New Jersey Dog Bite Injury Lawyers
New York, New Jersey Dog Bite Attorneys
Experienced personal injury trial attorneys helping injured New York and New Jersey families for over a decade.
Pit Bull Attack • Animal Attacks • Compensation for Scarring and Disfigurement
In densely populated areas such as New York City and Northern New Jersey, the offending animal in an animal attack case is typically a dog such as a pit bull, Rottweiler, or a Doberman pinscher. Any breed of dog, however, may bite a child, a stranger or even a family member for many reasons, even in the absence of any provocation or taunting by the dog bite victim.
Often, the landlord or owner of a dog that has bitten an individual carries homeowner's insurance or liability insurance which will pay for medical bills, and compensate a dog bite victim for scarring, disfigurement and pain and suffering as a result of a dog bite. The laws in New York and New Jersey differ greatly and a thorough understanding of the laws applicable to dog bites and dog attacks is necessary in order to effectively represent the victim of a dog bite or attack.
If you have suffered a dog bite, Albert Buzzetti & Associates is ready to help you recover full and fair money damages for your injury and losses.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey and the New York City metro region. We handle all cases on a contingency basis. You won't pay attorney fees unless we help you recover money.
New York and New Jersey Dog Bite Law
In New York, it is generally thought that every dog gets one free bite. This is not the case, although it is required under New York law that the victim of a dog bite attack show that the owner or keeper (landlord) where a person was bitten by a dog, knew or should have known of the dog's dangerous propensities/behavior. Liability for a dog bite can be proved by one or more of the following methods:
- Evidence of a prior dog bite is the strongest evidence establishing prior notice and fault on the part of a dog owner or landlord.
- Aggressive behavior on the part of a dog such as barking, lunging, growling or attempting may be used to establish that a dog is dangerous and that the owner or the landlord was aware of the dog's dangerous propensities and should be responsible for a dog attack. Rogers v. Travis, 229 AD2d 879 (1996). The mail carrier, UPS or Federal Express delivery persons, and neighbors are very often aware of the behavior of a dog and should be interviewed.
- "Beware of Dog" signs posted at the homeowner's home can be used as evidence that the dog owner/landlord knew or should have known that a dog was dangerous. Altman v. Emigrant Savings Bank, 249 AD2d 67 (1988).
- Dog Breed. The breed of the dog may not be used to conclusively establish that a dog owner knew or should have know that a dog was dangerous. Even in cases where a pit bull or Doberman pinscher has bitten a young child without provocation, mere evidence of the breed of the dog is not enough to establish liability on the part of the dog owner and/or landlord. Sorel v. Iacobucci, 221 AD2d 852 (1995).
- Nature and Severity of Attack. The jury may consider the nature and severity of the attack on the dog bite victim may be used to establish the dog's dangerous propensities and the owner's liability. Lynch v. Nacewicz, 511 NYS2d 121 (1987); and Di Grazia v. Castronova, 48 AD2d 249 (1975).
- Leash Laws. Violation of a leash law may be used to establish fault on the part of a dog owner.
- Past Restraint. The fact that the owner of the dog restrained the dog in the past. Collier v. Zambito, 1 NY3d 444 (2004).
- Dog Bites/Attacks on Children. Assumption of risk is not applicable to a child under four as a child is unable to be held responsible for his/her actions. Smith v. Sapienza, 115 AD2d 723 (1985). For children of four years or older, the jury must be instructed as to contributory negligence as the standard that the child is held to is that of a reasonably prudent child of the same age, experience and intelligence. Morales v. Quinones, 72 AD2d 519 (1979).
- The nature of the attack and severity of injuries from an attack by a dog may be used to prove the dog's dangerous propensities.
- Even if the injury is the first caused by the dog does not preclude a finding of liability against the owner or keeper. Collier v. Zambito, 1 NY3d 444 (2004). At Albert Buzzetti and Associates, our attorneys aggressively pursue the rights of dog bite victims thought New York City (the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island) as well dog bite victims in the suburbs of New York City. The attorneys at Albert Buzzetti and Associates, LLC promote safety and general public awareness of the dangers of failing to protect victims from dogs with dangerous propensities by aggressively litigating dog bite cases and obtaining fair and reasonable compensation for pain and suffering and medical bills.
New Jersey Dog Bite Law
N.J.S.A. 4:19-16 governs liability of an owner and generally provides that the owner is liable for a dog bite so long as the person bitten or attacked was lawfully on private property when bitten or in a public place. Liability of the dog owner is found regardless of the viciousness or lack of viciousness of the dog. N.J.S.A. 4:19-16 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."
The Legislature in adopting "dog bite" statute contemplated that all dogs, even though ordinarily harmless, have a potential for biting, and that owner should as the social price of keeping them compensate those innocently sustaining injury in that fashion. Tanga v. Tanga, 94 N.J.Super. 5, 226 A.2d 723 (App.Div.1967). The enactment of the dog bite statute did not affect continued viability of common-law cause of action against dog owner, in either negligence or strict liability, when dog injures party other than by biting him. Kurash v. Layton, 251 N.J.Super. 412, 598 A.2d 535 (Law Div.1991). Common-law cause of action still exists where a person has been injured, but not bitten, by a dog.
Ordinarily a landlord is not responsible for injuries caused by its tenant's dog, but a landlord owes a duty to his tenant or his tenant's invitees to prevent injury from his tenant's dog if he is aware of the presence of the animal on his property and is also aware of its vicious propensities. Hyun Na Seo v. Yozgadlian, 320 N.J.Super. 68, 726 A.2d 972 (A.D.1999).
Dog bites very frequently result in scarring, nerve damage, and disfigurement which necessitate plastic surgery and forever change the lives of dog bite victims. Dog bites can happen anywhere regardless of whether the area is densely populated areas such as Hudson County, Paterson, Newark and Northern New Jersey in general At Albert Buzzetti and Associates, LLC, our attorneys aggressively fight for the rights of dog bite victims to compensation for pain and suffering due to scarring, nerve damage and disfigurement as well as for reimbursement for medical bills.
Contact Albert Buzzetti & Associates to learn more.
Prevention and Treatment of Infection, Scarring
It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after a dog bite a victim. A physician will prevent, diagnose, or treat any infection that may result. A thorough medical examination and photographs will document injuries caused by the dog bite. Medical personnel may recommend plastic surgery to prevent or correct scarring or disfigurement after a dog bite.
You may hesitate to "sue" a neighbor, friend, or relative if you or a family member has been bitten by a dog. However, it is important to know that a pet owners' homeowners' insurance policies usually cover costs that victims face, including:
- Medical treatment
- Wage replacement when time is lost from work as a result of the dog bite
- Plastic surgery in the case of disfigurement or amputation caused by a pit bull mauling or other vicious dog bite or attack
- Psychological counseling
- Pain and suffering of a child or adult who may experience lasting fears or trauma
Insurance Coverage and Lawful Presence of Dog Bite Victims
Insurance coverage usually applies to people who were lawfully present on a dog owner's property, including mail carriers, delivery people, or invited guests. An experienced New York and New Jersey dog bite accident attorney is well qualified to advise you of laws that apply in other circumstances, as well.
Free Consultations and Case Evaluations
Perhaps your child was trespassing when the attack occurred. The lawyers at the law offices of Albert Buzzetti & Associates welcome your inquiry and are eager to evaluate your case in a free initial consultation.
Contact Albert Buzzetti & Associates to schedule a consultation with an experienced New York or New Jersey dog bite injury attorney.