Do You Have a Dog Bite Injury?
If yes, you are not the only one. Dogs will bite nearly 5 million Americans this year. While most of the bites are not serious and do not require medical treatment, more than 800,000 do. More than a dozen people will die of a dog attack or a dog bite this year.
If you have a claim related to your injury, you may be asking whether you should hire legal representation. Here is some information on the dog bite law in the state of New Jersey. Here are also some tips on whether you should think about hiring counsel to represent you.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
New Jersey has a dog bite law to protect victims of dog attacks. Falling under New Jersey Statute 4:19-16, the law states it is the dog owner’s responsibility to pay for any damages. Even if the dog has never bitten anyone before, the dog owner is still liable for damages to the victim.
You may want to think about hiring an attorney for your dog bite claim for several reasons. If your bite was serious enough that you had to seek medical attention, the owner’s responsible for your bill. He or she is also responsible if you missed time from work because you were hurt.
Homeowners insurance companies pay the bill for dog bite injuries. Of all the dog bites that occur in the United States, less than 1 percent of the victims receive compensation. If the dog owner refuses to file his or her homeowner’s insurance claim, you need to have representation. Also, if the owner’s insurance company is unwilling to reimburse you for 100 percent of your expenses, you need help. Often, insurance companies will only offer you between 10 percent and 20 percent of the money you are actually owed. An attorney can work directly with the insurance company to get you the money you deserve.
If you want to file a claim, it can be difficult to go to trial without legal representation. There are definite procedures all lawyers go through to handle a civil claim. If you do not know all the rules and procedures, you could lose your case. It does not matter how good your case is.
How Much Time Do I Have to File A Claim?
New Jersey has a statute of limitations on dog bites. You have to file your dog bite claim in a New Jersey civil court within two years of the date it occurred. It does not matter how badly you were injured by a dog. If you do not file your claim within two years of the bite, the court will never file your lawsuit. Therefore, the sooner you get your paperwork in, the better.
How Much Can I Win?
Research suggests that most dog bite claims settle before they go to trial. According to the Insurance Institute, when these cases go to trial, the average claim was around $35,000. Some cases of dog bites were worth less than that. However, there have also been many dog bite claims that have received six-figure awards. Often, the award depends on the extent of the injuries, the strength of the claim, and the lawyer’s expertise. You need a lawyer who is familiar with dog bite law.
Have you suffered from a dog bite injury? Want to file a claim? Let the lawyers at The Law Office of Edward C. Lutz, LLC help you. We specialize in dog bites. Contact Lutz Injury Law, N.J. Personal Injury Trial Lawyers. The office is in Parsippany, N.J., in Morris County.