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Does New Jersey have a one-bite rule for when dogs hurt people?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2022 | Personal Injury |

It only takes a moment for a pleasant interaction with a dog to turn into a traumatic experience. When animals turn aggressive, they can leave lasting physical and psychological injuries for their victims. Owners should do their best to prevent their animals from hurting other people.

Some dogs have a history of aggressive behavior and require more training and supervision from their owners. Others give very little indication that they will become aggressive before they bite someone.

If the dog has previously been a kind animal, does that mean there is no liability for the owner because of a one-bite rule? 

New Jersey has a strict liability rule for animal owners

The one-bite rule that some states use works exactly how you think it would. Neither a dog nor its owner will face the full legal consequences of a vicious dog attack the first time a dog bites a person. Unless there is documentation that the owner knew the dog was dangerous, the victim of an animal attack will have a hard time pursuing a civil lawsuit if it’s isn’t the first time the animal ever bit someone.

However, New Jersey has a strict liability law when it comes to dog bites. The one-bite rule does not apply. The owner is responsible even if the animal had never hurt a person before or even growled at anyone. Only in scenarios where the person taunted the dog or broke the law right before the attack would the owner be able to avoid liability for their animal’s action.

Understanding the rules in New Jersey that govern dog bite claims can help you seek compensation and justice.