At Buttafuoco & Associates, we know that dogs are man’s best friend, but no matter how friendly he is, any dog can, under the wrong circumstances, become a danger. Dog bites, while often perceived as minor incidents, can result in severe injuries, emotional trauma, and legal complexities. According to a study conducted in the UK, 740 per 100,000 people are bitten by dogs every year.
In this article, we’ll discuss several key aspects of dog bite claims; we’ll cover the common causes, legal implications, and how an attorney can help if you or a loved one has experienced a severe dog bite.
When do dog bites happen? What are the dangers?
We all think our dogs are friendly, but according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a dog bite typically occurs in everyday circumstances with dogs that we’re familiar with. Furthermore, the most common victims of bites are children, nearly half of children experiencing a dog bite incident at some point.
Some of the common injuries our Buttafuoco & Associates Northern New Jersey dog bite lawyers see include:
- Puncture Wounds: Dogs’ teeth can cause deep puncture wounds.
- Lacerations: Sharp teeth can cause cuts or tears in the skin.
- Bruising: Forceful bites may cause bruising around the affected area.
- Fractures: Powerful bites can result in broken bones, especially in children.
- Nerve Damage: Bites may injure nerves, causing pain, numbness, or weakness.
- Infection: Bites carry a risk of infection due to bacteria in the animal’s mouth.
- Scarring: Severe bites may leave permanent scars, affecting appearance and mental well-being.
- Emotional Trauma: Victims may experience anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or a fear of dogs after an attack.
- Rabies Exposure: In rare cases, dog bites can expose victims to rabies, necessitating immediate medical attention.
After a dog bite, it’s essential to wash the wound thoroughly, since bacterial infection is among the most common reasons medical attention is essential. Even if the wound appears minor, a medical professional may still prescribe preventative antibiotics.
Rabies is incredibly frightening, but rare. In New Jersey, there have only been 8 documented rabies cases in dogs since 1989, the most recent being in 2016. That said, consult with your local health officials. Even if the dog appears healthy at the time of the bite, public health experts often recommend keeping the animal under observation for 10 days to see if it develops symptoms.
What does New Jersey law say about dog bites?
Under New Jersey law, damages from dog bites or other injuries fall to the liability of the dog owners, regardless of the animal’s history of viciousness or the circumstances of the bite. In many cases, you don’t have to prove that the owner was acting negligently. This makes dog bite injuries unique personal injury cases.
Do Insurance Companies Cover All Dog Breeds?
Dog bites and other injuries from pets are often covered under homeowner or renter insurance. More than one third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims paid out in 2013 were related to dog bites. The average claim was about $30,000, adding up to about $490 million for the year.
Insurance companies are concerned about these medical costs, so it has become common for them to blacklist certain breeds of dog that are perceived as dangerous. While each company has a different list, the following fourteen breeds are some of the most common to be excluded from coverage:
- Pit Bull Terriers
- Staffordshire Terriers
- German Shepherds
- Presa Canarios
- Chows Chows
- Doberman Pinschers
- Cane Corsos
- Great Danes
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Siberian Huskies
How can an attorney help?
If you or a loved one suffered a dog bite incident, you may be entitled to compensation. If a bite resulted in specific damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, or emotional trauma, get in touch with a lawyer serving Northern New Jersey.
Call 1-800-NOW-HURT for a free consultation and see if Buttafuoco & Associates is the right firm to represent you.