What Can Happen When a Victim Shares Blame in a Dog Bite Incident?
Getting bit and injured by someone else’s dog is a very unfortunate situation to be in, but if you plan on filing a lawsuit you need to be aware that the owner of the dog, the owner’s insurance company and their attorney will all try to make the argument that you should share some of the blame for what happened regardless of the exact set of circumstances. Whether they try to make the claim that you did something to provoke the dog or that you were trespassing in an area that you should have not been when the bite occurred it is best to know in advance that even though you were the one who was bit there will be a defense that is brought up against you. This then leaves the question, what can happen when a victim shares blame in a dog bite incident?
When it comes to the rules of shared fault, different states have different rules on how they choose to handle it, but typically there are three different ways they define shared negligence:
- “Pure” Comparative Negligence – A number of states use this approach which states that any compensation for the attack will be reduced by a percentage equal to the plaintiff’s share of the fault even if said plaintiff is mostly to blame for the event. So for example if you are found to be 15% at fault for an accident you would be able to claim 85% of the compensation that would have been owed to you if you were not at fault at all.
- Modified Comparative Negligence – Most states including New Jersey use this modified rule which is similar to pure comparative negligence except that the plaintiff will not receive compensation if their share of the blame hits a certain percentage usually 50% or higher.
- Contributory Negligence – A small number of states claim that a plaintiff cannot recover any damages at all if they were in any way responsible for the actions that lead to the dog bite to occur. This means that if you are even 1% responsible for an attack that occurs you would be entitled to zero compensation after the fact.
A large number of dog-bite injury claims end up being settled before they go to court. However, even though this means your state’s comparative or contributory negligence laws do not come into play in a trial they still have a huge impact on the negotiation of your settlement. This is why it is important to be aware that any settlement you receive will be taking into account your actions in the attack when deciding on the offer you receive.
Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one have suffered an unfortunate attack such as this you will want a knowledgeable attorney like Christopher A. Brown to guide you through the many complicated laws and get you the compensation you are entitled to. Call us or fill out the from on this page for your initial consultation today.
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