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Dogs attack children on way to school bus stop, lessons for those in NJ

A tragic case out of Georgia is bringing attention to the catastrophic results that can occur when a dog attacks. The case involves the owner of two dogs, one pit-bull mix the other a border collie, that attacked a group of children headed to the bus stop. The children came to each other's aid, attempting to fight off the dogs as their friends were attacked.

Although the efforts of these little heroes likely reduced the number of victims in this attack, one six year old boy perished from injuries inflicted by these dogs and another five year old girl continues to fight to heal from serious injuries.

Turning tragedy into hope: Lessons for New Jersey residents from this awful attack

This tragic tale is heart wrenching, but it also provides an opportunity. Dog owner or not, it is wise for everyone to have a basic understanding for who is responsible when a dog attacks.

The laws that govern dog attacks are generally state laws. As a result, they can vary depending on which state the attack occurs. This piece focuses specifically on the dog bite laws that apply in New Jersey.

When a dog attacks in New Jersey: State law basics

New Jersey law states that 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."

There are generally three elements that a victim must establish to hold the owner liable for injuries that result from a dog bite. These elements are:

  • Ownership. First, the victim must show that the person in question was, in fact, the owner.
  • Location. The victim must also show that he or she was in a qualifying location. This includes public places like a park or sidewalk as well as the owner's residence if lawfully present.
  • Injury. Finally, the victim must show that a bite occurred while in this location and that the bite resulted in an injury.

Establishing these elements can be intimidating, but an experienced attorney can help to better ensure your interests are protected.

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