One of the most upsetting things that a dog owner can experience is the accusation that their dog has bitten someone. This is difficult for many reasons, as you not only have to worry about the well-being of your dog but also the possible legal repercussions that could come as a result of the incident. While some dog bites are severe and result in serious injuries, others are much less serious and may only cause a small puncture wound. Regardless of the severity of the bite, it is important to consult with an experienced dog bite attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and ensure that your rights are protected.
Proudly Serving New Jersey With Dog Bite Lawsuit Defense Services
At The Animal Law Firm, we understand the unique challenges that our clients face when an accusation of their dog biting someone is leveled. We are proud to offer comprehensive animal law services to dog owners throughout New Jersey who have been accused of a dog bite. Whether you live in Newark, Trenton, Paterson, Elizabeth, Jersey City, or elsewhere in the state, we have the capacity and resources to provide the same level of high-quality legal representation. We treat each case as if it were our own dog being accused, and that will be evident in the personalized attention and zealous advocacy that we provide throughout the duration of your case. If you’re looking for an attorney who will fight for you and your dog against the alleged dog bite victim, look no further than The Animal Law Firm.
Why Would Someone Believe My Dog Bit Them If It Didn’t?
There are a number of reasons someone might make a false accusation of a dog bite that ends up being proven to be false. Some of these cases that have come up in the past include:
- Another animal actually bit the person, but they want to make a claim against your dog because you have insurance, or they think you have more money than the owner of the animal that actually bit them.
- The person was injured in another way, but they want to claim it was your dog because they think that you’re more likely to have insurance than the person or business that is actually responsible for their injuries.
- Your dog accidentally injured the person, but they want to make a claim against you because they think that you were negligent in supervising your dog.
- Your dog injured the person, but the person is making a false claim to extort money from you by claiming the injury was more severe than it really was.
Any of these scenarios could lead to a false accusation against you and your dog and must be examined carefully to determine the best legal defense strategy.
What Evidence Can Be Used to Defend Against a Dog Bite Claim?
Many different types of evidence can be used to defend against a dog bite claim; the ones that are used will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Some of the evidence that might be used in your defense includes:
- Character witnesses: These are people who know you and your dog and can attest to the fact that your dog is not aggressive or has never shown any type of aggression in the past. In the same category, if the person whom your dog allegedly bit has a history of making false claims or exaggerating their injuries, questions about the individual’s character could be brought up by the courts.
- Documentation of training and vaccination records: If your dog has received obedience training or behavior modification, this could be used as evidence that the dog is not aggressive. In addition, if your dog is up to date on its vaccinations, this could be used as evidence that the dog does not have rabies or any other condition that the person who was bitten might claim to have contracted from the dog.
- Video footage: If there is video footage of the incident, this could be a highly effective form of evidence to use in your defense. If the footage shows that the person whom your dog allegedly bit was actually the aggressor or was trespassing on your property, this could prove that the dog was acting in self-defense or that the chain of events that led to the person being bitten does not match the person’s account of what happened.
- Live testimony: In some cases, it might be beneficial to have the person who was allegedly bitten by your dog testify in court. This could be done to question the person’s account of what happened and to impeach their credibility if there are inconsistencies in their story.
- Witness testimony: In addition to the testimony of the person whom your dog allegedly bit, there might be other witnesses who saw what happened and can provide their account of the incident. This could be done to corroborate the story that is being told by the person who was allegedly bitten or to point out inconsistencies in their story.
- Medical records: In some cases, it might be beneficial to obtain the medical records of the person whom your dog allegedly bit. This could be done to disprove the severity of the person’s dog bite injuries or to show that a dog bite did not cause the injuries. Your lawyer will be able to subpoena these records from the person’s medical provider if necessary.
- Police reports: If the police were called to the scene of the incident, their report could be used as evidence in your defense. This report could provide information about what the officers observed at the scene and what the person whom your dog allegedly bit told the officers about what happened.
The types of evidence that will be most effective in your case will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of what happened. An experienced dog bite defense attorney will be able to review the evidence in your case and determine which types of evidence will be most effective in defending against the claim.
What Are Some Possible Defenses in a Dog Bite Claim?
