The Different Types of Liability for Animal-Related Injuries
If you are injured by a domestic animal in New Jersey, you may have a right to seek damages for your losses, unless the animal’s owner can show you provoked the attack or were trespassing at the time of the incident. Based on your injury, different types of claim are available.
Like most states, New Jersey has a strict-liability dog-bite law. The legal concept of strict liability means that you do not need to show carelessness or negligence on the part of the dog owner. Instead, if you can show that you were legally on the premises, and that the defendant’s dog bit you, the defendant will be liable for all injuries or losses. Note that, under the concept of strict liability, there’s also no needto show that the dog’s owner had knowledge of the dog’s prior aggressive or viciousbehavior. New Jersey’s strict-liability law applies only to incidents involving dog bitesand not bites by other animals.
Maulings, Knockdowns and Other Injuries
If a dog or other animal injures you without biting you—for example, by knocking you down or scratching you—the strict-liability statute does not apply. Instead, you must file a negligence-based claim. Unlike the strict-liability laws governing dog bites, negligence claims are not based on written statutes but have evolved throughthe “common law,” the judge-made law found in court opinions.
For a negligence claim, you must show that the owner of the animal failed to take reasonable actions to control its behavior. One of the most common ways to do that is to show that the owner had prior knowledge of aggressive behavior. You also mustshow that the owner’s failure to control the animal caused your injury.
Contact an Experienced and Effective Personal Injury Attorney
For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 973-993-8787. We have office locations in Morristown and Newton, but willvisit you in your home or the hospital, if necessary.
We take all dog-bite and other injury claims on a contingent-fee basis. You will not pay any attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.