Dog Bites/Animal Attacks

Dog Bite Lawyers

Dogs are known as faithful companions. But as with any animal, they can be unpredictable and even aggressive at times. Dogs that respond aggressively to others can cause serious and disabling injuries that may end up costing you thousands of dollars in medical bills as well as trauma and other issues.

If you have suffered a dog bite, you may be able to get compensation for your harm by turning to dog bite lawyers in New Jersey. At Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq, we take pride in helping our clients effectively navigate personal injury claims. We fight aggressively for the justice and compensation dog bite victims deserve.

Here is what you need to know about claims involving dog bites in New Jersey.

How Often Do Dog Bites Occur?

In the United States, there are about 89.7 million dogs. More than 4.5 million people in the country receive dog bites each year, and more than 800,000 receive medical attention because of those bites. Children are the demographic most likely to get bitten, but adults also suffer these kinds of injuries.

Although it may seem like a cliche, mail delivery people are often victims of dog aggression. Over 5,300 of them suffer injuries because of dogs each year.

What Happens When a Dog Bites Someone?

If a dog has bitten you in New Jersey, the first thing you need to do is call 911 and report the incident. The police will then usually contact local animal control, who will then take the dog into custody. This does not mean the dog will be euthanized, only that it will receive a variety of tests to rule out diseases.

When an animal control service takes the dog, there is a public record of the attack, and the investigation into what occurred can begin. Under New Jersey law, the dog’s owner will be held liable even if the dog has never shown signs of aggression or bitten anyone before. This is different from the majority of states.

This strict liability law does not require that you prove the owner did anything wrong or acted with negligence. You only have to prove:

  • You did not provoke the dog
  • The dog bit or attacked you in another way
  • The attack occurred in a location where you were legally allowed to be

A dog bite can cause severe injuries, which is why you need to get medical help as soon as possible. Even if the bite is not deep, you will likely need to receive antibiotics and may need to get rabies vaccines. Additionally, if you are planning to file a claim, having a medical record of the injuries is crucial.

The next step should always be to turn to dog bite lawyers who are well-versed in New Jersey’s strict liability laws. This allows you to receive the kind of guidance you need to get compensation for the harm you have suffered.

What Are Common Dog Bite Injuries?

Dog bites can result in a range of injuries, from mild abrasions and bruises to long-term disabilities and permanent disfigurement.

Some wounds do not reach past the top layer of skin, while others can lead to significant blood loss. In severe bites, scarring is a possibility.

Lacerations are deeper wounds that cut through the epidermis and can penetrate muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and even bones. Lacerations usually have zig-zag patterns and bleed profusely. In many instances, they require stitches.

Punctures are also common with dog bites. These tend to be smaller than lacerations but deeper, which makes the development of an infection more likely to occur.

Bacterial infections are a frequent worry with dog bites. Because of how deep dog bites can be, bacteria are almost “injected” into the tissue at the site. You can even experience sepsis, which happens when your body responds too aggressively to an infection. Sepsis can affect organs and cause systemic issues.

Bone fractures are another concern with dog bites. If they occur in the face or hands, they may be difficult to treat and even tougher to recover from.

Fractures often result in impaired functionality and altered appearance. The small bones in the face are many times destroyed beyond repair, requiring extensive surgical procedures.

Torn ligaments are also possible when dealing with dog bites. Ligaments are easy to tear and crush. Blood supply to these areas is not always robust, so the development of infections is more likely.

Nerve damage can lead to permanent pain and loss of muscle function. It can even lead to disability, depending on where the bite occurs.

Another type of injury that is common with dog bites is avulsion. Avulsion refers to having a chunk of tissue torn from your body. It includes all three layers of skin. An avulsion is more severe than a laceration but does not involve a full amputation. Scarring and infections are likely to occur with avulsions.

Extremities like hands and feet are often at risk of getting mangled. A deep and serious injury to your fingers or toes can result in needing to amputate them, which can greatly impact your quality of life.

Eye injuries can also happen with dog bites. If a dog bites your face and affects an eye, you can suffer a reduction in sight, or you may lose eyesight in that eye completely. You may experience dislocation of the lens, orbital fractures, or other problems.

Dog bites can cause traumatic brain injuries as well. Although these often do not result from the bite itself, they can occur if you try to evade the dog and fall or if the force of the dog’s strike knocks you down.

Traumatic brain injuries include injuries like concussions, as well as more severe damage that can lead to cognitive issues.

Although they may not leave physical signs, emotional injuries are very common with dog injuries. You can develop PTSD, anxiety, depression, and phobias related to dogs, all of which severely impact your quality of life. The attack itself may cause these issues, or they can develop during the treatment of the injuries.

No matter what type of injuries you suffer, New Jersey law allows victims to seek compensation for their medical bills. Let Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq review your case to learn more about your options.

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Dog Bites Statistics

Almost one in five people who experience a dog bite require medical treatment. Although all dogs have the potential to bite, one of the breeds that is most likely to be aggressive is pit bulls. They are involved in the majority of fatal dog attacks each year, causing about 28% of them.

Unneutered male dogs are also more likely to bite people than neutered ones. They are responsible for between 70% and 76% of all dog bites. Men are more likely to be bitten, with 52.6% of dog attacks involving them, as opposed to 47.4% involving women and girls. Men also make up 54.3% of fatal dog attacks.