The following are some possible defenses that could be used to defend against a dog bite claim:
- Lack of evidence: If there is no evidence to support the claim that the dog actually bit the person or that the dog caused the person’s injuries, then the claim will likely be dismissed. No court can find in favor of the person who was allegedly bitten by the dog if there is no evidence to support a dog attack.
- Self-defense: If the person whom the dog allegedly bit was actually the aggressor or was trespassing on the property, then it may be possible to claim that the dog acted in self-defense. For the self-defense claim to be successful, there must be evidence to support the claim that the person was actually being aggressive or that they were trespassing.
- Defense of others: If the dog was acting to protect another person from being harmed, then this could be used as a defense to the claim. For the defense-of-others claim to be successful, there must be evidence to support the claim that the person whom the dog allegedly bit was actually being aggressive or that they were a threat to the safety of others.
- Mistaken identity: In some cases, the injured person may mistakenly identify the wrong dog as the one that bit them. This has been seen in scenarios where there were many dogs at the scene of the incident or where the person who was allegedly bitten by the dog did not get a good look at the dog. If there is evidence to support the claim that the person was mistaken about which dog bit them, then this could be used as a defense against the claim.
These are just some of the possible defenses that could be used to defend against a dog bite claim. Only dog bite attorneys who are experienced in handling these types of cases will be able to determine which defenses will be most effective in your particular case in New Jersey.
Tips for Avoiding Dog Bite Injuries Claims
The following are some tips that can help you avoid dog bite claims:
- Keep your dog under control: One of the best ways to avoid dog bite claims is to make sure that your dog is always under control. This means keeping your dog on a leash when in public and making sure that they do not have access to areas where they could encounter other people.
- Socialize your dog: Dogs that are not properly socialized are more likely to bite than dogs that are. This is because dogs that are not used to being around people may see them as a threat and feel the need to protect themselves. It is important to socialize your dog from a young age so that it is used to being around people and does not see them as a threat.
- Train your dog: Dogs that have been properly trained are less likely to bite than dogs that have not been trained. This is because trained dogs know how to behave around people and are less likely to see them as a threat. It is important to train your dog from a young age so that it knows how to behave around people.
- Be aware of your dog’s body language: Dogs communicate with their body language, and it is important to be able to read your dog’s body language so that you can tell when it is feeling threatened or uncomfortable. If you see that your dog is starting to feel uncomfortable, remove it from the situation so that it does not feel the need to bite.
Dog Bite Attorneys FAQs
Q: What happens if my dog bites someone in New Jersey?
A: The consequences of a dog bite will depend on the severity of the injuries that were inflicted and whether or not the person who was bitten was at fault. If the person who was bitten was not at fault, then the dog’s owner may be liable for the injuries that were inflicted, and this can range from payment of medical expenses to punitive damages. If the person who was bitten was at fault, then the dog’s owner may not be liable for the injuries that were inflicted.
Q: Does NJ have a one bite rule?
A: No, New Jersey does not have a one bite rule. This is a rule that states that a dog’s owner is only liable for the injuries that were inflicted if the dog had previously bitten someone. However, this rule does not exist in New Jersey, and a dog’s owner can be held liable for the injuries that were inflicted even if the dog had never bitten anyone before. This further reinforces the importance of taking precautions to prevent your dog from biting someone in the first place.
Q: What proof do you need for a dog bite?
A: In order to prove that a dog bite occurred, there must be evidence that the person who was allegedly bitten by the dog actually sustained injuries. This can be in the form of medical records or photographs of the injuries that were sustained. Additionally, witnesses can also provide testimony as to what they saw happen, and this can be used to corroborate the victim’s account.
Q: Do dog bites have to be reported in NJ?
A: Yes, dog bites must be reported in New Jersey. This is because dog bites are considered to be a public health hazard, and the information that is gathered from reports of dog bites can be used to help prevent future dog bites from occurring. Dog bite reports can be made to the local police department, animal control, or the New Jersey Department of Health.
If you are being accused of animal bites from your dog, it is important to contact an experienced dog bite case attorney who can help you protect your rights. At The Animal Law Firm, our dog bite liability attorneys have the knowledge and experience to defend your legal rights and pursue justice for your dog. Contact us today.