am i entitled to reimbursement for loss due to a motorcycle accident

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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am i entitled to reimbursement for loss due to a motorcycle accident

I was recently involved in a motorcycle accident in which a dog ran into the street, I was on my motorcycle doing the posted speed limit of 45 mph and I struck the dog. I was thrown from my motorcycle and sustained moderate injuries. I have not worked since the day of the accident 4/17/2019, my motorcycle is not rideable, I have laid out about 400.00 as a result of the accident. Am I entitled to reimbursement from the dogs owner since the dog was running loose? The dog was killed.

Asked on May 2, 2019 under Accident Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You may be entitled to reimbursement (though would have to sue for it, such as in small claims court, if the dog's owner will not voluntarily pay it) IF you can show that the owner was unreasonable careless. That depends on the situation: 
1) A dog simply allowed to run loose in a suburbean area would most likely be negligent or careless; the probabilty of the dog running into the street is too high for this to be reasonable behavior.
2) On the other hand, the owner would not be liable if the dog was in a gated area and a neighborhood kid let the dog loose, or the dog managed to tunnel under or jump over a seemingly secure fence, or if the dog was controlled by an "invisible fence" but against expectations and past experience managed to run through it, or if the dog was on a leash or chain which broke--i.e. if the owner took reasonable steps to secure the dog, but the dog got away without it being the owner's fault.
3) And in a rural area, where is there alot of non-road space (e.g. farms, big fields) for the dog to run on, it might not be careless to simply let the dog out, either.

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