The short answer is usually “no” except in extreme circumstances.

Dogs are usually friendly, wonderful animals. However, just like humans, dogs are capable of attacking and injuring someone. There are more than 4.7 million reported dog bite incidents in the U.S. every year. An alarming statistic, to be sure. When a dog bites someone, the injury may be quite severe. New Jersey has specific dog bite injury laws to protect the public.

New Jersey’s Dog Bite Statute N.J.S.A. 4:19-16

N.J. Dog Bite Law has strict liability for dog bite claims. Like many states in the country, New Jersey’s dog bite statute (New Jersey Statute 4:19-16) provides that if a dog bites someone, the owner is liable. Someone who has been bitten by a dog is able to sue the owner in civil court for damages. While the statute says the dog owner is liable, there are some considerations that must be taken into account. The person must have been on public property or legally on private property. Also, the victim cannot have provoked the dog. Dog owners are strictly liable for dog bite claims in New Jersey even if they did not know their animals were aggressive or vicious. The dog may never have attacked anyone else before. However, the owner is responsible and may be required to pay damages to the victim of a dog bite. The owner is liable for any injuries, even if those injuries aren’t from the bite itself. For example, the victim might have injuries from a fall he or she sustained trying to get away after the bite.

What Happens to a Dog When a Bite Occurs?

If a dog bites someone, an animal control officer will investigate the claims of the victim and will verify that appropriate rabies and other vaccinations are up to date. If everything is in order, no further action is taken. However, in the rare instance when a dog repeatedly attacks when unprovoked, causes severe injury and poses a significant threat to others, dog owners may be required to display warning signs on the property and may have to keep the dog in a locked enclosure or on a strong leash with a muzzle. If these preventative actions fail, the dog may have to be euthanized. However, this is not the usual course of action.

Have you or someone you love been injured from a dog bite? Do you need more information about NJ Dog Bite Law? Contact Edward C. Lutz, Esq., personal injury attorney at Lutz Injury Law, Parsippany, N.J., in Morris County.