Monetary Compensation

Dog Bite Website - Slide 2

A dog bite injury is painful, and in many cases leaves a permanent scar. How much money you will get from an attack depends upon a number of different factors, but often is limited to the available homeowner’s insurance policy.

While some people will receive hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, others will receive next to nothing, even if the injuries are nearly identical. Since the amount you will receive largely depends upon the insurance policy involved, it is impossible to determine how much you will receive until an investigation has been launched.

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Strict Liability

New Jersey does follow the “one bite rule” like some other states when it comes to canine attacks and will allow an individual to seek money for his or her injuries even if the animal was a docile pet up until the attack. The owner is held liable for the injuries incurred if the dog bites you, as long as you were not purposely trying to injure the dog or provoke it.

Dog owners in New Jersey are unable to plead ignorance when their pet attacks an adult or child. In other words, they cannot formulate a defense based on them not knowing that the animal had an aggressive tendency or was capable of attacking a human. Regardless of whether the owner was acting responsibly, such as using a leash or other restraint, he or she is still liable for the bite.

Determining Compensation

It is impossible to predict with any certainty the exact amount of money that will be awarded in a dog bite case, but there are certain factors that will influence the final decision. In general, a dog attack victim would be entitled to be compensated for (1) their pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, (2) all of the medical expenses associated with the incident, starting with the initial medical treatment, and any required after care, and (3) compensation for any loss of income that is a result of the attack.

What Makes a Case Worth More?

Physical disfigurement and scarring will increase the amount of pain and suffering that the jury will assign and the amount insurance company value the case. Even the location of a scar could make a difference with one on the face considered to be more emotionally traumatizing than a permanent scar on the leg or other non-visible body part.

The age of the victim could also be factored in to how much money you will get, especially in cases involving children, who may be plagued for years with the emotional scarring that is often associated with a vicious attack.

The need for on-going and future medical care will also be taken into consideration when calculating the amount of an award. The costs of plastic surgery to reduce or remove scars can also be included in a jury award or settlement.

What Makes a Case Worth Less?

While New Jersey holds the dog owner at full responsibility for the actions of his or her pet, it could hurt a victim’s case if it is shown that the dog was being provoked in any way. Also, if the dog’s owner does not own a home, there is little chance that they will have an insurance company available to compensate injuries.


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