Dogs may be called, man’s best friend, but to millions of people each year, they become dangerous attackers. If you sustained a serious dog bite injury, or if your child was a dog attack victim, we can help. Call Console & Associates P.C. NJ dog bite lawyers today for your free consultation.
What to Expect After a Dog Bite
Every year, dogs bite close to 4,500,000 Americans. Half of the most seriously injured victims are defenseless children. Whether you yourself were the victim or you’re anxiously worrying over what will happen to your injured child, you need to know what to expect.
Getting Medical Care For Your Injury
After a serious dog bite injury, it’s essential that you get the medical care you need. If you went to the emergency room immediately following the attack, make sure you stick to all of the doctors, instructions and that you follow up with the appropriate primary care or specialist providers.
If you didn’t get medical care right away, don’t wait any longer to address the problem. Call your doctor now. Not sure what type of doctor you need to see for your condition? Let our knowledgeable staff help you figure out which specialist makes the most sense for your injuries.
Waiting won’t help you, because many dog bites cause injuries that won’t simply go away on their own or could even get worse if ignored, such as:
- Cuts and lacerations that could become infected.
- Damage to nerves, tissues, tendons, and bones.
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement.
- Emotional and psychological trauma.
- Transmission of rabies, a deadly disease
Depending on the injuries you suffered, you may need stitches or even reconstructive surgery. You might have to take a course of antibiotics to prevent infection or get a rabies shot if the dog wasn’t up-to-date- on vaccinations. Some of the most severe dog bite cases require the amputation of an irreversibly damaged limb.
All of this necessary care is costly. If you don’t have health insurance, you could be stuck paying all of the bills out-of-pocket. Even if you have health coverage, the deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance expenses can add up quickly. You’re not alone if you’re worried about how to afford this medical care. It’s a common problem among dog bite victims, but solving that problem can be easier than you think. It starts with a simple phone call.
Pursuing a Dog Bite Injury Claim
New Jersey is what’s called a strict liability state. For you, this means one important thing: it doesn’t matter whether the dog that attacked you has a history of aggression. You can get the money damages you deserve no matter what.
Dogs don’t have legal standing, so the humans who own them are the ones considered legally responsible for the bite. However, the homeowner’s policy of the dog’s owner typically covers dog bite injuries, so you don’t have to worry that you’ll be seeking money from a friend or neighbor personally if you pursue a claim.
Many dog bites victims wonder what they need to do next. While the law is on your side in a New Jersey dog bite case, that doesn’t mean getting full compensation will be easy. You will need someone on your side who understands every aspect of the law, someone an insurance adjuster won’t be able to intimidate into accepting less than the maximum amount of compensation: a determined attorney with experience handling major, six-figure dog bite claims.
Questions About Your Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit
What do I do if a dog bit my child?
Children are among the most common dog bite victims, and their injuries, unfortunately, are often more severe than those of adults. It’s essential that you protect your child’s health and legal rights.
Here are the top three steps you must take right away to help your child through the ordeal of a dog attack:
1. Seek Immediate Medical Care
The first thing you must do is get your child medical care now. If the injuries seem severe, take your child to the emergency room, kids die from dog bites every year, and you certainly don’t want to underestimate the seriousness of your child’s wounds. Make sure you follow up on your child’s medical care, including making appointments with specialists and getting tests done.
2. Report the Bite
Dog bites are a public health concern, and it’s essential that you report them to the appropriate authorities. Depending on the situation, that could include local animal control and police departments as well as your local health department. Don’t worry about getting the dog, or its owner, in trouble. Right now, factors like your child’s health and public safety are more important.
3. Get Legal Help
Your child’s health is your top priority, but protecting his or her legal rights should be a close second. There’s a chance that your child could need ongoing medical care, including physical therapy, scar revision surgery, and therapy to cope with the emotional trauma of the attack. If some aspect of the injury is irreversible, your child’s life will never be the same. Your family deserves compensation for the medical bills, for the permanent changes to your child’s life and future, and for the pain and suffering your kid had to endure. If you try to manage this situation on your own, you’re giving up your child’s legal rights to pursue the maximum amount of compensation.
At Console & Associates P.C., we know the intricacies of practicing dog bite law in New Jersey. Our dog bite lawyers have the experience to determine what your child deserves and the skills to fight to get your family every dollar that the case is worth. Don’t wait another day to get help. Call (856) 778-5500 today.
Who do you sue in a dog bite injury case?
When a dog bite leaves you with debilitating injuries, someone has to pay for that damage it has caused you. New Jersey state law holds dogs, owners legally responsible for the injuries they cause, and homeowner’s insurance policies typically cover the financial consequences.
Strict Liability Law
Dog bite laws differ from one state to another. In some states, victims need to prove that the dog that bit them had a history of aggression. Fortunately, New Jersey is a state with what’s called, strict liability, laws. Under these laws, a dog’s owner is responsible for its behavior, including any injuries it causes, regardless of whether it has a history of attacking others.
