My child was playing at a park and she decided to pet a strange dog. Unfortunately, she was bitten on the arm before I could get to her and now she is afraid of all dogs. Can I sue for my daughter’s injuries?

When you sue for injuries, you should remember that you are suing the dog’s owner. So if the “strange” dog was a stray dog with no owner, then there is no one to sue.  But, if the dog was owned by a person, then your daughter might have a claim.

The law in New Jersey holds dog owners responsible for dog bites.  The law in New York is less favorable for dog bite victims. Most dog owners are not responsible for injuries the first time their pet bites someone. The reason owners are not responsible is because the pet owner had no notice of their dog’s “vicious propensities.” But once the dog bites someone, there is notice and the pet owner is responsible for medical bills and pain and suffering your daughter endured. The location of the dog bite incident will generally determine which state law applies.

Dog bite claims are generally covered by the pet owner’s renter’s or homeowner’s insurance.