What to Do When a Dog Bites Your Child in New Jersey?
What to Do When a Dog Bites Your Child in New Jersey?
At the Lee Law Firm, we offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has been hurt in an unprovoked attack by a dog or other domestic animal. To schedule an appointment, call our offices at 973-295-5847


Even dogs with good temperaments can nip or bite if they are startled, scared, or annoyed. Here's what you need to do if a dog bites your child.


People say dogs are man's best friend, so it makes sense to think that your best friend won't hurt you. But it's important to remember that dogs can also feel scared or over excited and bite you or your child, whether they mean to or not. 


Children are especially likely to get hurt by dogs because they are often right at the dog's level and don't always treat animals with care and kindness. 


Unfortunately, a dog's urge to bite or nip can hurt a child badly. A new jersey dog bite lawyer with extensive experience can help you settle these possible personal injury claims or fight a lawsuit.  Let's get in-depth and understand your course of action if a dog bites your child.



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On the spot: first steps

Whether you're at home or somewhere else, the first thing you have to do is tie up the dog. If you're inside, put the dog in a kennel or move it to a different room. If you are outside, put the dog in a vehicle with good airflow and temperature control, or tie its leash to something.


Next, take steps to figure out how injured the child is and get them the right medical care. Use the proper first aid steps to clean the area and keep it from getting infected to treat small bites and scratches. Call an ambulance or doctor immediately if the child seems to have more severe injuries. Even small animal bites or scratches can harm your health and cause severe injuries, illness, or even death.

Sharing information and holding on to proof

If you can, and it's the right thing to do, taking pictures or videos of any injuries you see and the accident scene is a good idea. Write down what happened, like if the dog was playing with the child, if the child asked to touch or pet the dog, if there were other children or dogs around, if the child's guardian was close by, etc. 


Ensure you get the contact information of other people who saw what happened. You can ask them to record a video or audio statement about what they saw if they are willing.


Recording such information will help you get compensation from the insurance company for the injuries suffered by your child.

Taking a look at liability and possible coverage

If the child isn't yours, give the child's parent or guardian your contact information and tell them about any home insurance or other policies that may apply. You might want to talk to your insurance company to see if the insurance might cover any costs or damage. 


Most States have a "strict liability" law for dog bite injuries. It means that a dog's owner is responsible for any damages directly caused by a bite, as long as the child was in a public place or legally on private property. 


Even if the animal has never been violent before, the owner is still responsible even if they took the proper steps to keep the animal under control or to protect or warn others. Even if the dog hasn't shown any signs of aggression and is used to the kids, keeping a close eye on them when they're together is essential.


When to call an attorney

A dog bite can leave a child with bruises, broken bones, deep cuts, damage to vital organs, infections, and other serious injuries. Most of the time, these injuries need a lot of work to fix, like multiple rounds of plastic surgery and physical therapy as the child gets older. 


A child can have long-term emotional distress or post-traumatic stress disorder, physical injuries, long-term disabilities, and scars. If a dog bit your child and caused these injuries, you may have to fight a civil lawsuit if the insurance company denies your claim. Under the United States personal injury law, you can claim all of these kinds of damages back.


You should talk to a lawyer with experience with claims of animal attacks and handling insurance companies so they can look at your case and help you prepare the best defense possible.

What will a lawyer for a dog bite do for you?

Personal injury law is the area of law in which a dog bite attorney works. Such lawyers help people hurt by a dog bite or an animal attack.


An experienced lawyer can help you get the money you deserve if a dog attacks you or your child. Here are some of the things that a lawyer will do for you:

  • Talk to the insurance company on your behalf


Insurance companies often try to get dog bite victims to settle for less than they deserve. A dog bite attorney with a lot of experience knows how much your claim is worth and has worked with insurance companies. They work daily on cases similar to yours; hence, they are experts in handling dog bite insurance claim settlements.

  • Secure your medical records


It can be hard to show that your child's injuries are bad enough to warrant a significant settlement. You have to give a lot of information from every doctor, nurse, or other medical worker who has helped you.


You may also need what is called "expert witnesses," who are other doctors. A lawyer with a lot of experience will gather and evaluate all the necessary information to get you the most money.

  • Choose when to file your claim to get the most money


After a dog attack, it's essential to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible as you might not know how nasty your child's wounds are until some time has passed. A skilled lawyer will decide this to get the best possible result.

  • Obtain expert witness testimony


Sometimes, to prove your case, you need the opinion of another medical professional. A good dog bite lawyer can find the right people and get the testimony you need to get the settlement or verdict you deserve.

  • Assist you in obtaining compensation for injuries


In addition to getting your medical bills paid back, you may also be able to get money for other losses that aren't related to money. The attack caused long-term pain and suffering and long-term psychological damage.

  • If your case goes to trial, represent you in court


Most dog bite cases are settled out of court, but sometimes dog bite insurance claims settlements do not work, and you have to go to court to get the money you deserve. In these situations, you need a good trial lawyer to help you prepare and present a case that will win.


How much does it cost to file a lawsuit against an insurance company about a dog biting your child?

Personal injury lawyers help people to whom dogs have bitten. They work on a contingency basis.


The lawyer's fee depends on how much the case is won or settled. In most States, lawyers get 33.33 % of the total settlement or verdict, which is one-third.


When your case is over, the insurance company will take the lawyer's fee out of the money they send you. The lawyer will subtract out-of-pocket costs like postage, copying, and filing fees. If a case goes to trial, there may be extra costs for trial exhibits and expert witnesses.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit if a dog bites me?


Most personal injury claims, like dog bite claims, follow the same rules that a victim has up to three years from the date of the attack to file a claim. Sometimes, the hurt person has more time to file a claim. For example, people under 18 can't file a lawsuit until their 19th birthday.


But it is better to talk to a lawyer so that you can start your case as soon as possible. If the victim is a child, a parent or legal guardian can hire a lawyer to file a claim on the child's behalf.

Settlements for dog bite lawsuits

Settlements for dog bites are based on several things, like how bad the injuries were and whether or not there are permanent scars or other long-term physical and/or emotional damage.


Sometimes, a lawyer will tell you to wait to file a lawsuit until you know how bad your physical and emotional injuries are.


Your insurance coverage is also considered when figuring out how much the settlement will be.


Will I get more money if I hire a lawyer for a dog bite?


Most of the time, yes. Studies show that people who hire personal injury lawyers get more significant verdicts and settlements than people who try to handle their cases. Remember that the insurance company will fight against your claim with lawyers and skilled negotiators. So, you need a lawyer who knows the law and has the skills and experience to get you the money you deserve.


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To conclude:

Most dog bite cases involve children as they do not often treat animals with kindness, so they are most prone to dog bites. Various injuries can result from a dog bite, including scratches, deep open cuts, puncture wounds, crush injuries, and tearing away of a body part.


If a dog has hurt your child, please immediately contact an expert dog bite attorney. They know what it takes to win your dog bite case, and we're ready to fight for the benefits you deserve.


Dog bite law is complicated, but it's easy to find the right lawyer. Take action now to avoid regretting it later.