With more than 4.7 million dog-bite injuries recorded each year in the United States, it is very important to make sure that are legally covered if your dog decides to lash out. A recent article published by State Farm revealed that the average settlement for a dog-bite case in New Jersey was almost $75,000. If you are responsible for a dog, even if you are not the owner, then there may still be liability in the event of a dog bite.
Many dog owners think that dog bites are covered within their home insurance; however, your home insurance policy may not cover as much as you think.
It’s important to thoroughly check your home insurance policy to make sure that you properly understand the terms and conditions in the event of a dog bite. The policy itself may not be completely clear, and the wording could vary between insurers. In most cases it will simply state that the policy doesn’t cover, “any animal inflicted injury.” If the policy is more specific, then it might be only certain breeds that aren’t covered, such as Rottweilers and Pit Bulls.
Another recommended step is to read the “endorsements” that are mailed by the insurance provider. These “endorsements” could contain very important amendments to your policy, which could include changes to your dog-bite coverage.
It’s also important to check the “declarations” section in order to make sure that the dog-bite liability limits are lower than the overall liability limits. If your policy doesn’t have an adequate amount of coverage, then you may not be entailed to enough to cover the bills in the event of an injury. In these cases, it’s recommended that you take out an umbrella policy to supplement your existing policy. These policies can be very reasonable and, in most cases, can be purchased for under $100 per year.
If you find yourself having problems finding an umbrella policy that will cover your specific breed of dog, then you could look for a different homeowner insurance policy; one which will be viable. If you can’t find anything that will suit your needs then you will have to search for canine liability insurance, which could be more expensive. The price of canine liability insurance for your dog will vary according to a number of different factors, including its breed, age, size and history of aggression.
Why Do Dogs Bite People?
Even the best trained dogs are still animals and can be triggered to bite without any warning.
- Stress or Anxiety. Dogs can become stressed or anxious when in situations that are noisy, crowded, or if they become overstimulated.
- Dogs bite for self-protection when they feel threatened.
- When dogs are startled, their natural reflex is to bite. This may be just a reaction and not aggressive.
- Dogs chew, nip and play by biting, especially puppies.
- Animal Instincts. It is not unusual for dogs to bite because it is part of their DNA and their instincts.
Dogs have extremely sharp teeth and any bite for any reason can cause serious injuries, pain, and scarring. Dogs have extremely powerful jaws, and they damage and crush body parts, muscles and skin. Dog bite injuries and scars.
New Jersey Dog-Bite Laws
New Jersey’s dog bite laws place strict liability on dog owners for injuries caused by their animals — even if the dog does not have a history of violent behavior. Dog bite victims can recover for damages when they prove:
- The owner of the dog.
- They were bitten by the dog.
- When the bite occurred, they were in a public place or legally on private property.
Note that the dog’s owner may not be liable for a dog bite that occurs for trespassers with criminal intent. And victims whose actions contributed to the attack, may be found liable or partially liable.
New Jersey’s dog bite laws are stricter than in many other states. In roughly one third of US states the owner of the dog will only be held accountable for a dog-bite if it has previously bitten. This is known as the “one bite” rule. In New Jersey, there is no “free-bite” rule. In NJ, if a dog bites someone, the owner is liable. … The owner is liable for any injuries, even if those injuries aren’t from the bite itself.
Dog owners can also be liable if their dog bites another dog. The fees involved with veterinary surgery can be phenomenal, meaning that the damages and payout fees could be substantial.
If your dog bites another dog or person within the confines of a dog park, then you may not be liable for damages. This is because the victim would have been aware of the risks when entering the dog park area. However, these cases present a legal grey area, and the results can drastically vary according to the circumstances.
There are certain steps that you could take in order to reduce the risk of a dog-bite. Below is a list of methods that you could use if you’d like to take precautionary measures.
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog
- Never run away from a dog
- Keep your dog away from children
- Always let a sleeping dog lie – never disturb a dog
- Never tease or taunt a dog
- Do not play aggressive with a dog
What are The Odds of Being Bitten By A Dog
There are over 78 million dogs in the United States. Over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Each year, a dog bite incident happens to 1 out of every 73 people. Almost 1 million dog bites require medical care for the dog bite victim. This means that 1 out of every 5 dog bite victims require medical care for their injuries. Children are the most susceptible victims to dog attacks and bites and have a greater chance of serious injury.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury from a dog bite in NJ, you should contact an attorney familiar with handling these claims. An experienced NJ Injury Lawyer will know how to obtain medical records, videos, photographs, experts, locate witnesses and contact the insurance company so you can make a claim for your injuries.
My NJ Injury Lawyer Howard P. Lesnik, Esq. offers complimentary strategy sessions to address any issue or questions you may have for your injury claim in NJ.
Please contact NJ Injury Lawyer Howard Lesnik, Esq., immediately if you were involved in an accident. I personally handle NJ personal injury cases on a regular basis. Please contact me now by email, by phoning 908.264.7701, or by completing the form to the right to schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session.