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What are Your Legal Rights as a Dog Bite Victim?
Like many people, you may be an animal lover. In contrast, you may be someone who is deathly afraid of dogs. In either case, a dog bite often represents a painful and alarming injury. Unfortunately, some dog bites are so severe that they result in fatalities.
Consider the sad story of a woman mauled to death by an Akita in Phoenix. There was no question that the decedent loved dogs. After all, she worked with Akita rescues as often as possible. Fortunately, dog bites don’t always result in fatal accidents. Notwithstanding, statistical research shows thirty-one people died nationally from dog bites last year alone.
It doesn’t take daily and volunteer exposure to animals to put a victim at risk. Unfortunately, dogs can come out of nowhere and attack. For example, imagine it is a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and you decide to take a walk in Warinanco Park. After all, you’re tired of remaining inside from the recent cold weather.
While you’re taking your stroll on the walking path, a loose golden retriever comes out of nowhere, blocks your escape, and attacks and bites you. For whatever reason, the owner figured it was a good idea to let the dog run off leash. Perhaps he or she was confident that the breed of dog was not known for viciousness. No doubt there are exceptions to every rule. In fact, the pain isn’t the only thing that bothers you. You are worried about facial scarring.
Meanwhile, there’s also a chance that you could experience a dog bite while visiting someone. As long as you are lawfully on private property, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries. The law takes a different stance on trespassers seeking recovery.
Dog Owner Liability
Notably, some dogs are considered more vicious than others. Dog owners often complain that their animals get a bad rap. However, pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 76% of fatal dog attacks. That’s not to say that other breeds or even mutts do not pose a threat. New Jersey law considers any animal with a history of aggressive behavior to be a vicious animal.
However, whether a dog is deemed vicious or not is irrelevant under New Jersey’s dog bite statute. Even if the dog doesn’t have a history of biting, you can still hold the dog owner liable and recover damages.
A dog bite injury can involve an award for pain and suffering. This includes physical injuries and scarring, emotional distress, and mental anguish. Also, you may even be entitled to reimbursement for lost wages and medical expenses. If your loved one has passed as a result of a fatal dog bite, you may make a wrongful death claim.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it is essential to speak to an experienced New Jersey dog bite lawyer. The Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo has over ninety years of assisting injury victims to negotiate settlements and damages awards. Contact us to see how we can help you.