Dog Bite FAQs
If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, you probably have many questions about what to do next, and how to receive compensation for the damages you suffered. For this reason, we have compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions dog bite victims and their families have.
- My Child Was Bitten by a Dog in a Public Park. Does the Dog Owner Have to Pay for Our Damages?
- I Was Bitten by a Dog, but the Owner Says Her Dog Has Never Been Aggressive Before. Does the Dog Owner Still Have to Cover My Damages?
- Are There Any Circumstances in Which a Dog Owner Is Not Liable for Dog Bites?
Yes. A dog owner is legally responsible for damages caused by a dog that bites, provided the person was bitten in a public place, such as a dog park or beach, or while lawfully in a private place.
I Was Bitten by a Dog, but the Owner Says Her Dog Has Never Been Aggressive Before. Does the Dog Owner Still Have to Cover My Damages?
California is a strict liability state for dog bites. This means the dog owner cannot avoid paying damages, even if the dog showed no previous aggressive behavior. The owner is responsible for all damages resulting from the dog bite, regardless of the previous behavior of the dog in question.
Dog owners may raise the defense of trespassing against dog bite claims. Under state law, the dog owner is strictly liable, provided the person bitten was in a public place or was lawfully on private property. The only circumstances in which you may not be able to recover damages would be if you (or your child) were trespassing unlawfully on someone else’s private property when bitten. Exceptions are made for police or military dogs that were carrying out their duties when the bite occurred, or instances when the dog was provoked into taking violent action.
Injuries from dog bites can be very serious, depending on the age of the victim and the location and depth of the bites. Always get prompt medical attention for dog bites that puncture the skin. They can lead to dangerous infections, including sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body’s response to infection. Bites that cause deep puncture wounds can drive bacteria from the animal’s mouth deep under the skin of the victim.
As reported by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), a new study has identified the dog breeds most likely to bite children. Researchers found that dogs weighing 66 to 100 lbs. with short, wide heads were most likely to bite. Pit bulls still head the list, followed by mixed breeds and German shepherds. These breeds of dogs not only bite more frequently but also cause more physical damage when they attack.
The damages you are entitled to claim in a dog bite case will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. Many dog bite victims can recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages or earnings, and pain and suffering.
Vicious biting dogs can cause severe, disfiguring injuries, and young children are especially at risk of receiving serious injures if attacked by a dog. These attacks cause pain, injury, nerve damage, disfigurement and trauma to muscles, tendons, ligaments and/or bones. Dog bites can also become infected, leading to severe illness and in dire cases, even death.
- Get prompt medical attention for dog bites, particularly in the case of puncture wounds, which can cause infections from capnocytophaga canimorsus bacteria in dog saliva.
- Get the dog owner’s name, address, and contact information.
- File a report with Animal Control.
- Contact a dog bite lawyer.
Our Orange County dog bite attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie have decades of experience successfully representing injured people. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients. Contact us today if you are seeking a tough legal advocate in a dog bite injury case.
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