Have You Been Bitten in New Jersey?
The state of New Jersey does not have a universal state dog leash law. Instead, New Jersey State Consolidated Dog Laws 40:48-1 reads that, “the governing body of every municipality may make, amend, repeal, and enforce ordinances to prohibit or regulate the running of dogs at large.” As such, individual cities may make dog leash laws. If your city has a dog leash law, here’s how it may apply to your dog bite claim.
Common Law in New Jersey
There are two pathways that a victim of a dog bite can take when pursuing a claim for injuries: statutory law and common law. The first holds a dog owner liable for all damages caused by their dog’s actions, regardless of whether or not the dog had previously been deemed aggressive or dangerous.
Under common law, though, a victim may be able to recover more comprehensive damages—like damages for pain and suffering—if they can prove that that dog owner acted negligently. Then the victim must show that the negligence led to the dog attack. Having a dog off-leash, particularly if city ordinances prohibit dogs from running at large, may be considered negligent behavior.
What do I have to prove to recover damages for a dog bite in New Jersey?
The fact that New Jersey does not have a statewide leash law may not matter when it comes to recovering damages for your claim. That’s because you do not have to prove anything to do with the dog being leashed.
Rather, all you’ll have to establish to recover damages is the following.
- The defendant is/was the owner of the dog
- The dog bit/attacked you
- You were not on the owner’s property at the time of attack
If you were trespassing when the dog bit you, then you may waive your right to compensation under statutory law. Trespassing is one of the commonly used dog bite attack defenses used by dog owners.
Taking Action if Bitten by a Dog in New Jersey
If a dog in New Jersey has bitten you, you need to take action quickly to file a claim for damages. At Cordisco & Saile LLC, our attorneys can help to determine whether filing a claim under statutory law or common law is within your best interest, and what the requirements are for each.
If the city in which you live has a law regarding dogs running at large (dog leashing), this may help your case if filing a claim based on common law. For legal guidance and a free case consultation today, contact our offices now. You can reach us at 215-642-2335.