Chained or tethered dogs are also 2.8 times more likely to bite.

Should You Sue After a Dog Bite?

Experiencing a dog bite can be so traumatic that you may be thinking about forgetting the experience and moving on. But it is important to know that you have rights if you have suffered an injury.

The necessity of suing after a dog bite can depend on many factors, including whether:

  • You suffered significant injuries
  • The attack led you to miss work
  • You have medical bills because of the attack
  • The attack caused emotional and psychological distress

In New Jersey, you do not have to worry about proving the owner was negligent. You do, however, have to prove that you did not provoke the dog, including teasing or abusing it. Children may be exempt from this, depending on their age.

Complexities to Consider

If you trespassed on the property, you also most likely do not have the right to sue. This does not include mail people or other service workers who have the right to be on the property, even if the owner did not specifically invite them. A child is also not labeled a trespasser.

Sometimes, being legally on the property relies on implied invitation, which can be difficult to prove. These kinds of cases usually require a court trial.

If the bite involves someone who was in the process of committing a crime on the property, suing is usually also not a possibility.

Something to remember about New Jersey’s strict liability law is that ownership can sometimes be tough to determine. Landlords, for example, are not always considered owners. Co-inhabitants can both be owners of a dog, which means that they are both liable.

In New Jersey, you have to file a dog bite claim within two years of the incident. A dog bite lawyer can ensure you do not miss any of these deadlines.

How Much Money Can You Get From a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

How much compensation you can receive from a dog bite lawsuit depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the injuries you received. As with other personal injury claims, you have the chance to get compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

The economic damages you may be entitled to cover calculable expenses like medical bills. The injuries that result from a dog bite can range in severity, but many of them can be serious enough to send you to the hospital. You should not have to face financial hardship paying these bills when you are not at fault.

The coverage of medical bills can also include home care, physical therapy, equipment, cognitive therapy, and more. If you have to receive counseling, you may also be able to get coverage for it.

Lost wages are a concern when you suffer an injury because of a dog bite as well. If you had to go to the hospital or receive physical therapy, you may have missed days of work. This adds up to missed income. A personal injury claim can offer compensation for this, even if you were granted paid time off because of the injury.

Future wages can also be considered. If you have a disability because of the attack and are no longer able to work at your job, you are losing all of those wages, too.

Property damage is another potential claim you can make as part of your economic losses. If the attack resulted in damage to clothing, electronics, or more, you could seek compensation for these losses.

Non-Economic Damages

There are also non-economic damages you can claim after a dog bite. These kinds of attacks can leave you with pain and suffering, impacting your quality of life.

If you received an injury that causes long-term pain or one that results in disfigurement, you may be able to obtain compensation to cover how this affects you now and in the future.

Each case is unique. The team at Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq will consider all of the factors in your case and recommend the right course of action going forward.

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Dog Bite?

The process of filing a personal injury case is complex. It requires having someone on your side who is experienced and well-versed in New Jersey’s strict liability law.

Proving Your Case

To be able to claim damages, you have to prove you were on the property legally and that you did not provoke the dog into an attack. In some cases, which can be difficult to do, especially if there are no other witnesses.

Dealing With Insurance Companies

Dog bite lawyers know the process and can tackle the many challenges it may bring, including negotiating with insurance companies. Many times, insurance companies use threatening tactics to get you to drop the claim or may even offer a very low settlement price.

You may not realize what your rights are and may not pursue the claim because of the threats the insurance company makes. With a lawyer helping you, this is never an issue.

Insurance companies can also make low-ball settlement offers that can tempt you to accept and be done with the process before receiving a fair offer. A personal injury lawyer can advise you of any tactics like this and guide you to your next steps.

Collecting Evidence

You may not know what kind of evidence you need to prove a dog bite. The sooner you turn to a dog bite lawyer after the bite, the better your chances are of getting compensation because they can help you gather the right evidence. They can also reach out to witnesses for you and address any other concerns.

Securing Expert Witnesses

If you need expert witnesses to help you with reconstructing the attack or providing any kind of additional evidence, personal injury lawyers know who to turn to. This includes the use of personal investigators.

You do not have to shoulder medical bills, lost wages, and any other types of losses you have suffered because of a dog bite. With the right representation, you have the best chance of getting the compensation you deserve.

Why Hire GGL?

Living through a dog attack of any kind can be traumatic. If you received a dog bite in the state of New Jersey, the skilled team at Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq can help. We can navigate the intricacies of personal injury claims on your behalf, and we never offer cookie-cutter representation.

We prepare each case for trial with a no-nonsense approach to getting you the compensation you need to cover medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more. With over 30 years of experience, our team knows how to address the various challenges that personal injury cases pose.

It is crucial you know that we only get paid if you do. This means that getting the help you deserve does not have to put a financial strain on your life. We offer free consultations to all of our potential clients, and if we do not win your case, you pay no fee.

The personal injury claim process can be a long one, and we know how frustrating it can be for our clients. That is why we maintain regular communications so that you do not feel forgotten or abandoned. We are always willing to offer updates and answer your questions.

Ready to explore your options after suffering a dog attack? Contact us online or call 1-800-923-3456 to schedule your free consultation with our team today.

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