Dog Bite Injuries Nearly Double Over Past 15 Years

For as long as dogs and humans have lived together, there has been the occasional dog bite. But a recent study shows dog bites are actually up in the U.S. over the last 15 years, going from 5,100 in 1993 to nearly double that-9,500 in 2008.

The study, conducted by a division of the federal government's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, puts hard numbers to the problem of dog bites nationwide. The average cost of a hospital stay related to a dog bite was $18,200-about 50 percent higher than the average cost of a hospital stay from other types of injuries. The study also found that nearly 60 percent of all dog bite-related hospitalizations involved surgery. Fortunately, hospitalization from dog bites generally results in a shorter stay than for other injuries, 3.3 days compared to 5.5 days for other average injuries.

Dog Bite Victims Entitled to Compensation in New Jersey

Fortunately for those in New Jersey who have been injured by a dog bite, laws exist to hold the owner accountable. As is the case for most injuries, if an individual's negligence caused the injury (such as a dog owner's failure to secure the dog), that person may be sued for negligence.

But the law holds dog owners to additional responsibilities, as well. If the injured party can demonstrate that the dog owner knew-or should have known-that the dog had a tendency to jump, bite or was otherwise vicious or dangerous, then that dog owner may be absolutely liable for the injuries his or her dog causes, regardless of any negligence on the owner's part.

Moreover, for years New Jersey law has had a "dog bite statute" on the books, which makes dog owners liable for injuries that occur to people in any public place, or on private property (including the property of the dog owner), if the injured person is on that property lawfully. Thus in most circumstances dog bite victims have a legal remedy to deal with the injuries they've suffered.

If you or someone you know has been bitten or otherwise injured by a dog, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney who can help sort out the legal options available to you, and protect your rights to compensation for your injuries.