A rabid pit bull went on a rampage in New Jersey, biting at least three people and an unknown number of other dogs before passing away himself.
Champ, who lived with a family in Aberdeen along with three other dogs, did not have a current rabies vaccination. So far, authorities have confirmed three bites in the area, and they are searching for more victims. Anyone who was attacked by the rabid animal, or even came into close contact with Champ, needs to undergo a series of rabies shots. Animal victims must be isolated and observed to determine if they contracted the disease. The owners admit that they are unable to entirely account for Champ’s whereabouts in recent weeks.
There have been eight rabies cases in New Jersey since 1989, and no other ones since 2008.
About 300,000 victims per year are rushed to the emergency room following an animal attack. On average, their hospital bills are over $18,000, which is 50 percent higher than a typical injury-related hospitalization. Common injuries include fractures, body wounds, head wounds, and infections.
In most cases, the owner’s homeowner’s insurance is legally bound to pay damages. New York essentially uses a modified one-bite rule regarding dog bites and animal attacks. Owners of “dangerous” dogs are strictly liable for medical expenses. “Dangerous” is defined as an animal that injures a person or other animal “without justification.”
To obtain other damages, such as compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost wages, the animal must have had “vicious propensities” that the owner either knew about or should have known about. Such evidence includes:
- Baring teeth, or
- Being restrained by the owner, with something like a bite collar or very short leash.
A “beware of dog” sign or barking are normally not evidence of vicious propensities.
Most attacks occur on the owner’s property. For those that happen at a dog park or other public place, the plaintiff must still show evidence of vicious propensities in a negligence case. Furthermore, violation of a leash law is considered negligence but not negligence per se, meaning that the victim may have to offer additional proof.
Animal attacks cause serious injury. For a free consultation with aggressive lawyers, contact Proner & Proner. We have six office locations in the Tri-State area.