NJ Dog Attack Law: Will A Dog Be Put To Sleep for Biting Someone?

If you’ve been attacked by a dog in New Jersey, you will of course want to make sure that the animal in question is dealt with appropriately so that no one else will have to suffer in the way you did. But does this always mean that the animal in question will be put to sleep after you file a lawsuit?

New Jersey has very specific dog attack injury laws in place to protect the public when an animal attacks someone. This article will help you better understand what outcome your dog bite lawsuit may have, and what the fate of the animal in question may be. If you or your loved one were the victim of a vicious dog attack, you can also pursue compensation with the help of an experienced New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer



New Jersey Dog Bite Laws

New Jersey has a specific dog bite statute on the books, statute N.J.S.A. 4:19-16.

New Jersey’s dog bite statute states that if a dog bites someone, the dog’s owner is liable, as long as the victim was on public property, or legally on private property. This means that if the victim was trespassing when the attack occurred, the owner is not legally liable under New Jersey law. Additionally, the victim cannot have provoked the dog into attacking them. 


Is a Dog Owner Still Liable if They Were Not Aware Their Dog Was Aggressive?

In New Jersey, yes. Dog owners are still held liable for the attack, even if they did not know their animals were vicious or aggressive. Even if the dog has never previously attacked someone, the owner will still be liable if their dog attacks someone on their property, or on public property.


What Happens to a Dog After It Attacks Someone?

So what does New Jersey Law have to say about the fate of the animal after it attacks someone? The short answer is that the dog in question will usually not be put down. Of course, there are always extreme circumstances in which this may be the ultimate outcome of a dog attack. 

After an animal attack, there are several steps that will happen. Typically after an accident:

  • An animal control officer will investigate your claims.
  • The investigation will confirm that the animal has an up to date rabies vaccination.
  • If the animal has an up to date rabies vaccination, and this was the first time this dog has attacked someone, no other action may occur.


What if the Dog That Bit Me Has a History of Attacking People?

In the rare instance where a dog has repeatedly attacked people when unprovoked, further action may need to be taken. When an animal causes repeated severe injuries, it poses a significant threat to others and the owner may need to take preventative measures.

These can include:

  • Displaying warning signs on their property
  • Keeping the dog locked in an enclosure
  • Keeping the dog on a strong leash
  • Using a muzzle on the dog

If these measures are insufficient, then the dog may need to be euthanized. However, usually a court will attempt to prevent the dog from attacking others before suggesting euthanization.


What Is the Dog Owner Liable for After an Attack?

Owners are responsible for damages to the victim if their dog attacks someone. The owner will be liable for injuries directly caused by the attack, as well as any injuries the victim may have sustained while trying to escape the dog. An example of this is if you fell while trying to escape the dog, and sustained a broken bone or other type of injury, 


How Common Are Dog Attacks?

Dog attacks are much more common than you might expect, with more than 4.5 million reported dog bite incidents in the United States every year, according to the CDC. Around 800,000 of those attacks are serious enough to result in the victim seeking medical care. 


What Happens If I Am Bitten By A Dog In New Jersey?

If you are bitten by a dog in New Jersey, you should take the following steps immediately:

  • Seek medical attention: Even if the bite appears minor, it is important to seek medical attention to prevent the risk of infection or other complications.
  • Report the bite to animal control: Contact your local animal control agency to report the bite. They will investigate the incident and determine if any action needs to be taken against the dog owner.
  • Contact an experienced NJ dog bite attorney: A knowledgeable attorney can advise you of your legal options and help you pursue compensation for your injuries.

What Is The Importance Of Documenting The Dog Bite Incident?

Documenting the dog bite incident is crucial for establishing your claim and securing dog bite compensation. Obtain the dog owner’s contact information, including their name, address, and insurance information. Take photographs of the bite wound and any other injuries sustained. Gather eyewitness accounts or statements from individuals who witnessed the incident if possible.


What Is The Role Of Animal Control In Dog Bite Cases?

Animal control officers are responsible for investigating dog bite incidents and determining if the dog should be quarantined or any other action should be taken. If the dog is deemed dangerous, the dog owner may be required to take steps to prevent future bites, such as muzzle training or electronic fencing.


What Is New Jersey’s “Strict Liability” Law For Dog Bites?

New Jersey has a strict liability law for dog bites, which means that the dog owner is automatically liable for any injuries caused by the dog’s bite, regardless of whether the owner knew the dog was dangerous.

What Are The Exceptions to New Jersey’s Strict Liability Law?

There are a few exceptions to New Jersey’s strict liability law, including:


Will The Dog Be Put Down If It Bites Someone?

Not necessarily. As stated above, in New Jersey, dogs are typically not euthanized after a bite unless extenuating circumstances exist. However, the injured victim may be able to file a claim to recover compensation for losses.


What Factors Are Considered When Determining Whether A Dog Should Be Euthanized?

Several factors are considered when determining whether a dog should be euthanized after a bite, including:

  • The severity of the bite
  • The dog’s history of biting or attacking others
  • The circumstances of the bite
  • The dog’s breed
  • The dog’s age
  • The dog’s temperament


What Role Does The Dog’s Breed Play In Dog Bite Cases?

While breed is not the sole determinant of whether a dog will bite, certain breeds have a higher propensity for aggression. However, breed alone is insufficient evidence to establish liability, and the dog’s behavior and the circumstances of the bite must also be considered.


What Damages Can I Recover If A Dog Bites Me?

If you are bitten by a dog in New Jersey, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Property damage


How Long Do I Have To File A Lawsuit After Being Bitten By A Dog?

In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for dog bite claims is two years. That means that you must file a claim within two years of the date of the bite.


What Should I Do If The Dog Owner’s Insurance Company Contacts Me?

Never speak to the dog owner’s insurance company without consulting an attorney. The insurance company may try to get you to settle your claim for a low amount of money, so having an attorney represent your interests is important.

What Can I Do To Prevent Dog Bites?

There are several things you can do to prevent dog bites, including:

  • Avoid interacting with dogs you do not know
  • Do not pet dogs without their owner’s permission
  • Do not approach dogs that are eating or sleeping
  • Do not run from a dog
  • Teach children how to interact with dogs safely

What Steps Can A Dog Owner Take To Avoid Liability For A Dog Bite?

Dog owners must keep their dog under control at all times to prevent it from biting someone.

This includes:

  • Keeping the dog on a leash or in a fenced yard
  • Supervising the dog closely
  • Training the dog to obey commands


What Can I Do If I Am Concerned About A Dog In My Neighborhood That Has Bitten Someone In The Past?

If you are concerned about a dog in your neighborhood that has bitten someone in the past, you should contact your local animal control agency. They will investigate the incident and take appropriate action.


What Are The Considerations For Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit Due To A Dog Bite?

Before filing a personal injury lawsuit, consulting with an experienced dog bite attorney is essential. They can assess the severity of your injuries, advise you on the legal options available, and guide you through filing a claim and negotiating with the dog owner’s insurance company. An attorney can also represent you in court if necessary.

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