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New Jersey Dog Bite

Bitten by a Dog in New Jersey

New Jersey provides for strict liability against the owner of a dog when someone in bitten by a dog regardless of the prior propensities of the dog to bite, as long as the statutory requirements are met.  NJSA 4:19-16 (Liability of owner regardless of viciousness of dog) provides as follows:

The owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.

For the purpose of this section, a person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner when he is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner thereof.

Therefore, in order to recover for a dog bite injury in New Jersey, the person injured by the dog bite must show that the defendant was the owner of the dog, that the dog bite the injured person, and the person bite by the dog was in a public place or lawfully on the owner’s property.  When these three elements of the statute are satisfied the owner of the dog that bite the injured party is strictly liable for the injury caused by the dog bite, regardless of the owner’s prior knowledge of the dog’s propensity to bite.

However, in the case of a landlord who is not the owner of the dog that bite someone, the New Jersey courts have ruled that in order to find the landlord responsible for the dog bite, the person who sustained an injury as a result of the dog bite must prove that the landlord knew or should have known of the dog’s vicious propensity to bite.

If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, it is important to speak to a New Jersey dog bite lawyer to investigate your claim and protect your rights.

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