Hackensack Dog Bites: The Basics

A dog bite can cause serious, painful injuries that leave lasting scars. We all love Spot, but sometimes Spot can bite. Dog bites are a common and serious problem in America. Young children and the elderly are particularly at risk. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite in Hackensack, you probably have numerous questions.

Hackensack dog owners are responsible for keeping their animals under control. In most cases, if a dog attacks another person, no matter if you're walking down Main Street or in someone's home, the owner is legally responsible for that attack.

Let FindLaw throw you a bone, so to speak. Here the basic lowdown on dog bites in Hackensack.

New Jersey Dog Bite Laws

New Jersey's dog bite laws places strict liability on dog owners for injuries caused by their animals -- even if the dog doesn't have a history of violent behavior. New Jersey is among the majority of U.S. states that makes a dog owner legally liable for all of the damages inflicted upon a dog bite victim, even if the dog has never previously exhibited the propensity to bite.

Can I Also Sue the Landlord for a New Jersey Dog Bite?

Maybe. If you were bitten at someone's house, you might be able to hold the landlord liable also. To hold a landlord liable a jury must determine that the dog had a vicious or dangerous trait or propensity and that the defendant, landlord, or property owner, knew, or in the process of reasonable care, should have known of the particular vicious or dangerous trait or propensity in the dog which caused the plaintiff's injuries. Here are some ways you can prove vicious, dangerous trait, or propensity in a dog:

  • Animal control records;
  • Police report records;
  • Veterinarian records;
  • Neighbors' statements;
  • Admissions of the dog owner;
  • Prior victim statements;
  • Other visitors to the property;
  • Hire a private investigator.

One-Bite Rule: Not in New Jersey

In many states dog owners will only be held accountable for a dog-bite if it the pooch has previously bitten someone. This is known as the "one bite" rule. New Jersey is not one of those states. So, as Tony Soprano or Mickey Blue eyes would say, "fuggedabout."

Report the Attack

Report the bite to the city of Hackensack right away. Tell the animal control official everything you know about the dog, including the owner's name and the address if you know it. If the dog is a stray, tell the animal control official what the dog looks like, where you saw it, whether you've seen the animal before, and in which direction the dog went.

Gather Evidence

If you are considering a lawsuit, you may want to consider talking to an experienced attorney. Some things to gather before speaking to an attorney are all the records regarding your attack, including animal control records, medical records, police reports, and any other records/reports regarding what happened. Also, take pictures of any injuries. It is easier to show a picture of an injury than to describe it verbally.

Recovering Damages for Your Injuries

Dog bite victims can recover damages for their injuries, but they'll have to file a lawsuit and prove:

  • The defendant owned the dog;
  • That dog bite another person;
  • When the bite occurred, the victim was in a public place (such as a sidewalk or park) or legally on private property (such as the owner's home).

Note that the dog's owner may not be liable for a dog bite that occurs for trespassers with criminal intent. Also, victims whose own actions contributed to the attack may be found liable or partially liable.

If you have suffered a dog bite in Hackensack, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries, emotional distress, lost wages and hospital and medical costs. An experienced local attorney may be able to provide you more information and answer questions specific to your circumstances.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.