Dog Bite Injuries
New Jersey Dog Bite Injuries & Compensation
New Jersey dog owners have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that their dogs do not attack people or cause injuries through violent or aggressive behavior. This could mean keeping a dog on a leash when going for a walk, installing protective fencing in their yards, and training dogs to avoid predatory activities. Sadly, not all dog owners live up to their responsibility to keep their neighbors safe. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year, with nearly one million of those dog bite victims requiring emergency room treatment. Many of the dog attacks involve children who endure severe emotional trauma as a result of the violent encounter. In the worst cases, dog attacks are fatal for the victims.
If you or a loved one suffered a dog bite injury in New Jersey, you may be eligible for compensation to account for medical expenses, lost wages, physical harm, and emotional trauma. Contact the New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyers at our firm to speak with a legal professional who can help. Our experienced attorneys represent victims who suffer dog related injuries in Monmouth County, Ocean County, Atlantic County, and throughout New Jersey. You can reach us anytime by calling 732-810-0336 or send us a message to request a free case evaluation.
Common Dog Bite Wounds in New Jersey
A dog bite wound can refer to a wide range of injuries and in many circumstances can be very severe. Depending upon the nature of the dog that commits the attack and how long the attack lasts, a victim’s injuries can vary greatly. Some of the most common injuries suffered in dog attacks are puncture wounds, scratches and tears in the skin, knockdown injuries, blood loss, disease and infections, and wrongful death. The following provides additional information about some of the leading injuries caused by violent dogs.
The most common type of injury from a dog bite is a puncture wound. A puncture wound suffered in a dog attack is typically caused by the dog’s sharp jagged teeth. The puncture wound can be extremely deep in some circumstances and can lead to lacerations and other breaks of the skin. A puncture wound can also lead to other types of severe injuries, such as muscle and tissue damage and artery damage. If the muscle or tissue is damaged, the victim may experience significant pain and discomfort, as well as long-term weakness, pain, and physical limitations. For instance, if a dog bite results in a deep puncture wound to the victim’s arm, they may also suffer damage to their muscle tissue. This could result in serious health complications, nerve damage, reduced arm strength, and pain and discomfort when attempting to perform ordinary, day-to-day tasks. If the dog is particularly vicious and the puncture wounds occur in the facial area, the victim could suffer serious eye injuries that put them at risk for blindness.
Scratches and Tears in the Skin
A dog bite or attack can also cause scratches and tears in the skin. Depending on how deep the cuts penetrate and what part of the body the attacking dog focused on, any scratches and tears to the victim’s skin could be severe. For instance, a bite to a victim’s face can lead to tears and scratches that require stitches and, in some circumstances, cosmetic procedures to help repair the damaged area. It is not uncommon for dog bites to result in permanent scarring and disfigurement, even when the injury is handled promptly by medical personnel and surgical procedures are performed.
Injuries can also occur when a person is knocked down during the a dog attack. Knockdowns can lead to broken bones, such as broken ankles or wrists, as well as injuries to the spine that put the victim at risk of partial or complete paralysis. In some circumstances, a serious head injury could result if the individual who is being attacked by a dog strikes his or her head on the ground when they are knocked down.
Infection from a Dog Bite
Dogs spread germs that cause infection, particularly when they bite a human. CDC statistics indicate that nearly 20% of all dog bites become infected with bacteria. This is why it is especially important for a dog’s owner to ensure that their pet is current on all required vaccinations. When a person is bitten by a dog, the victim should thoroughly wash their wounds with soap and water, apply antibiotic cream, and completely cover the wound with a bandage. Depending on the severity of the wound, it may also be necessary for the victim to seek medical attention and follow up with a doctor to ensure that they do not suffer an infection or virus such as rabies, Pasteurella, MRSA (staph infection), or tetanus. A dog bite victim should also speak with an attorney about obtaining the dog’s vaccination records from the owner.
Although most dogs are friendly, the reality is that certain breeds of dogs are predatory by their very nature and can cause catastrophic injuries when they attack someone. For instance, pit bulls represent less than five percent of all dogs in the United States but are responsible for nearly two-thirds of all dog attack deaths. In fact, dozens of people are killed each year in fatal dog attacks. Many of the victims in fatal dog attacks are children, with young children being particularly vulnerable due to their smaller stature, trusting nature, and inability to defend themselves against a vicious dog. Statistics show that around 33 percent of fatal dog attack victims are under the age of two. Even non-fatal dog attacks disproportionately affect young victims: more than half of all people who require medical attention for dog bites are children. Young children often fail to realize the dangers posed by some breeds of dog until it is too late. Making matters worse is the fact that when a vicious dog targets the head or neck area of a young victim, they can do real damage because the child’s head and neck are not yet fully developed. According to the CDC, the majority of dog bites to children under the age of four are in the head/neck region. You can learn more about wrongful death lawsuits on our page dedicated to the subject.
When a Dog Attacks a Human in NJ
In New Jersey, a dog owner is strictly liable for the injuries that are caused by his or her dog as a result of a bite or attack. N.J.S.A. 4:19-16 stipulates that the owner of a dog that bites a person “while such person is on or in a public area, 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 the viciousness.” This means that the injured person will not necessarily have to prove in court that the owner knew that the dog had a history of violence, or even that the owner should have known about the dog’s violent propensities. Under NJ law, the dog owner will be liable for the damage that was caused by the dog regardless of the dog’s history of attacks or the owner’s specific previous knowledge of that history. Monetary damages can encompass a wide range of factors, including permanent disability, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other forms of suffering.
Pursue Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury in New Jersey
If you or someone you know has been attacked or bitten by a dog in New Jersey, call our New Jersey dog bite lawyers today. Our lawyers provide a strong voice for victims of dog attacks. We represent individuals who have sustained injuries from a dog statewide, including in Monmouth County and Middlesex County. Call 732-810-0336 for more information and a free consultation about a dog bite case.