Dogs are often called man’s best friend. They are known for loving their owners unconditionally, and the pet tales that can move one to tears frequently involve stories of dogs and their masters. Dogs, like people, can feel threatened or may react defensively if startled, frightened or overwhelmed. Sadly, this can result in a dog bite and a possible animal bite lawsuit in New Jersey and elsewhere.
New Jersey ranks high in the order of states where dog bites are likely to occur, and August is often the month with the highest number of reported bites. In 2018 the state was ranked 14th. Average payouts in suits brought against the owner of the biting dog was $72,000. Children are most often the victims of dog bites.
While dogs, like humans, can have unpredictable behavior, there are steps that dog owners can take to help prevent dogs from biting. Properly socialized dogs will be less afraid around strange dogs and people and less likely to be aggressive. People approaching one’s dog, particularly children, should be cautioned to approach slowly and allow the dog to become a bit familiar with them before petting it. Dogs, like people, require regular exercise and mental stimulation to be happy and healthy.
Regardless of how well cared for a dog is, bites can still happen. No matter how careful an owner is, or how cautious a parent is with one’s child around a strange dog, no dog’s behavior is completely predictable. If a person in New Jersey is injured due to an animal bite, a consultation with a personal injury professional can be informative. A knowledgeable attorney can review the facts of the situation and advise the client as to whether a personal injury suit is viable option. This is particularly true regarding dog bites as New Jersey is a strict liability state, even in circumstances where the dog owner took reasonable precautions to restrain the animal and/or warn others.