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New Jersey Lawyers Handling Dog Bite, Dangerous Animal, and Pet Attack Cases

Man and woman’s best friend unfortunately bites more than 4.7 million people a year. A Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) study on fatal dog bites lists the breeds involved in fatal attacks over 20 years. Each year, 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs. Many of these happen in the most densely populated state, New Jersey. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities, less than 1 percent of the total number of people bitten. These relatively few fatalities offer the only available information about breeds involved in dog bites. There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are necessarily more likely to bite, kill or mame.

Dog experts believe that public education and responsible dog ownership can help prevent these bites. The third full week of May is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Each year, 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites; half of these are children. Of those injured, 386,000 require treatment in an emergency department and about a dozen die. The rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for children ages 5 to 9 years, and the rate decreases as children age. Almost two thirds of injuries among children ages four years and younger are to the head or neck region. Injury rates in children are significantly higher for boys than for girls.

This can particularly be the case when it come to the “terrible ten” list of the most aggressive dogs. According to the CDC the “Pit Bull” and Rottweiler account for 60% of fatal dog attacks. The 10 most dangerous breeds are the Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky, Saint Bernard, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Doberman Pinscher, Chow Chow, Alaskan Malamute and the Akita. Many of these dogs are in New Jersey. When things go wrong, you should contact the experienced New Jersey injury lawyers at the Clark Law Firm, PC. By protecting you legal rights, we will hold negligent handlers accountable and foster safety in the community. We are community safety lawyers and that is what we do.

Akita: The last of the “Terrible Ten” is the Akita. A powerfully built dog originally developed to hunt bears in Japan, the Japanese now use the Akita as a guard dog and police dog. This powerful breed can be difficult to train and will bite if threatened. Originally bred to fight bears and protect the owner’s possessions, this breed’s personality is often described as “bear-like”. While Japanese mothers often left their children in the care of the capable Akita, be warned that the breed’s tolerance of children does not usually extend beyond the family “pack”. Food for thought for suburban families who live in close proximity to dozens of neighborhood children: the Akita may view as these neighborhood children as “intruders”.

Alaskan Malamute: The most wolf-like of dogs, the Alaskan Malamute is a true pack animal with the natural instinct to “lead or be led”. This is a powerful muscular athletic dog with a high prey drive. Too many owners fall in love with this breed’s appearance without investigating the other facets of the breed.

Chow Chow: Under this breed’s adorable “fuzzball” appearance lies an independent, serious and protective dog. Ongoing exercise, socialization and supervision are essential when owning a Chow. Leaving a Chow Chow unsupervised in a fenced yard for long periods of time can result in the dog being overly-territorial. The Chow will be overtly aggressive to strangers entering “his” land.

Doberman Pinscher: Known world-wide as a guard dog, military dog and Schutzhund dog. It was bread many years ago to accompany tax collectors in rough neighborhoods. The Doberman Pinscher’s manner is reserved and protected. While Doberman temperament varies, (some are sweet and mellow, while others are nervous or suspicious) early training and socialization is a must. Dobermans bred for show are often more slender, elegant and less aggressive than working lines. This dog responds to gentle correction. Hit, slap or otherwise abuse this breed and you’re asking for trouble.

German Shepherd: this dog is known for its intelligence and faithfulness. It’s many roles include family companion, guide dog, and police dog. The popularity of this breed causes it to be on the list of the “Terrible Ten.” Unscrupulous or uneducated breeders, more worried about turning a profit than breeding the best German Shepherd, have introduced thousands of nervous, timid, territorial, aggressive and dominant, GSD’s into homes across America. This is a breed that should never be bought then forgotten in the back yard. A well-bred German Shepherd with proper training is a joy while an improperly bred and untrained GSD can be dangerous and aggressive, causing injury.

Great Dane: This is a regal, elegant breed that is usually gentle, easygoing and mild mannered. But a Great Dane bought from a poor breeder or raised incorrectly is anything but gentle. Many such dogs are often hyperactive, nervous and aggressive, which can be particularly dangerous in a 150 lb animal.

“Pit Bull” is actually not a recognized breed and is instead a generic term used to categorize several breeds including: American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Broken down into individual breeds, none of the above would make the “terrible ten”. However, these breeds were designed to fight bears, bait bulls, and pit fighting. These breeds are bred to be aggressive, powerful fighters. Their bite exerts hundreds of pounds of pressure, more than that of the average German Shepherd. These dogs will exhibit aggressive tendencies; it is what they were bred to do.

Rottweiler: The Rottweiler is a member of the AKC’s “Working Group”. These are powerful and intelligent dogs. Properly obtained and trained, these dogs should not be dangerous. However, the popularity of this breed has been it’s downfall. Unscrupulous breeders, anxious to make a quick profit are as guilty of tarnishing this magnificent breed’s name as a reckless owner.

Siberian Husky: The original “sled dog”, the Siberian Husky’s original purpose as a sled dog was to carry a light load at a moderate speed over great distances. This is a large and powerful dog with a high energy level. This breed has a high prey drive and strong willed temperament, which when not bred, trained or handled properly, can make it a dangerous breed, especially around children.

Saint Bernard: This is a huge, powerful dog that can be calm, gentle and patient when bought from a careful, caring breeder and properly trained and socialized. However, bought from a pet store, or poor breeder could end up with a sickly, dominant or aggressive St. Bernard.

