Each year, over two million children are victims of dog bites, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Another two million adults suffer the same fate, and countless others are injured by out-of-control canines.
If you’re one of the many who has had this happen to you, it’s time to find out – for free – what you’re entitled to.
“If you’re bit by a dog there are various forms of liability and various avenues for compensation,” said Michael D. Mumola, a partner at KMHL and dog lover who specializes in personal injury matters. “These cases are all contingent and a client doesn’t pay us anything to find out what their rights are or what we can do for them.”
Mumola said many dog bite victims are hesitant to go talk to a lawyer because in many cases, it’s a friend or relative’s dog that did the mauling.
But, as Mumola notes, “you’re not suing your cousin, you’re not suing your best friend. They have insurance and that’s what that insurance is for.”
In addition, it doesn’t have to be a bite.
“If a dog jumps on you and knocks you down, blows your shoulder out, or if a dog startles you and step back off a curb and fall and tear your knee apart, you’re entitled to recovery for that,” Mumola said. “Many people don’t realize this.”
And it’s not just immediate gratification Mumola is seeking for you; it’s long term.
“A lot of times when children get bit we not only get them a recovery for the pain and suffering and the cost of their medical bills, but we also factor in future medical care and get them financial compensation for that as well,” he said. “For little kids, it takes six to eight years for scars to mature. They can’t go back and have plastic surgery or revisional surgery until much later. So you have a 6 year old kid who goes until age 12 or 13 with this tragic scar across his face. We factor in the value of that surgery down the line as well.”
In New Jersey, dog bites and dog injuries are known as “strict liability.” In short, if your dog bites someone, you’re on the hook.
In some cases, however, the property owner could also be held responsible if they had knowledge there was a dangerous dog on the premises.
“Getting bit or attacked by a dog is a traumatic experience,” Mumola said. “But don’t let it also affect your financial peace of mind. You’re the victim here and are entitled to fair and reasonable compensation.”