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Who is Liable for Dog Bites: Owners and Keepers

Dog and human interaction cannot always be predicted. The trigger for aggressive dog behavior is not always clear. Most times, a dog will lash out to bite because of fear. The basic rule is that the person in control of the dog is the responsible party. However, the legal definition of what constitutes “control” depends upon various factors.

  • Each state has enacted different laws
  • Municipal ordinances may be even more restrictive than the state
  • Findings of fact influence the conclusions of law, and
  • Common law based upon what is called legal precedent can override statutory law

Liability for Negligence Versus Strict Liability Statutes  

Owners are liable for injuries caused by their dog if they knew or should have known (negligence) that their dog was dangerous. The standard is one of reasonableness and who is in the best position to protect a possible victim. However, sometimes, someone “keeping” a dog can become the responsible party and even unknowingly assume liability of the injured person’s damages. In many states, dog bite statutes make the owner or keeper strictly liable for any injury.  Strict liability means that even if the dog had no violent history that an owner or keeper will be held to be financially responsible regardless of fault. Additionally, in some states, the person in control of the dog can be defined as the legal owner or expanded to include keepers or “harborers.”

Property Owners and Landlords Liability

In some situations and in some states, property owners and/or landlords will be liable for injuries caused by dogs “allowed” on their property.  Once again, the Court will look at the reasonableness and knowledge of the property owner and/or landlord. Landlord liability to the tenant imposes a duty on the landlord to take precautions to prevent the occurrence of a known danger on the landlord’s property.

Know the Facts  

An attorney experienced in premises liability law can explain specifically the law–your rights or  For this reason, you need a knowledgeable advocate to detangle the confusing layers of law and legal jargon.

Contact a Hazlet Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Dog Bite Injury Case in New Jersey

Were you or a loved one injured by a dog bite in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Drazin and Warshaw, P.C. represent clients injured in Hazlet, Middletown, Freehold Township, Tinton Falls and throughout Monmouth County, Middlesex County and Ocean County, NJ. Call (732) 576-8860 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 25 Reckless Place, Red Bank, NJ 07701 as well as offices in Hazlet and Brick.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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