The public health problem of dangerous dogs and other animals in New Jersey can be solved by standing up for your rights in court. Our experienced NJ accident lawyers will fight for your rights. Dangerous animals have to be taken seriously and a dog bite prevention program will track and report trends on New Jersey dog bite injuries. Dog bites are a largely preventable public health problem. By holding those responsible accountable, we can minimize the needless risk. Steps have to be taken to reduce the chances of being bitten. When a dog bite or other animal attack occurs, bringing a lawsuit in court to obtain compensation for the injury and to hold the responsible owner accountable can also work to prevent future attacks. Lawsuits of this type encourage owners to be more responsible with dangerous pets and can also make the insurance companies who defend such actions more diligent in seeing to it their clients are more responsible pet owners.

Good Lawyers for Dog Bite Case – Smart Lawyer for Animal Attack Case – New Jersey and New York

“I need an attorney to represent me in a dog bite case.” “I need a lawyer for an animal attack case.” “What lawyer would be good for my dog bit case?” If you have asked for this information- contact the personal injury lawyers at the Clark Law Firm, PC- we have the answers. Our experienced lawyers represent men, women and children in New Jersey- including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Essex County and/or Hudson County- among others- including those who have been bitten or attacked by dogs, pets or other vicious animals. Dogs and other animals kept as pets have frequently caused harm and serious physical injuries to innocent people, especially some of the more aggressive breeds. Dog attacks can cause serious personal injury including cuts and severe lacerations including scarring on the face. Attacks can also cause broken bones or torn skin, severe emotional distress including nightmares about the attack and even traumatic brain injury in some cases. When an injury occurs because of a dangerous dog, contact an experienced trial lawyer to protect your legal rights.

Victims of dog or animal bites may think there is no legal recourse because the act however painful was performed by an animal or because the animal does not know any better or because of a general reluctance to sue over something as simple as a bite. While animals are very helpful, bad animals can kill. The New Jersey law on dog bites does provide recourse. The law does not hold the dog or animal responsible. It is the owner of the dog or animal who has a legal duty and obligation to ensure that his/her pet does not cause harm or injury to others. The owner is ultimately responsible for his/her dangerous pet including the harm which that animal may inflict upon another. People who are sued because of a dangerous pet may typically be covered under some kind of insurance such as homeowners, renters or general liability insurance. When the safety rules are broken, something must be done. This is where our experienced community safety injury attorneys come in. We are lawyers for the injured in New Jersey.

In recent decades, there was a popular trend among dog owners to acquire breeds known for their strength and aggression including Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Terriers, Doberman Pinchers, Great Danes and others. Some of these dog breeds had known tendencies toward hostile behavior. Whether such dogs proved to be a real risk of harm and injury to individuals, was largely dependent upon the training and treatment provided by the pet’s owner. All breeds of dogs can pose a risk of serious harm or injury to men, women and children. When the rules are broken, contact an experienced accident lawyer to help you.

In recent years, police investigations and arrests in connection with the animal cruelty in such illegal activities as dog fighting have served to protect abused animals as well as innocent victims, who could have been exposed to great risks of harm from these animals trained to be vicious and deadly. Despite these well publicized efforts by law enforcement and other authorities, we still periodically see news reports regarding dog attacks and animal aggression and the victims of such vicious behavior by certain pets.

In the State of New Jersey the legal liability of a dog owner is strictly imposed by statute. The relevant section of N.J.S.A. 4:19-16 reads in part:

The owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.

This basically means, that a successful dog bite case requires that the plaintiff (i.e. the victim of the dog bite) prove three things:

  1. That the defendant (i.e. the other party being sued) in the lawsuit was the owner of the dog in question;

  2. That the plaintiff was on or in a public place or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the defendant, and

  3. That the dog did bite the plaintiff while in such a place.

If the plaintiff proves these three things, then he or she should win the New Jersey dog bite case. It is very important for the New Jersey dog bite lawyer to point out that the law imposes strict liability on the dog owner regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. Regardless of whether the owner had a trained, hostile fighting dog or a docile, miniature poodle, he or she is legally responsible for the dog biting another if these three elements are proven. If the dog owner should raise the defense that the plaintiff/victim acted in a manner which constituted an “unreasonable and voluntary exposure to a known risk” (i.e. he or she knew the dog had a propensity to bite or acted deliberately to incite the animal), such knowledge or conduct on the part of the plaintiff may preclude a successful result in a dog bite case. The animal attack lawyers at this New Jersey personal injury law firm will vigorously present this law to represent their clients who have suffered an animal attack.

A successful NJ dog bite accident attorney will show that in the State of New Jersey the legal liability of the owner of an animal with a vicious or dangerous trait or propensity (other than a dog bite case) is slightly different. If a person is the victim of an attack by a vicious or dangerous animal, legal liability can also be imposed upon the animal’s owner. A successful case against the owner would need to prove that the animal had a vicious or dangerous trait or propensity; that the owner knew or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known of the particular vicious or dangerous trait or propensity in the animal which caused the injuries; and that the injuries suffered by the plaintiff (i.e. the victim of the animal) proximately resulted from such vicious or dangerous trait or propensity). Unlike the strict liability in the dog bite cases contained in N.J.S.A. 4:19-16, the liability for attacks by animals with vicious or dangerous traits or propensities is essentially a negligence case in which the dog owner fails to act pursuant to the standard of the reasonably prudent person in the same or similar circumstances.

The trial attorneys at the Clark Law Firm, PC are ready, willing and able to discuss your potential dog bite law suit case and advise you how we may be able to help you. A successful dog bite case can not only compensate the victim, but can also work to protect men, women and children from the risks of serious harm and injury from dog bites and attacks by vicious and dangerous animals by discouraging irresponsible dog ownership. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite or an animal attack, you may have a legal claim or lawsuit related to this event.

Contact the New Jersey accident attorneys at the Clark Law Firm, PC for advice in your dog bite or animal attack case – toll free – 877-841-8855. You will speak with a live legal professional based in the United States.

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