Under the New Jersey dog bite statute, N.J.S.A. 4:19-16, et seq., owners of dogs who bite others are strictly liable for the damages caused by their dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the animal. The statute provides in relevant part 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."
Thus, dog bite victims need not prove that a dog owner was negligent in these cases. Rather, victims need only prove the ownership of the animal that committed the bite in order for strict liability to attach to the dog owner. Somewhat different are dog bite claims against keepers or handlers (non-owners) of the animal. Strict liability does not apply in these cases, thus a victim must prove the negligence of a non-owner keeper/handler of a dog that commits a bite while under the care of the keeper/handler.
Puncturing of the skin at the site of the dog bite is not a prerequisite to suit. Thus, dog bites that do not puncture the skin or draw blood, but still cause injury, remain actionable in New Jersey.
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a dog bite, you should contact an experienced New Jersey dog bite lawyer without delay as there are strict time limits for bringing a dog bite injury claim.