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Owner liability for dog bites in New Jersey

When it comes to dog attacks, getting bitten can come with serious health consequences. Dogs have been known to cause severe injuries -- even deadly injuries -- to children, adults and the elderly in the state of New Jersey.

It's due to the dangers associated with dog attacks that the state of New Jersey has enacted strict laws to protect its citizens from getting hurt by dogs. These laws apply to animal owners.

What are the responsibilities of New Jersey dog owners?

Dog owners must prevent their animals from attacking the public. Unlike some states, where the one-bite rule applies, dog owners don't get a one-bite exemption from being held accountable for their dogs' actions. With the one-bite rule, which you'll find in many states, courts might not hold pet owners accountable the first time their dogs attack. In New Jersey, the story is different: If your dog bites someone, you will be liable for the negative results.

Let's say your daughter is walking through the neighborhood, a dog bolts out of a yard, and it attacks her. When it comes to determining fault, the first question on the mind of law enforcement and a New Jersey court will be: Who is the owner of the dog? That person -- in the vast majority of cases -- will be the one responsible.

No history of violence required

It doesn't matter if the dog has a history of violence, or if it's known to be the most peaceful dog in the neighborhood. Strict liability will apply to dog owners for any violent behavior committed by their animals.

In addition to the owner of the dog, the landlord or property owner where the dog bite happened might also be liable -- especially if he or she failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent a dog attack on his or her property.

Did you or a loved one get hurt by a dog in New Jersey?

The process of filing a New Jersey dog bite claim in civil court can be carried out with the assistance of a skilled personal injury lawyer. An attorney will examine eyewitness testimony, medical records, the extent of your injuries, police reports and other important facts. He or she will then create an appropriate strategy to pursue financial compensation on your behalf in court.

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