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When is the owner liable for a dog bite in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2020 | Injuries |

When someone fails to control their dog and the dog bites you or someone you love, you may have cause to try to hold the owner responsible. If you have to pay hefty medical bills in the aftermath of the bite, you may feel particularly strongly about doing so, and you may be wondering what you must prove in such a case.

Unlike many other states, New Jersey does not have a “one-bite law.” A one-bite law means that a dog who bites someone must have a history of violence or aggression in order for you to hold the owner accountable for the bite. Instead, New Jersey is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bites. What does that mean?

Defining “strict liability”

New Jersey’s strict liability dog-bite law dictates that it is the fault of the dog owner if a dog bites you in a public setting, or if the dog bites you when you are in a private area, but have permission to be there. This holds true regardless of whether the dog in question has any history of biting or otherwise behaving aggressively.

Proving negligence not necessary

New Jersey’s dog-bite laws also dictate that the owner is liable for injuries caused by a bite even if the owner made efforts to control or restrain the dog. Thus, you do not need to prove that the owner was negligent or careless – you just need to prove that the dog bit you when you were somewhere you had a right to be.