While our canine friends bring companionship, pleasure and even protection to our family, dog bites occur in far greater frequency and severity than most people would like to believe. Unfortunately, thousands of people being bitten, mauled or attacked by a dog each year across the United States.
Most dog bites are relatively minor and can be treated with over-the-counter remedies at home. However, the more serious dog bites can cause painful and life altering injuries, including permanent disfigurement, scarring, psychological trauma and sometimes death. These injuries will require emergency medical treatment, often resulting in costly medical bills that can continue several years.
A furry animal is often an tempting lure to young children, who tend to be at an increased risk for face bite injuries due to the fact that they are more likely to be at a height where they are interacting at eye-level and their sudden actions can be startling to a dog.
Especially if a particular dog’s behavior around kids is uncertain, parents should always be present and vigilant when their children are interacting with animals. However, even the most alert parents cannot always prevent a sudden attack from occurring.
Unlike some states where the plaintiff must prove that the pet owner knew or should have known of the dog’s aggressive tendencies, California is a strict liability state. This difference means that owners are responsible for their dogs and may be held liable if their dog attacks a person, whether or not the owner knew that the dog was aggressive or likely to bite.
In any lawsuit brought forth due to a dog bite or dog attack, the dog owner may be held personally responsible for the actions of their animal. In some cases, the bite or attack is covered by their homeowner’s insurance, depending on where the bite took place and what the insurance policy explicitly covers. If the dog is a stray or there is no known owner, a victim of a dog bite may not have legal recourse.
As the plaintiff in a dog bite lawsuit, the victim or the person suing on their behalf must demonstrate with evidence that the defendant is responsible because they were the owner of the dog at the time the bite occurred. Additionally, owners are only liable if the person bitten was in a public place or on private property “lawfully”. In the case of trespassing, the dog owner may have a defense to a dog bite lawsuit.
If you or a loved one have been attacked by a dog or other animal, you will most assuredly have many questions about your rights and the merits of your case. Contacting a personal injury lawyer with experience handling dog/animal bite cases may be your best chance at receiving compensation for your injuries. Remeber that time is of the essence when filing a case because the statute of limitations for a dog bite lawsuit in California is 2 years. That means claims filed after this time period will be time-barred and dismissed.
A severe dog bite will likely result in costly medical bills, lost time at work for an undetermined amount of time, and expenses that are more difficult to measure like pain and suffering. Some victims may need facial reconstruction surgery or other plastic surgery as a result of their injuries. Those with permanent injuries may also wish to seek compensation for future lost earnings, if the effects of the dog bite will likely affect their future job prospects.
Contact our San Bernardino County Personal Injury Attorney at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away. You can even use our online contact form, and we’ll reply to you quickly.
Fields Marked With An ” *” Are Required