San Diego Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog owners in California need to understand that they have specific legal responsibilities under state law to maintain control over their dogs to prevent injuries. Dog bites and attacks cause significant pain, suffering, and in some cases, death, to victims every day across the nation. In 2021, for instance, dogs bit over 4.5 million people in the United States, with many of these incidents leading to severe injuries or fatalities.

California’s Strict Liability Law

Unlike many states that offer dog owners protection from liability for a first bite, California follows a strict liability rule. According to California Civil Code Section 3342, dog owners are responsible for any injury their dog causes, regardless of the animal’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of its propensity to bite. This means that whether or not an owner knows or believes that their animal is vicious, they are still held liable for the damages caused by their dog.

The Role of a San Diego Dog Bite Attorney

If you are a dog owner, it is prudent to familiarize yourself with a reputable California Dog Bite Attorney. Despite training and temperament, dogs can react unpredictably to certain situations, leading to bites or attacks. Certain breeds, such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Bullmastiffs, are statistically more likely to cause serious injuries when they attack.

A skilled California Dog Bite Attorney understands state personal injury laws and what needs to be proven in a dog bite case. They can assist in gathering necessary evidence, such as photographs, medical records, witness statements, and police reports, to build a robust case.

San Diego Dog Bite Incidents

California and Texas are often the leading states in terms of lethal dog attacks. In 2019, there were 5 fatalities in California due to dog attacks, with pit bulls being involved in the majority of these incidents. Children under age 7 and elderly family members are particularly vulnerable to dog bites and fatal attacks. These statistics underscore the importance of responsible dog ownership and the potential consequences of neglecting this duty.

Common Injuries from Dog Bites

Injuries resulting from dog bites can range from minor punctures to severe, life-threatening conditions. Common injuries include:

  • Puncture wounds and lacerations
  • Deep gashes from canine teeth
  • Amputations of fingers and toes
  • Neck and head injuries
  • Potential brain damage in severe cases

Immediate medical attention is crucial following a dog bite. The injured person should be treated promptly, and the dog should be tested for rabies or other health issues that might have caused the aggressive behavior.

Liability in San Diego Dog Bite Cases

Given California’s strict liability laws, dog owners are always at fault if their dog bites someone. Owners are expected to maintain control over their dogs at all times, and any failure to do so can result in legal liability. The only exceptions might involve trespassers or if the dog was a working government dog provoked to bite.

Under California Civil Code Section 3342.5, dog owners have specific responsibilities. If a dog bites someone a second time, authorities will investigate to determine if the dog poses an ongoing danger to humans. If necessary, the state can order the removal or euthanasia of the dog.

San Diego Personal Injury Compensation

Victims of dog bites in California can seek compensation for their injuries. The victim only needs to prove that they were lawfully present in a public or private place and that the injury resulted from a dog bite. Compensation can cover various damages, including:

  • Emergency medical care and ongoing treatment
  • Hospital, doctor, and nursing fees
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages due to temporary or permanent disability
  • Future plastic surgery and rehabilitation
  • Psychological counseling
  • Special equipment or prosthetics
  • Wrongful death, funeral, and burial expenses

It is crucial to consult a San Diego Dog Bite Attorney to navigate the complexities of filing for compensation. The attorney will ensure that the claim is filed within the two-year statute of limitations applicable to California personal injury claims. For claims against government agencies, the time limit is just six months.

Working with a Dog Bite Attorney

A dog bite attorney will investigate all aspects of the incident, including medical and injury reports. They will interview witnesses, obtain expert analysis, and compile a strong case to present during settlement negotiations or in court. An essential aspect of the case is determining whether the victim bore any partial responsibility, as California’s “pure comparative negligence rule” can reduce the compensation awarded based on the victim’s contribution to the incident.

Preventing Dog Bite Incidents

Dog owners should take extra precautions, especially if they own breeds known to be more aggressive. Even without prior knowledge of a dog’s propensity to bite, it is wise to maintain control and take preventive measures to ensure the safety of others. This includes proper training, socialization, and supervision of the dog.

Conclusion

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, consult an experienced San Diego Dog Bite Attorney immediately. Dogs are generally wonderful pets, but they can still bite suddenly and viciously. In California, owners are strictly liable for the injuries their dogs inflict on others. Get the legal advice, counsel, and representation you need to recover dog bite injury expenses and other damages you deserve. Working closely with an attorney is essential for navigating the aftermath of a dog bite incident and ensuring that your rights are protected.

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Dog Bite Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/dog-bite-prevention/index.html
  2. American Veterinary Medical Association. (2020). Dog Bite Facts. Retrieved from https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/dog-bite-prevention
  3. California Civil Code Section 3342. (2021). Dog Bite Statute. Retrieved from https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=3342.&lawCode=CIV
  4. Insurance Information Institute. (2020). Dog Bite Liability. Retrieved from https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-dog-bites
  5. National Canine Research Council. (2019). Dog Bite-Related Fatalities. Retrieved from https://www.nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/dogbites/fatalities

By understanding your rights and responsibilities as a dog owner and knowing when to seek legal assistance, you can better protect yourself and others from the consequences of dog bite incidents.