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What to do when an animal bites in New Jersey

The Disease Control and Prevention reports that, across the United States, 4.5 million people each year are bitten by dogs and 400,000 by cats. Cats and dogs are the only animals included in these statistics. Without a doubt there are many more cases of animal bites that most likely did not require any type of medical attention. In New Jersey, recent changes require that all animal-related injuries be reported.

All injuries from an animal, no matter how small should be cleaned immediately. Hundreds of thousands each year visit local hospitals with infections in their wounds because of improper cleaning. Over 100,000 people end up in hospital emergency rooms suffering from cat scratch fever.

Animal bites, no matter how minor are to be reported to the local Health Department. All medical facilities are required to do this as well. Protocol after this point is to quarantine the animal for no less than 10 days so that it may be observed for signs of illness. If it is determined the animal is infected with rabies, vaccines must be administered with three days of being bitten.

There is nothing more cute than a puppy or kitten until a person is bitten and the bite requires medical attention. When animal bites cause serious injuries, it makes sense to seek professional advice from a personal injury attorney. New Jersey is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites, meaning that the owner is financially responsible for bite injuries caused by the owner's dog. Only two defenses are typically available in a related civil court proceeding -- that the dog bite victim was trespassing at the time of the incident or was partially responsible for the attack (in which case the damages awarded would be reduced by the victim's degree of fault).

Source: thedailyjournal.com, "Dog bites: What should I do?", Bev Greco, Aug. 27, 2017

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