New Jersey has strict liability laws for dog owners. Simply put, owning a canine companion means that a human is responsible for that dog’s behavior toward other people. The dog does not have to have an established history of aggression or any previous bite incidents for the owner to have legal and financial liability for the attack.
There are usually a few options for compensation available for those attacked by an aggressive animal. For example, homeowner’s and renter’s insurance can provide bodily injury liability protection that covers hospital bills and any lost wages that results from a dog bite attack.
However, in some situations, the breed of the animal involved might limit your options for compensation after that animal attacks you or a member of your family.
Insurance Coverage May Depend on the Breed
Generally speaking, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will protect a pet owner from liability associated with the animal. Still, the insurance company has to know about and cover the specific pet.
Some kinds of dogs have a stronger association with bite attacks and severe injuries, so insurance companies have extra rules about these breeds. Breeds that insurance companies may refuse to cover without a policyholder paying extra for their premium are restricted breeds. Common restricted breeds include:
- Pit bulls and crossbreeds
- Wolf hybrids
- Doberman pinschers
- German Shepherds
- Great Danes
- Chow Chows
- Siberian huskies
If the animal’s owner did not disclose the presence of the dog when purchasing their policy, the insurance may not cover injuries of the animal causes. The same issue could arise if the owner was dishonest about the breed.
What Happens if Insurance Won’t Cover You?
In the rare situation where an insurance company did not know about the animal or had inaccurate information about its breed, you may find that homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will not cover the losses you suffer when a dog turns aggressive.
In such a scenario, you may have no choice but to pursue a personal injury claim against the pet owner who didn’t have proper insurance. Understanding the rules that govern dog bite claims in New Jersey can help you get the compensation you need for injuries that have affected your family.