Archive for April, 2014

New Jersey Dog Bites: Man’s Best Friend?

By admin

Friday, April 25th, 2014

As we slowly move into the spring and summer months in New Jersey after what seemed like the longest winter in history, we welcome warm and sunny weather for a change. With the improved weather, many will spend the majority of their free time enjoying the outdoors at beaches, parks and other public areas.

Many people will even have a friend accompany them to these sites. The friend of course, is of the four-legged variety. It’s more and more common for people to have their dogs outside with them enjoying the beautiful weather. After all, exercise is essential for a dog’s health.

With the freedom that the great outdoors brings, there is also a large responsibility for each dog owner when it comes to controlling his or her pet, including possible dog bites. New Jersey is what is known as a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. Under N.J.S.A. 4:19-16,

“The owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

Based on the statute, a dog owner is liable to a person for any injuries received when their dog bites them if the bite occurs in a public place, such as a beach or park. However, the dog owner is also liable if their dog bites the person who is lawfully on their private property.

In addition, because New Jersey is a strict liability state when it comes to bites, it does not matter if the dog has a history of prior bites or viciousness or whether the owner has any knowledge of previous attacks. If the bite occurs and the victim is injured, the owner is liable.

So, if you own a dog, it is your responsibility to make sure that you have control over your pet at all times. If you happen to be an unfortunate victim of a dog bite, you should know that you can be compensated for your injuries, regardless of the owner’s negligence. In the event that you are bitten, you should contact the attorneys at Pellettieri, Rabstein & Altman to discuss your injuries.

Car Accidents: Cell Phones Crackdown in New Jersey

By admin

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

As previously discussed on this blog, cell phone usage behind the wheel has become a growing concern in the state. New figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimate that 30% of car accident fatalities in New Jersey, are due to driver distraction.

In an effort to cut down on deaths caused by cell phone usage, New Jersey police departments are cracking down on drivers who are caught using their cell phone behind the wheel. While many departments have made this a focus in the past, this new campaign is quite different. For the first time, New Jersey is using federal aid to fund police activity in over 60 communities throughout the state.

So starting April 1st, these communities will be receiving funding from the state that will allow overtime for police officers to conduct distracted driving patrols. These extra patrols will allow police departments to pay overtime to their staff to specifically target cell phone users, similar to prior crackdowns on seat belt violations and drunk driving.

How serious are these departments about stepping up their efforts? One new strategy that has been discussed is using plainclothes officers on street corners so that the officer can spot the violators and report them to a nearby officer who can pull them over in his vehicle.

Some may have serious reservation with that approach, as some believe it is close to a form of entrapment. However, proponents of the crackdown efforts believe that not only will the increased presence make the roads safer, but it will lead to important arrests on drug charges and outstanding fugitive warrants.

Regardless of your opinion on the increased efforts, it is clear that the police departments in New Jersey are taking this issue seriously. Texting and/or talking on your cell phone while driving is illegal in the state and come April 1st, there will be extra pairs of eyes patrolling New Jersey roads. When you receive a ticket for a violation or when you are involved in a car accident, don’t say I didn’t warn you.