However, pursuing compensation from the owner personally would be problematic. For one thing, the owner can’t pay you money that he or she doesn’t have, and with dog bite injuries causing thousands (and sometimes tens or hundreds of thousands) of dollars in damages, many owners wouldn’t personally be able to pay. Then there’s the fact that many victims are bitten by dogs owned by their friends, relatives, or neighbors. If they had to take money from people they care about just to get the compensation they deserve, some victims might be reluctant to pursue a case at all.
Insurance in Dog Bite Injury Claims
Fortunately, homeowner’s insurance policies typically cover the damages inflicted when policyholders, dogs bite visitors. When there’s insurance coverage available, you don’t have to worry that you’ll never actually see the money that you win in a settlement or jury verdict. You also don’t have to worry that your pursuing compensation is somehow taking money from someone you love. The only thing you do have to worry about is getting the insurance company to treat you fairly, and that’s where we come in.
The purpose of insurance is to pay for covered events. The dog’s owner purchased a homeowner’s insurance policy specifically to cover any accidents, injuries, and damages that might occur on their property. Even though the insurance company created a contract with the homeowner, don’t expect the insurer to be eager to pay what it owes.
- Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and they tend to regard claims as expenses that take away from their bottom line.
- Often, insurers try to minimize the value of cases, delay paying what they owe, or deny the claim altogether.
- This is the reason it’s essential that you have someone on your side with experience handling dog bite cases and inside knowledge of how insurance companies operate.
At Console & Associates P.C., we have insider experience with the insurance industry as well as 20 years of experience practicing personal injury law. We’ll help you figure out who is legally and financially responsible for your dog bite injury, and we’ll handle every interaction with the insurance company so you can focus on recovery. Call (856) 778-5500 and leave the legal matters to us; you’ve got enough on your plate.
If I Pursue a Dog Bite Injury Claim, Will the Dog Be Put Down?
If you personally know the owner of the dog that bit you, if, for example, the dog belonged to a friend, a relative, or a neighbor, then you may fear that pursuing a claim will bring your loved one pain. You know that some dogs are put down for aggressive behavior, and you may not want the dog that bit you euthanized. While it’s admirable that you don’t want your friend to lose his or her beloved pet, you still need to report the bite, which could be a threat to public safety, and you still need medical care (and the money to afford it).
The Vicious and Potentially Dangerous Dog Act
New Jersey has a law known as the Vicious and Potentially Dangerous Dog Act. This law outlines the criteria required for a municipality to determine if a dog is vicious or potentially dangerous.
- Vicious dogs are defined as dogs that have killed a human or caused, serious bodily injury, meaning an injury that poses a substantial risk of death or causes permanent disfigurement or prolonged loss or impairment of an organ or body part. If the dog was provoked (not necessarily by you) when it attacked, it cannot be declared vicious.
When a municipality determines that a dog is vicious, then it can be euthanized; however, owners still have the opportunity to appeal the decision and present their case for saving the dog.
- Potentially dangerous dogs are a step below vicious, a significant step. While vicious dogs are euthanized, potentially dangerous dogs don’t have to be. Their owners are simply required to comply with additional regulations for the sake of public safety, including restraining the dog inside a fence, purchasing additional insurance coverage, and microchipping the dog for identification purposes.
A dog is declared potentially dangerous if the municipal court finds that it caused serious injury to a human (or another domestic animal) during an unprovoked attack and there is convincing evidence that the dog poses a threat of killing or seriously injuring another person or animal. Again, if someone provoked the dog, it cannot be declared potentially dangerous.
2019 Update: Assemblyman Gordon Johnson has a bill that hopes to clarify further what makes an animal vicious. This bill did not pass yet.
What Will Happen to the Dog that Bit You?
Often, dogs that bite and cause a serious injury are impounded after an attack while the municipal court investigates the event. If there is any doubt as to the dog’s history of rabies vaccination, it may be quarantined and monitored to determine if it has the virus. Dogs may also be impounded while owners are appealing a determination that a dog is vicious.
If the municipal court determines that the dog does need to be put down, it’s for purposes of public safety, not because of anything that you did, and hopefully, the situation can be resolved without euthanasia in a way that prevents anyone else from being hurt like you were. If you suffered serious dog bite injuries, then it’s essential that you not only get medical care but that you get the compensation you deserve for your damages. Don’t let the fear of what will happen to the dog that hurt you stand in the way of taking care of yourself. We can help you get your claim started and understand all of your options. Call our dog bite lawyers today at (856) 778-5500 for your free consultation.
Do I need to call the police after a dog bite?
An animal attack isn’t the kind of injury you can just brush off. Even an injury that seems minor can be serious because dog bites can become infected or transmit potentially dangerous diseases.
With that being said, you should always call the authorities after a dog bite, whether you plan to pursue a personal injury claim or not.
Calling 911 after a dog bite matters because it accomplishes three important goals.
Alerting the authorities to a dog bite helps you:
- Get the urgent medical care you need.
- Report the dog attack.
- Comply with public health and safety protocols.
For more information about reporting a dog bite to the police, read on, or call us today for help with a dog bite lawsuit.
