Under New Jersey law, a victim of a dog bite can sue the owner for damages even if the owner had no idea that the dog was dangerous. This is called a strict liability law because it doesn’t require that the victim prove negligence.
N.J. Stat. Ann. § 4:19-16:
The owner of a dog in New Jersey will be held liable for any damages if their dog bites someone, even if the owner wasn’t aware of any viciousness so long as:
- The attack happened in a public place, or
- The attack happened when the victim was invited or lawfully on the owner’s property.
In many states, the law allows as a defense that if the victim had provoked the dog and this caused the attack, the victim couldn’t collect compensation. However, New Jersey law doesn’t provide for that defense specifically.
One Bite Rule
This law, like the laws in many other states, overrules the “one bite rule” that was the law in most states. This rule required that the victim prove that the dog’s owner was negligent, and since the owner didn’t bite the victim, the only way the owner could be negligent is if he or she knew that the dog was vicious.
If the dog had bitten someone before, then the law would allow the jury to infer that the owner knew of the previous bite and still allowed a second victim to be bitten. New Jersey’s strict liability law does away with that rule and puts the liability on the dog owner even when there was no negligence.
Contact a South Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer.
After any accident involving a serious injury, contact a South Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer such as Edith Pearce. Unlike the huge firms with dozens of attorneys and many different attorneys handling different aspects of your case, Edith Pearce is personally involved in every case that we handle. She genuinely cares about her clients and you will not be treated like just another case or file.