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Dog Bite Week

It is National Dog Bite prevention week, promoted by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), along with insurers, children’s organizations and even animal lovers. CBS reports that “the idea is to encourage people across the country to keep their dogs leashed, muzzled, fenced in or, at the very least, friendly”.

While the actual number of dog injury claims has declined more than 9 percent over the last 12 years, the cost associated with disruptive canines has risen more than 94 percent to $571 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the industry’s clearinghouse. This includes not only dog bites, but other canine damage, such as forcing bicyclists to the ground and bouncing their heads on concrete.

New Jersey is among the majority of states where a dog owner is liable for damages inflicted on a bite victim even if the dog has never exhibited biting tendencies. To recover damages, a victim must prove the defendant owned the dog, that the dog bit the plaintiff and that the plaintiff was in a public place or lawfully on the owner’s property. The statute does not apply to trespassing or to victims who provoke animals.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states that with an estimated population of 70 million dogs living in U.S. households, millions of people – most of them children – are bitten by dogs every year. The majority of these bites, if not all, are preventable.

Dog Bite Facts:

  • Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
  • Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention.
  • Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.
  • Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
  • Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
  • Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.

According to there are many things you can do to avoid dog bites, ranging from properly training and socializing your pet to educating your children on how – or if – they should approach a dog. Information and education are the best solutions for this public health crisis.

If you’re attacked by a dog or see someone else attacked, you can, of course, defend yourself. The laws of nearly every state authorize anyone to take whatever action is necessary, including killing, to stop a dog caught in the act of attacking a person. Dogs rarely, however, engage in a sustained attack on a person. Most dogs that bite do so quickly, out of fright, nervousness, or misdirected protectiveness. The dog’s owner is likely to be legally liable for your injury.

You’ll want to check local animal control department records for prior attacks by the dog. That could help you negotiate with the owner or win a case in court if it goes that far. If the dog has been officially labeled “dangerous” (as some cities and states designate dogs who have bitten people), the owner may be fined, and a judge may order the dog to be destroyed.

What to Do:

  • Get the names and phone numbers of the dog’s owner and witnesses. Even if you don’t think you’ll be asking for any money, get the dog owner’s name and address. You may change your mind the next day, when you discover that jumping out of the way of that lunging dog has given you a swollen ankle.
  • Get any witnesses’ names. You may need them to back up your version of what happened if you and the dog’s owner later disagree or if you don’t know who owns the dog. Animal control authorities may be able to find the dog from your description and then find its owner.
  • Get medical attention if you need it. If your injury is serious enough to require medical attention, get it quickly. Keep records of doctor’s office or hospital visits and copies of bills. You won’t have much of a chance of getting reimbursed for your medical expenses unless you can document what you paid.
  • Report the incident to animal control authorities. This is especially important if the dog wasn’t wearing a license tag and you don’t know who owns it. City or county authorities will try to pick it up so it can be quarantined. Many cities and some states require that a dog that bites someone be quarantined, to see if the dog is rabid, for seven to 20 days, either at the owner’s home or in the dog pound. Confinement may not be required if the dog has a current rabies vaccination.


If you have been injured by a Dog or other animal, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer who handles Dog Bite cases at


When you contact our office, we will immediately set up a free, confidential appointment where you will meet an attorney who will listen to you and evaluate your case.  We have conveniently located offices in Perth AmboyNew BrunswickJersey CityRoselle and East Orange. We understand traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries, back injuries and other medical problems caused by accidents and the problems that they can cause in your daily life.  Our law firm will always work to make sure you are compensated fairly.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, a shopper in a store, or the occupant of train, or car, motorcycle, boat or any motor vehicle, or have been hurt at an amusement park or at your workplace, bitten by a dog or injured in a fall down accident, you should immediately call one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at

 (732) 442-5900, 21-COURTLAW (212) 687-8529, during regular business hours or 1-800-RITELAW (800-748-3529) toll free.  You can even call either number on weekends or after regular business hours. We have offices in MiddlesexUnionEssex and Hudson counties.  call us .


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103 Bayard Street New Brunswick, NJ 08901 Map →

639-41 St. Georges Avenue Roselle, NJ 07203 Map →

257 Central Avenue E. Orange, NJ 07018 Map →

2322 Kennedy Boulevard Jersey City, NJ 07304 Map →

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