Dog owners in California need to know that they have specific legal responsibilities under state law to maintain control over their dog so that no one is injured by their pet. Dog bites and attacks cause great pain and suffering to others every day across the nation, and in some cases, bites are so severe they cause death to a victim. In 2013, 32 people died from dog bite attacks nationwide.
Many states offer dog owners protection from liability for a first bite; California is not among those states. In this state, an owner has strict liability; they are responsible for any injury their dog causes. Whether or not an owner knows of, or believes that their animal is vicious and prone to biting is not an issue and regardless of any history that dog or breed has of being vicious.
California Dog Bites Attorney
If you are a dog owner, take time to become familiar with an excellent California Dog Bites Attorney. You never know how a dog will react to any situation, no matter how superb their training and temperament are. Certain situations can suddenly provoke even the calmest dog to react in a primitive manner by biting. Dog bites are common, and often occur within a family unit rather than with strangers. Certain dog breeds like Pit Bull, Rottweiler and Bullmastiff are proven to be exceptionally prone to attacking and biting humans viciously.
Your California Dog Bites Attorney is familiar with state Personal Injury Law. They understand what needs to be proven in a dog bite case, which is a bit different from other types of personal injury cases. It may be easier to prove because of the strict liability laws of this state. As with all injury cases, it is important to provide your attorney with as much information about the incident, including photographs, medical records, witness information and other data like police reports.
California Dog Bite Accidents
California and Texas are, unfortunately, the leaders for lethal dog attacks, with California in second place. In 2013, there were 5 deaths that were attributed to attacks by pit bulls. Three of those accidents resulted in criminal charges against the owners of the dogs. Millions of people nationwide are bitten by dogs each year, and the most vulnerable to dog bites and fatal dog attacks are young children under age 7 and other family members. These statistics not only are tragic and alarming, but should make all dog owners and dog lovers think about the care of their animals and whether or not they should own dogs of certain breeds that are known to bite.
Injuries that are the result of California Dog Bite Accidents usually involve punctures, ripping or tearing of skin, deep gashes from canine teeth, amputation of small body parts like fingers and toes, neck and head injuries and sometimes brain damage. The wounds are greatest when there are multiple dogs involved, as they respond to their innate pack mentality. Immediate medical care is needed, and the dog should also be tested for rabies, or examined by a veterinarian for other problems that could have caused aggressiveness.
Dog Bites and Liability
Since California has strict liability laws that put total responsibility for a dog’s actions upon their owners, understand that if your dog bites someone, you are always at fault. It does not matter if you have any previous knowledge about a dog’s temperament or breed potential for biting. You are expected to maintain control over your dog at all times. If your dog causes injury to another person, you are liable under California Personal Injury law. The only possible exception would be if the victim was trespassing, or the dog was a working government agency dog that was deliberately provoked to bite.
Under California Code Section 3342.5, dog owners have specific responsibilities. If their dog bites a second time, they will be investigated by their city attorney to determine if conditions of treatment or confinement of the animal exist that affect and allow the dog to be prone to bite again and continue to pose danger to humans. If so, the state can order removal or destruction of that dog.
The bottom line when it comes to dog bites and liability in California or any other state is that a dog owner is responsible for the actions of that animal. If a dog or breed is known to be of a vicious nature, special precautions are needed to protect innocent people from attack, especially family members and young children. It is a commonly said that there are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners. In the eyes of California dog bite laws, the owners are definitely, strictly liable for the actions of their dogs.
Personal Injury Compensation
All the victim needs to prove is that they were in a public or private place lawfully and injuries were caused by the dog biting them. Compensation for this type of Personal Injury is regulated by state laws and amounts vary widely. As with other Personal Injury claims, be sure that you do not make statements to anyone without first consulting your attorney. If you say the wrong thing to the wrong person, you could lose any opportunity to be awarded monetary compensation for your accident expenses.
Your California Dog Bites Attorney knows the procedures for filing for compensation within the two year statute of limitations that applies for California Personal Injury claims. In addition, time limits are just six months against government agencies. Your attorney will be able to obtain the best possible settlement offer or award for you. Monetary awards can be considerable and are related to the severity of the dog bite injury damage and care expenses.
Typical dog bites claims filed by victims or their families are made for:
- Emergency medical attention and care
- Hospital, doctor, nurse and other professional treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages due to temporary or permanent disability
- Future plastic surgery
- Psychological treatment
- Special equipment or prosthetics
- Wrongful death
- Funeral & Burial expenses
Dog owners should use extra caution when they know a dog is prone to biting. Even if they have no knowledge of this, it should be done because any dog can bite, given the right circumstances.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, consult with an experienced California Dog Bites Accident Attorney immediately. Dogs are wonderful pets in most cases, but they still have teeth and can bite suddenly and viciously; in California owners are strictly liable for injuries their dogs inflict upon others. Get the legal advice, counsel and representation you need to recover dog bite injury expenses and other awards you deserve. Work closely with your California Personal Injury for this event and any other injury accident in which you or your loved ones are involved.