an experienced Elizabeth, NJ dog bite attorney immediately after your incident to avoid being forever barred from seeking damages for your dog bite injuries.

Call an Elizabeth, NJ Dog Bite Attorney

If you or someone you know has been bitten or attacked by dog, an experienced Elizabeth, NJ dog bite attorney can help seek justice and the full compensation you deserve. Call Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law, LLC at 732.723.8840 to schedule a free, complimentary consultation with our legal team today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Similar to many other states in the country, New Jersey’s dog bite rule (New Jersey Statute 4:19-16) provides that if a dog bites or attacks someone, the owner will be responsible. In other words, if you have been bitten by a dog, you can sue the owner for monetary damages.

New Jersey has a “strict liability” dog bite statute. This means that dog owners are responsible for any injuries caused by their dogs, even if they used reasonable care to restrain their animal or to protect or warn others.

If you suffered serious injuries from a dog bite or attack, you may have monetary recourse from the dog owner for your resulting damages, including medical bills, loss of income, scarring and possibly loss of future earning capacity. Your claim will usually be paid out of the owner’s pet insurance.

New Jersey law allows you two years from the date of the dog bite to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit in court.

In New Jersey, when a dog injures a person, it must be placed in a 10-day quarantine at the expense of the dog owner. At the end of the quarantine period, the local animal control or health officer will evaluate the animal to determine if it is healthy and safe to return to the owner’s control.