Who is liable when a dog hurts a human?

Most human interactions with dogs involved wagging tails and pleasant encounters. However, there are dogs who become dangerous and aggressive when interacting with humans. 

Every state has its own laws regarding the liability that people assume when they own an animal. What are the rules that apply after a dog attacks a person and injures them in New Jersey?

New Jersey has a strict liability rule for animal owners

When someone chooses to own an animal, they take on the liability that the animal creates. The owner is ultimately responsible both for meeting the animals and needs and for protecting the public from the animal’s misconduct. 

Under the strict liability statute in New Jersey, a dog’s owner can face insurance claims and civil lawsuits if their dog hurts another person and causes property damage, medical expenses or lost wages. The only time the owner isn’t responsible is if the person the dog bit was engaged in law-breaking or taunted the dog before the attack. Otherwise, it is the responsibility of the animal’s owner to restrain it, train it and alert people to the risk it might pose during an interaction. 

Often, the victims of a vicious animal can bring a claim against the owner’s renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance policy. However, there may not be insurance coverage, especially if the dog is from a breed with a strong correlation with bites and the owner did not tell the insurance company. 

Understanding your rights as the victim of a vicious dog will help you get compensation for the injuries you suffered because of that aggressive animal.