• Next Steps After a Dog Bite Injury in New Jersey?

    Each state has its own laws that govern what the victim can do after they are bitten by a dog. New Jersey has strict rules regarding deadlines and how an owner can defend themselves against a claim, along with what types of damages can be sought. As a strict liability state, the burden falls on the owner to defend against allegations rather than on the victim to prove them.

    Even with the law on the side of the victim, it can be confusing to navigate the laws regarding dog bite injury in New Jersey.


    In New Jersey, you have up to two years following a dog bite incident to file a lawsuit. This is because New Jersey has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits, which applies to dog bite injuries. Most likely, your case will be dismissed completely if you file after the deadline unless there are extenuating circumstances.

    Specific Dog Bite Laws in New Jersey

    The statute that governs dog bite laws in New Jersey makes the dog’s owner liable for injuries that:

    • occur in either a private place or lawfully in a public place and
    • without regard to prior viciousness of a dog and if the owner could have known of the dog’s viciousness.

    This is because the statute is a “strict liability” statute. Under this law, the owner is liable for any damage or injury their dog causes, whether or not they used reasonable care to restrain their dog. This makes it easier on the victim to pursue compensation and more difficult for an owner to fight against a claim. These laws only apply to dog bites and do not cover other injury by a dog, such as a dog jumping on a person and knocking them over.

    Legal Defenses Against a Dog Bite Claim

    The biggest defense against a dog bite claim is trespassing. If the person entered a private area when the incident occurred, the owner may not be liable for the injuries. This includes public property or lawfully private property, such as a backyard or home.

    If you have been bitten by a dog, you could be entitled to compensation. Talk to one of our South Jersey dog bite lawyers at the law firm of Jarve Kaplan Granato Starr to find out how we can help.

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