Signs That You Need to Call the Police to Report the Dog Bite Right Now
- Are your injuries so severe that they could be life-threatening?
- Did someone involved in the attack suffered the severing of a body part, a lot of blood loss, or loss of feeling or mobility?
- Is there any doubt about the dog’s history of rabies vaccinations?
- Is the dog still behaving aggressively?
If so, call 911 for emergency help right away.
Dispatchers can send an ambulance to get you to the hospital. More importantly, the stabilizing care they provide on the way can make a big difference in how successful your dog bite injury treatment is.
The 911 dispatchers can also send police to help stop the ongoing rampage of an aggressive dog, so no one else has to get hurt.
Seeking Emergency Help for a Dog Bite Injury
After a dog bite, taking care of your health needs to be your top priority. Dog bite first aid isn’t a do-it-yourself matter.
So call 911 after a dog bite and let the dispatcher know that you need medical attention immediately.
Dog bite infections are common due to the presence of bacteria in a dog’s mouth. Tetanus, rabies, and other diseases can all develop from a dog bite, so you need more than home remedies. Most dog bite victims go to urgent care facilities or emergency rooms.
When to Seek Medical Care for a Dog Bite
You should always take precautions after a dog bite. But it’s especially important to get medical care if the dog bite resulted in any of the following symptoms:
- Numbness caused by a dog bite
- Tenderness or pain from a dog bite
- A dog bite that keeps bleeding
- Fever that started after a dog bite
- Rash that developed after a dog bite
- Oozing of pus or yellow discharge from a dog bite wound
- Swelling from a dog bite
- Redness or warmth at the site of the dog bite puncture wound
Some of these symptoms could indicate a dog bite wound infection. Others could be a sign of a serious injury, including nerve damage, from the dog bite.
Some of the most serious cases our Pennsylvania and New Jersey dog bite lawyers have seen involved:
- Dog bites to the face, especially the eye, lip, nose, or ear
- Dog bites to the arm, hand, or finger
- Dog bites to the leg, knee, ankle, or foot
Here’s what you need to know about pursuing a dog bite claim in New Jersey
Dog Bite Injury Treatment
When you seek medical help for a dog bite, you’ll likely receive antibiotics to help prevent infection. Your medical provider should carefully clean and close the dog bite wound, with stitches or sutures if necessary. You may need to get a tetanus shot when you suffer a dog bite.
Untreated dog bite could result in severe, painful, life-threatening infections and diseases. When humans develop rabies from a dog bite, and don’t get the rabies vaccine, the condition is usually fatal, the U.S. National Library of Medicine reported.
After a dog bite, it’s essential that you report the incident to the relevant authorities. It’s also essential that you get the help you need, including medical care and legal guidance.
Never put off getting necessary medical treatment for a dog bite injury. To protect your legal rights, consult experienced dog bite lawyers like Console & Associates P.C.
Documenting the Dog Bite
Even if the main reason you need to call the police after a dog bite is for emergency medical help, there are other important things that happen when you report the animal attack. One of those things is documenting the incident.
You probably feel like the attack and its aftermath are two things you will never forget. But unfortunately, you may need more evidence than your account of what happened if you’re going to get the compensation you deserve for this injury.
Homeowner’s insurance policies are typically responsible for covering the damages that stem from dog bites and attacks. However, insurers don’t willingly hand out large sums of money to victims.
They are businesses. They’re more concerned about their profits than the pain you’re going through. And they often try to minimize the value of a claim, procrastinate paying or deny the claim completely.
A dog bite report from the police is strong proof that the attack really did happen when you said it did and the way you say it did.
Public Health and Safety: Rabies from Dog Bites
Dogs that bite are more than a legal liability. They’re a public health and safety risk, especially when you’re talking about dogs that could be infected with rabies or other diseases.
While most cases of dog-to-human rabies transmission result from a deep bite, the dog bite doesn’t have to draw blood or even break the skin necessarily. Saliva that’s infected with rabies can enter the body even through just a scratch, according to the Humane Society. Rabies transmission can also occur if the dog’s saliva made contact with an open wound or a mucous membrane, like those found in your eyes, mouth, and nose.
Reporting the bite to animal control and the local health department is necessary to make your community safer.
Authorities can quarantine dogs to determine if they have rabies or another disease. This quarantine, along with a veterinarian exam, can help determine if you, the victim, might be at risk.
Depending on the circumstances of the attack, the municipal court may hold a hearing to determine if the dog poses a further risk. If so, the court may decide what additional steps to take to prevent the dog from biting again.
Getting Help from New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyers
At Console & Associates P.C., our New Jersey dog bite lawyers have the experience, dedication, and compassion you need to start moving forward with your recovery and your life. We’ll see that you’re able to afford the medical care you need, and we’ll fight to get you full compensation for all of your damages, from the wages you miss out on when you can’t work to any permanent pain or scarring you experience. There’s nothing easy about recovering from a dog bite, but we can make the situation easier for your family by taking away some of the stress you’re facing.