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What Issues May Complicate Dog Bite Claims?

Law Offices of James M. Curran

A dangerous dog might present risks to others, so owners must take reasonable steps to protect people who encounter their dog. With that said, people who come near these animals shouldn’t do anything to increase their chances of getting hurt. After filing a claim for a dog bite in New Jersey, the injured party and the insured pet owner may find whether the law and circumstances favor them.

Negligence and Dog Bites

In New Jersey, the dog’s owner becomes responsible for any harm the pet causes to someone on public property or private property. However, trespassing on private property could negate a liability claim. A dog owner who doesn’t take steps to prevent harm, such as leashing or fencing in a pet, could find it difficult to defend a claim.

New Jersey law also establishes a “percentage of fault” rule. A person 40% responsible for an incident may find him or herself only able to claim 60% of damages. A person 51% responsible for an incident might have no negligence claim. For example, someone might have a dog off its leash, but if the bite victim injured, agitated or harmed an otherwise disinterested or docile dog, then filing a claim could prove difficult.

Homeowners Insurance and Dog Bite Claims

Often, homeowners insurance covers dog bites, but there could be exclusions in the policy. Certain dangerous breeds might be excluded. In some instances, the dog’s owner may not have insurance, so filing a lawsuit may be the only recourse. Even if uninsured or excluded from coverage, the dog owner isn’t immune from a potential suit.

Injuries from dog bites might come with medical bills and other expenses. A person bitten by a dangerous animal may want to speak with an attorney about legal options for pursuing compensation.

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