Whether you live in Gloucester county or anywhere else in NJ, the NJ Dog Bite Statute is the same. N.J.S.A. 4:19-16, known as the “Dog Bite Statute,” covers liability of the dog’s owner regardless of viciousness of dog, and states:
The owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.
For the purpose of this section, a person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner when he is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner thereof.
The NJ Dog Bite Statute is a strict liability statute. Strict liability means that the responsibility for an injury can be imposed on the wrongdoer without a finding of carelessness or fault.
The NJ Dog Bite Statute allows an injured party to hold the dog owner legally responsible for the injuries that were sustained by the dog bite, even if the owner did not know that the dog might bite and even if the dog owner took reasonable steps to restrain the dog. However well trained a dog may be, it can still have an unpredictable reaction when it feels threatened, and the owner should take every step to ensure visitors to their home or property are safe.
Pursuant to the NJ Dog Bite Statute, the injured party (known as the Plaintiff) must show:
1. Defendant is the owner of the dog;
2. The dog bit the plaintiff; and
3. The bite occurred while the plaintiff was either in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
This statute only applies to dog bites. It does not apply to other injuries that a dog might cause. An example of this would be a bicyclist who was chased by a dog and the dog caused the bicyclist to fall of the bike. A person injured by a dog under this example may still bring a negligence claim against the dog’s owner.
If you have been injured by a dog bite (or any other animal), please do not hesitate to contact and schedule an appointment with an attorney experienced in handling these matters. At Puff, Sierzega & MacFeeters, we have been litigating such matters throughout Gloucester County for many years, and we can help you get justice for your suffering. Contact us today and request a consultation to get started.