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Can You Sue for a Pit Bull Attack in New Jersey?

April 11, 2020

If you have been attacked by a pit bull in NJ, you may have a good lawsuit on your hands. This can compensate you for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While the amount of damages will vary depending on the facts of your case, liability is usually easy to establish. You have a short time to file such a s lawsuit. You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away.

There is great debate on whether or not certain dog breeds are inherently ferocious. This debate often ends with dog owners, animal behaviorists, and observes agreeing to disagree. Over the years, research into lethal interactions between canines and humans have proven intensely contentious, given the innumerable circumstances behind different attacks.

Despite the controversies, one fact remains constant – no dog is in the headlines as much as the pit bull. Many reports indicate that pit-bull-style dogs typically account for more than half of all fatal attacks on humans. Upon analyzing dog bite statistics from different credible sources, vHomeInsurance found out that pit bulls were involved in 284 fatal attacks in the period of 2005 to 2017, accounting for 66 percent of all fatal attacks from dogs.

What Makes Pit Bulls Dangerous?

Some dog breeds are inherently dangerous. Pit bulls have gained their dreadful reputation because of the fact that when they unleash an attack, they can be literal killing machines. The pit bulls’ descend from dog-fighting ancestry. They are a very muscular breed. Pit bulls also have the strongest jaw strengths. These are the reasons why many people believe that they pose a risk. Other traits that may contribute to pit bulls’ aggressiveness include:

  • Pit bulls are known to be a strong-willed, no-nonsense breed that does not take kindly to being challenged either by other assertive dogs or by humans.
  • Although there are exceptions, bully breeds tend to mature early and exhibit controlling behaviors from a very tender age. As they grow, play can become rough, with adult dogs becoming more reactive and less tolerant.
  • Pit bulls have a lot of enthusiasm that can offend other dog breeds or scare people. Jumping, body slamming, and at times grabbing a piece of clothing or an arm is an exuberant way of greeting, which is often perceived or interpreted as threatening.
  • They have a strong-willed mind of their own. This requires a confident, responsible owner who can take charge. This also requires adequate training and supervision. Unfortunately, not all pit bull owners meet these obligations.

There is always the risk that dormant instincts may suddenly flare into deadly combat. Pit bulls should therefore be raised by responsible owners who must be held accountable for their dogs’ behavior. In the right hands, most pit bull-type dogs are not dangerous dogs. In fact, most of them are affectionate companions that make for good family dogs. With a clueless or reckless owner, however, a pit bull can become an out-of-control liability that may end up hurting someone.

Types of Injuries Commonly Encountered When Pit bulls Attack

Large, muscular breeds like pit bulls can do extreme harm when they attack. Although there is little data on specific statistics on pit bull injuries, it can be assumed that the most common injuries resulting from dog attacks are also common with pit bull attacks. The most common types of injuries include:

  • Skin lacerations
  • Tearing of muscles and tendons
  • Fractured bones
  • Nerve damage
  • Severe scarring

In most cases, victims sustain severe scars that serve as a permanent reminder of the attack for the rest of their lives.

Can You File A Lawsuit If You Have Been Attacked by A Pit Bull?

Then answer to this question is YES. According to the law in most states, dog owners are strictly liable for the injuries that result when their dog bites someone. In New Jersey, for instance, the dog bite statute stipulates that a dog owner is accountable for the damage their dog inflicts, even if the dog had not previously shown aggressive behavior or viciousness.

If you are a victim of a pit bull attack, you file a lawsuit against the dog owner. To establish liability, you will be required to prove the following:

  1. That the defendant (dog owner) is the rightful owner of the pit bull,
  2. That you were in a public place at the time of the attack,
  3. That you were legitimately in a private place, for instance, if the attack happened in the dog owner’s property,

As long as you were not trespassing on the dog owner’s private property, or didn’t provoke or instigate the dog’s aggression, then the dog’s owner can be held liable. This liability applies even if the pit bull ended up biting someone entrusted to its care, such as a dog walker or a pet sitter. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations on a claim involving a pit bull bite is two years.

While the New Jersey dog bite statute enforces strict legal responsibility on dog owners, there is an exception for victims that provoke the dog’s aggressive behavior. If the attack happened when trespassing on private property or after physically assaulting a pit bull, then you cannot sue the dog’s owner as the dog was merely acting in self-defense.

Steps to Take After a Pit Bull Attack

As a dog-bite victim, there are several steps that you should take to preserve your rights to sue and to ensure that the dog owner is held accountable. Here are the steps to take:

·         Contact the police

The first step is to call the police or the local agency responsible for animal control right away so that they can conduct proper investigations to discover who the dog owner is and whether the dog is properly vaccinated.  Contacting the authorities right away also helps to guarantee that the contact information of potential witnesses is gathered immediately.

·         Seek medical attention

Even if the dog-bite wounds don’t appear severe, an infection could develop and cause more serious problems. Therefore, it’s essential to seek medical attention right away. In addition to offering the right treatment, medical professionals can also properly document the wounds and provide reports that can help you with your case.

·         Contact a personal injury attorney

If you wish to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner, you should take immediate steps to protect your rights by contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer in New Jersey to ensure that you seek fair compensation for your injuries. A personal injury attorney will know the laws relating to pit bull dog bites, and the lawyer can help you prove that the dog owner is accountable for your injuries.

Contact the Law Offices of Antony J.  Vecchio LLC

At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio LLC, we have fought for many victims of dog attacks, including those that are caused by pit bulls. We are conversant with the serious impact an attack like this can have on you and your family. As such, your New Jersey personal injury lawyer will always put you first and work hard to prove the dog owner’s liability and get you the compensation that you deserve.

Contact us or call us at (800) 418-8578 today to schedule your free, 100% confidential consultation with New Jersey’s most competent pit bull bite lawyers.

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