Here’s a true story: We handled a case for a client who was visiting a high school friend. During the visit, the friend’s dog — usually a friendly and approachable pet — lunged at the BFF without provocation and caused considerable physical harm, tearing off the friend’s lip. The trauma, both physical and mental, was obviously substantial, as were the resulting costs (emergency room treatment, plastic surgery, follow-up medical care, etc.).
From a legal standpoint, the dog’s owner was responsible for this awful injury to the friend. New Jersey is a strict liability jurisdiction for dog bites. The friendship, understandably, did not survive the incident. We were able to obtain a substantial negotiated six-figure settlement without filing a lawsuit with the owner’s homeowners insurance.
If you have a pet or animal of any type, but especially a dog, be sure you understand your responsibility should the animal attack a guest in your home or anywhere on your property. If a visit is planned ahead of time, be sure to ask about allergies or fears that could create problems for your guest. Whenever someone new comes over, especially if it’s an unexpected drop-by visit, consider putting your pet out in the yard or in a room with a closed door. In fact, even a familiar visitor could be injured if a pet misunderstands their approach or is upset by something else going on in the home at the time.
If you are injured by an animal attack at a friend’s home, contact our firm to set up a consultation.