While dogs are usually friendly animals, some still bite or attack. These attacks can often lead to serious injuries or even death, depending on the circumstances. The goal of the New Jersey Dog Bite Statute is to help victims pursue compensation for their injuries if bitten.
New Jersey’s Dog Bite Statute is a “strict liability” statute. This means that a biting dog’s owner is liable for injuries caused by the dog bite, even if he or she used reasonable care to restrain the dog or protect or warn others. Even if the dog has no previous history of aggressive behavior, the owner may still have to pay damages for the victim’s injuries. This can sometimes include injuries trying to get away from the dog after being bit. It allows for both economic and non-economic damages, covering a wide range of losses, both actual and intangible. Under the old common law “one-bite rule” it was difficult or impossible for some victims to collect so New Jersey, like many other states, replaced this common law with strict liability statutes.
Under NJSA 4:19-16, strict liability will apply as long as the injured party did not provoke the dog or trespass on private property. All that needs to be proven is that the dog bite occurred.
Under New Jersey’s statute of limitations, bite victims must file a lawsuit within two  years of the date of the incident pursuant to NJSA 2A:14-2.
If you own a dog, make sure your homeowners’ insurance company is aware that there is a dog in the household, as homeowners coverage will usually cover any claim for damages as a result of a dog bite. Non disclosure to the homeowners carrier may result in a denial of coverage.
At Bross & Frankel, our attorneys represent personal injury cases regularly, which includes dog bite injuries. Our team of experienced New Jersey personal injury attorneys can investigate and evaluate every aspect of your case to make sure that every possible responsible party is brought into the claim. From there, they will advocate for your right to compensation, helping you get the highest possible recovery. While you can represent yourself in a personal injury case, it may lead to a much lower settlement than you would have gotten with a lawyer — or no settlement at all.
Elizabeth D. Berenato has been a member of both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania bar associations for over 25 years. As a Certified Civil Trial Attorney, Attorney Berenato is a highly experienced trial lawyer. She has routinely handled complex cases and trials and is well-versed in Social Security Disability (handling every aspect from initial filings to hearings).
Attorney Berenato is a lifelong New Jersey resident, and was born in Moorsetown, NJ. She received her undergraduate degree from Glassboro State College (Rowan), Cum Laude in 1986. In 1990, she received her Juris Doctorate Degree from Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware. Ms. Berenato then returned to New Jersey to start her legal career in Atlantic City.
Attorney Berenato is a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania State Bars and United States District Court.