Dog Owner's Responsibilities

Serving clients throughout New Jersey

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Dog ownership is fun and rewarding. There's no denying the love and companionship you get from a beloved family pet.

However, it also comes with responsibilities. Dog owners are expected to maintain control of their pets and ensure that the animal does not harm anyone. And the state of New Jersey takes that responsibility quite seriously.

In this state, dog bite cases are really quite simple: a dog owner must prevent his or her dog from biting another person. The only exceptions to this are if the person is illegally on the individual's property or has provoked the dog in some way.

If you live in New Jersey and you've been the victim of a dog bite, you likely have a case. Please call David J. Cowhey at 609-513-0627 for a free consultation.

Strict Liability

Dog bite cases in New Jersey are handled under the legal principle of strict liability.. But what does this mean, exactly?

Most personal injury cases revolve around the concept of "negligence." In other words, Person A has to prove that Person B behaved in a negligent fashion and that the way in which he behaved caused Person A's injury.

Strict liability is less demanding of plaintiffs. If you've been attacked by a dog belonging to another individual, you do not need to prove malice or negligence. The dog owner is assumed liable for the attack and the resulting injuries.

No matter what precautions the dog owner has taken, strict liability holds him or her responsible for the attack. The owner will not be able to defend themselves by claiming that they did not behave negligently.

Some states qualify strict liability with a known viciousness provision- an owner is not liable if the dog has no known history of biting people. However, New Jersey is not one of those states. The fact that a dog has been placid and well-behaved throughout its life does not mean that an owner is free from liability in a dog bite case.

As noted above, there are two exceptions to New Jersey's strict liability law as it pertains to dog bite attacks. First, strict liability only applies if you were on public land or lawfully on the owner's property at the time of the attack. It does not apply if the dog bite victim was trespassing, for instance.

Second, an owner may not be responsible if the bite victim provoked the dog. As such, provocation defenses are quite popular. Mr. Cowhey has handled hundreds of cases in which insurance companies claimed a dog was provoked, so he understands how to respond to these arguments.

If you're a New Jersey resident and you want to know if you have a dog bite case, please call David J. Cowhey at 609-513-0627 or contact us online for a free consultation.