Did You Know Millions Of People Are Affected By Dog Bites Yearly?

Dog bites can lead to serious injuries and even death. Dogs have the potential to bite anyone – men, women, and children. No one is exempt.

The most common injuries that people sustain from dog bites are:

  • Disfigurement
  • Permanent scarring on their body
  • Head and Neck injuries
  • Facial injuries                   
  • Broken bones
  • Infections
  • Psychological Trauma
  • Nerve damage
  • Brain injuries

California Dog Bite Law

California Civil Code Section 3342 states that the owner of any dog is liable for damages if:

  • the damages were caused by a dog bite, and
  • the person bitten was in a public place or lawfully in a private place.

However, this statute does not include dog bites incurred by police or military dogs carrying out their duties.  Also, this law only applies for dog bites – any other injuries sustained by a dog would not apply under this code.

California is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bites. Strict liability means that the owner of the dog cannot get out of liability for a dog bite by claiming they did not know that their dog would act aggressively or had dangerous propensities. Under this law, the owner is responsible for all damages that result from the dog bite, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before. 

If you are bitten you only need to show that the bite occurred in a public place or in a lawfully private place. Pursuant to strict liability, you will not need to show that the owner knew the dog would bite or that the owner failed to use care to prevent the bite from happening.

If you are a victim of a dog bite, do not hesitate to call The Sterling Firm today. We can help and time is of the essence.  Critical evidence must be gathered immediately. California’s statute of limitation for filing a personal injury claim is two years. Statute of limitations is the deadline for any lawsuit to be filed in the state’s civil court system. Once the statute of limitations expires, you cannot file a claim against the owner.

Compensatory Damages for Dog Bites

Dog bite victims are usually entitled to compensation for their losses.

Compensatory damages may include: 

  • Emotional Distress
  • Loss of Wages
  • Medical Expenses
  • Physical/Vocational Therapy
  • Psychological Counseling 
  • Loss of Limbs
  • Scarring

Any surviving members of a victim’s family who was killed by a dog could possibly be entitled to damages on behalf of the victim which would be filed as a wrongful death lawsuit.

Defenses Used To Avoid Dog Bite Liability 

“Trespassing”  is the primary defense against a dog bite claim.  But remember, dog bites only require a person to have been bitten in a public place or a lawfully private place in order to collect damages.  A person who was injured due to a dog bite and who so happened to be trespassing unlawfully on private property may not be able to collect any damages.

Another defense is the dog was protecting their owner in accordance with California’s Self-Defense Law. 

If you are bitten by a dog who works for a government agency they too will have possible defenses such as:

  • The dog was carrying out official duties when the bite occurred; or  
  • The person injured by the dog bite provoked the dog.

These defenses only apply if the dog was carrying out their duties during the time the bite occurred. The agency is responsible and should have a written policy on how they handle their worker dogs.

Children And Dog Bites

Children are the most prone to dog bites simply because they are smaller in stature compared to adults. Children also tend to have unpredicted behavior and can possibly inadvertently make a movement towards a dog, which will see that movement as a threat and thus attack the child by biting them. 

  • About 50% of dog bites happen to children under the age of 12 years old; 
  • Unsupervised infants are the most prone to dog bites (it is important to refrain from leaving an unattended infant around any dogs no matter how much you may know the dog);
  • Boys are more likely than girls to get bitten by a dog; and 
  • 70% of deaths resulting from dog bites occur in children under the age of 10 years old.

Most of these dog bites tend to occur in the family’s home or in the home of someone they know. 

Types Of Dog Bite Cases

  1. Dog on Dog Bites: Aggressive dogs can be dangerous to other dogs and people. 
  2. Non-Aggressive Dog bites: A non-aggressive dog bite can happen due to a dog possibly being over excited.
  3. Dangerous Breeds: There are certain dogs that are naturally or genetically dangerous and are known to attack or bite people.
  4. Dog Attacks Towards Children: Attacks on children can be emotionally and mentally traumatizing and possibly fatal.

How To Prevent A Dog Bite

Please make sure all children are aware of how to act around dogs so that a potential bite can be prevented.

This includes: 

  • Never approaching a dog from behind
  • Never touching or going near their dog food bowl
  • Do not pull any part a dog’s body
  • Always asking the dog’s owner for permission before touching the dog
  • Avoiding any stray or unfamiliar dogs that you come in contact with
  • Remain as calm as possible around all dogs
  • Never scream
  • Avoid making eye contact especially if you do not know the dog
  • Avoid running at all costs
  • If you so happen to fall, curl up in a ball with your hands covering your head and neck

Please take the time to educate any children on how to handle and encounter a dog especially if the dog is mean and showing signs of being vicious.       

Dog bites can be very traumatizing especially for young children. The Sterling Firm will devote our time and work endlessly until we get you the settlement that you and your family deserves due to an injury or even death.

West Hollywood Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been injured, contact a personal injury attorney at The Sterling Firm. We have an attorney experienced in handling dog bite injuries. We can help. Call now to speak with a personal injury attorney.