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After animal bites, how do owners pay victims compensation?

In accordance with the laws of the state in which one lives, when one has been injured as the result of an animal attack, he or she may have legal recourse. Pet owners may be held responsible for any losses sustained in cases involving animal bites. However, many pet owners may not have the cash on hand to actually pay personal injury judgments. How do pet owners pay victims compensation if ordered by New Jersey civil courts?

New Jersey has strict liability laws regarding personal pets. This means that pet owners can be held accountable for their animal's actions regardless of whether they have knowledge of their animals' aggressive behaviors. So, if an animal attacks, whether provoked or unprovoked, an owner can be liable for all or part of the damages sustained by a victim.

If it is determined that the pet owner is considered fully or even partially responsible for an animal attack, he or she can turn to his or her insurance companies to help pay any judgments ordered by a civil court. For animal bites that occur on one's personal property, homeowners' insurance may be used to foot the bill. If an attack occurs in one's vehicle, car insurance may be utilized to help pay victim compensation. Some pet owners may have animal insurance that can be used for such situations. Finally, those pet owners who do not have insurance will have to find other ways to pay if victims are able to have their claims successfully litigated.

When it comes to animal bites, determining fault is not always cut and dry. Some pet owners may be held solely responsible, while in other cases, victims may be held partially negligent. Depending on the facts of one's case, one may be entitled to seek full or partial compensation for any damages sustained. An owner's personal ability to pay should not deter a victim from seeking to recoup any losses experienced -- as insurance may be used to compensate the injured. With the assistance of legal counsel, New Jersey residents may be able to achieve maximum compensation through litigation.

Source: FindLaw, "Animal Bites: Who Pays Damages?", Accessed on July 20, 2016

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