In New Jersey, the liability of an owner of a dog is one imposed by statute, namely N.J.S.A. 4:19‑16, which in its pertinent parts reads 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/she 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/she is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner thereof.

Therefore, the owner of a dog that bites someone is strictly liable unless they can prove that their dog was simply acting in self-defense.

Can a Dog Bite Victim be Blamed?

IIn a lawsuit where the defendant has raised the negligence of the plaintiff as a defense, the defendant has the burden of proof.  This means that the defendant has the burden to prove plaintiff’s “unreasonable and voluntary exposure to a known risk.”  This means that the plaintiff “knew” the dog had a propensity to bite either because of the dog’s known viciousness or because of the plaintiff’s deliberate acts intended to incite the animal.  For example, one who beats or torments a dog has no call upon the owner if in self-defense the dog bites back.

If you or someone you know was attacked by a dog in New Jersey, you need to take care of your physical health immediately and then consult an attorney as soon as possible. New Jersey laws can limit the amount of time you have to take action, so you need to act quickly. There may be no such thing as a bad dog, but even the best dogs can cause excruciating and traumatic injuries.

Contact a New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer today for a free consultation.