New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer

Facts About Dogs

If you have ever been near a dog and were afraid for your safety, you are not alone. There are an estimated 76.8 million dogs in the United States. With over 38% of U.S. households owning dogs, dog bites are very common, affecting 4.5 million people each year.[1][2] Many dog bites happen to individuals on the job. If you have been bitten or sustained injury due to a take-down, you will want to retain a dog bite lawyer.

Why do people own dogs? Usually, it is for love and companionship, and/or protection of oneself or one’s property. Guard dogs tend to be larger and more vicious, such as K-9’s, rottweilers, German shepherds, bullmastiffs, and Doberman pinschers.[3]

Dogs can be territorial and inclined to attack an intruder encroaching on their territory. The dog may think you are there to hurt the owner, or itself. For many workers that need to legally cross private property, this can become an issue. Even if you are not on private property, a dog may still chase after you and attack you, however.

Filing a Claim

Depending on whether you were working at the time of injury, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. In that regard, our attorneys at Livingston DiMarzio, LLP can help you get the process started. If your injury occurred because of a third party such as a manufacturer, property owner, or subcontractor, you may be able to file a personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ comp claim. Unlike workers’ comp, you can sue for pain and suffering and other damages.

Strict Liability

New Jersey carries a strict liability law that is useful for those seeking compensation in personal injury. For dog bites, victims do not need to prove malice or negligence, even if the dog has no history of biting people. The dog owner has an assumption of liability for the attack and any sustained injuries.

There are two exceptions to strict liability. The law exclusively applies if you are on public land or lawfully on the dog owner’s property at the time of the attack. If you were trespassing, the law would not apply to you.

Secondly, if the dog bite victim provoked the dog, such as by teasing, abusing, aggravating, or taunting the dog, the owner will most likely not be responsible. There are several types of provocations, including:

Types of Provocations

  • Hitting the dog
  • Trapping the dog in a small place
  • Poking the dog
  • Startling the dog
  • Stepping on its tail
  • Pulling on its tail, ears, legs, or fur

Instigating a dog is almost never a good idea. It can result in injuries, including:

Dog Bite Injuries

  • Abrasions
  • Lacerations
  • Punctures
  • Infections
  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • Crushing injuries
  • Avulsion
  • Scarring
  • Nerve damage

Rabies kills around 59,000 people every year worldwide, almost all from transmission through dogs.[4]

For many workers, they are more susceptible to dog bite attacks There are a handful of careers in which you may encounter dogs, including:

Workers That Encounter Dogs

  • Mailmen
  • Veterinarians
  • Animal shelter workers
  • Animal control workers
  • Package delivery drivers
  • Painters
  • Food delivery workers
  • Garbage collectors
  • Landscapers
  • Meter readers
  • Plumbers
  • Contractors
  • Farmers
  • Ranchers
  • Cable and internet technicians
  • Property inspectors
  • Home healthcare workers
  • Childcare workers and tutors

It is important to remember what to do if you encounter a dog. There are several things you can do to safeguard yourself, including:

Precautions

  • Do not run – Aggressive dogs will most likely outrun you, and it will only make you more of a target. Instead, back away slowly.
  • Place a large item between you and the dog – This could be a backpack, bicycle, jacket, handbag, cane, sweatshirt, stick, or even a shoe.
  • Avoid direct eye contact – Looking an aggressive dog in the eyes could heighten its predatory instincts.
  • Carry pepper spray – Blinding a dog could effectively halt any advances made towards you.
  • Keep some doggy treats with you – Food can distract the dog long enough for you to escape.[5]

Things to Keep in Mind

Choosing to hire a workers’ compensation dog bite lawyer after an attack or take-down is a personal and financial decision you need to make. Many victims of dog bites would probably have not sued on account of their injuries if they knew that the court would order the dog to be removed from their owner or euthanized. You might be doing yourself and others in the community a service, however, by bringing attention to a vicious and aggressive dog. Who knows if the dog who hurt you will attack others as well?

Even if you are an animal lover, you still want to think about yourself. Workers’ compensation covers:

  • Costs of medical treatment
  • Lost wages while you are out of work
  • Ongoing medical care costs, such as physical therapy or surgeries
  • Disability benefits depending on the length of time out of work and the severity of your injuries
  • Death or survivor benefits such as funeral costs if a loved one died because of injury[6]

Who is Most at Risk?

Common careers we think about when referencing dog bites are letter and mail carriers. Those who work for the United Postal Service and FedEx come to mind. Workers delivering packages for Amazon also face this threat. In addition, so do food delivery drivers, which are not always employed. Many work as independent contractors, which could disqualify you from workers’ compensation. These include those working for Instacart, Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates.

Instances of Dog Attacks

There are several types of ways a dog gains access towards a worker on the job. Often the homeowner will open the door to their residence to receive and/or pay for their food and the dog will come through the door to attack the worker. The homeowner may also open the door to say hi to the postal worker or in anticipation of receiving their mail.

Workers may encounter dog walkers that do not leash their dog. In addition, a dog walker walking a leashed dog could lose their grip on the leash if the dog uses enough force trying to chase down the individual.

Other times, dog owners will place their dog outside and tie them with a cable to a tree, fence, or handrail. Depending on the location, the dog may have access to the worker. Aggressive dogs placed behind a fence may still be able to jump over a 4-foot fence to gain access.

Why Choose Us?

Obtaining the necessary financial resources to be able to take care of yourself and your family is important and is something you will want to think about. If you are considering filing a claim without the help of an attorney, remember that insurance companies are not your friends. At Livingston DiMarzio, LLP, we know what tactics insurance adjusters try to use and how to respond.

If you are injured by a dog bite or dog take-down, call us today to schedule a free consultation at (973)-718-3769 to find out if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. You can also fill out a case form and we will contact you. Our workers’ compensation dog bite lawyers have represented dog bite and dog take-down victims for the past 40 years, obtaining comfortable settlements for our clients. If you choose us to represent you, you pay nothing unless you win.

[1] “U.S. Pet Ownership Statistics.” AVMA, American Veterinary Medical Association, www.avma.org/resources-tools/reports-statistics/us-pet-ownership-statistics.

[2] “Dog Bite Prevention.” AVMA, American Veterinary Medical Association, www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/dog-bite-prevention.

[3] Stregowski, Jenna. “10 Best Dog Breeds for Protection.” The Spruce Pets, Dotdash, 19 Mar. 21AD, www.thesprucepets.com/best-dogs-for-protection-4140197.

[4] “Rabies and Your Pet.” AVMA, American Veterinary Medical Association, www.avma.org/resources/public-health/rabies-and-your-pet.

[5] Tukua, Deborah. “What You Should Do If You Encounter an Aggressive Dog, and Other Safety Tips.” Farmers’ Almanac, Almanac Publishing Co., 5 Dec. 2020, www.farmersalmanac.com/what-you-should-do-if-you-encounter-an-aggressive-dog-and-other-dog-safety-tips-22481.

[6] “New Jersey Workers’ Compensation (NJ).” The Hartford, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc, www.thehartford.com/workers-compensation/new-jersey.

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