You need to know you have rights if you are the victim of a dog bite. If you are in California, it is important to know that it is one of several states which have statutes which make dog owners liable if their dogs cause injury. Commonly known as dog-bite statutes, most of these laws include all kinds of dog-inflicted injuries, not just bites. Strict liability statutes impose liability without fault – that is, an injured person does not have to prove that the dog owner did anything wrong. If you or a friend or family member have suffered injuries caused by “man’s best friend” you may need some legal advice to know how to proceed.
Say a neighbor’s Pitt Bull Terrier bit your child while you were both visiting. The neighbor feels they have no responsibilities for the medical bills associated with the dog attack injuries because the dog had never bitten anyone else before. In California, it does not matter that the dog had no prior history of being a vicious dog. This is covered by our strict liability statute which demands the owner be responsible for all damages and injuries caused by the attacking dog. It doesn’t matter what the neighbor fells, the law is the law. They are responsible.
Under California dog bite laws, the dog owner has an obligation to restrain his or her dog. If you were legally on their property the dog owner will be strictly liable for all personal injuries, and/or property damage caused by the animal in question. This would include any of your property which was involved in the dog mauling: clothes which were torn, a backpack that was chewed, or any other item which was damaged by the dog bites.
All dog bites in California which break the skin or have caused puncture wounds should be reported IMMEDIATELY to the local county animal control. If the wounds are very serious, the police or county sheriff’s department should be notified as well. This will also protect your case if you need to move forward with a dog bite lawsuit. Never try to settle by yourself with the dog owner. Contact the law offices of Jeffrey Dawson, a qualified dog bite attorney in Irvine. He will review the facts of your California dog bite case with you and determine the best approach for you. As each dog bite claim is unique, there is no pat answer to a possible settlement amount. You may be able to receive compensation for any medical bills and lost wages as well as pain and suffering, psychological trauma, physical disability, and surgeries for dog bite scars.