New Jersey has a dog bite law with teeth. If your dog bites someone, you are legally responsible. Unlike some states, New Jersey does not allow a dog “one free bite”. Be certain you contact your homeowners insurance company to make sure your homeowners policy covers injuries and lawsuits caused by dog bites. There was a recent Hawaii jury verdict of $800,000 to the victim of someone bitten by a 100 pound Rottweiler. The dog owner claimed that the photos of the bites were computer enhanced, something that was not true. The high award was probably due to the owner failing to accept personal responsibiliy for the harm caused. If you serve on a jury, remember that any award you make will come from an insurance company and not from the home owners. Unscrupulous insurance companies try to convey the image to jurors that any award for a dog bite injury will have to be paid by the homeowner, a fact that in most cases, is not true.
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