A dog bite attack may not strike some as a serious incident; however, they can actually be incredibly terrifying and sometimes even life-threatening. Dog bites can cause serious injuries and lead to extensive medical bills. Dog bites also occur much more frequently than one might imagine. In fact, millions of people are bitten by dogs nationwide each year. If you are the victim of a dog bite, it is possible to receive proper financial compensation with the help of an experienced attorney.
California is one of the leading states of lethal dog attacks, with over 600,000 people bitten annually and 5 deaths from Pitbull attacks in 2013. In turn, California has enacted strict dog bite statutes which hold dog owners responsible for a dog bite even if the dog has never bitten or acted aggressively before. If you are bitten, you may only have to prove that you were either in a public place or in a private place lawfully in order to be eligible for compensation. This contrasts starkly with other states that have a “one bite rule,” in which dog owners can be vindicated if it is the first time their dog has attacked a person. Common injuries stemming from dog bites include (but are not limited to) punctures, ripping or tearing of the skin, deep gashes from canine teeth, loss of small body parts such as fingers and toes, and occasionally neck and head injuries.
Furthermore, young children and elderly persons are especially susceptible to dog bite attacks. In California, children under the age of 15 accounts for almost 65% of dog bite victims. Nationwide, children account for 79% of all fatal dog attacks. Dog bites should, therefore, be taken very seriously and can be difficult to navigate in a legal setting. Luckily, we focus on making sure that dog bite victims don’t go unaccounted for.
In order to make a claim under California’s Dog Bite Statute, a plaintiff must prove the following:
There are also other factors that can impact the degree of compensation a victim of a dog bite might be able to receive. For example, physical dismemberment, scarring, and the location of the scar(s) could make one eligible for more compensation. The age of the victim could also make a difference in terms of the amount of compensation. Forms of damages that one might be entitled to recover include medical bills, physical therapy, lost wages/earning capacity, pain, and suffering, and psychological counseling. While California’s laws are strict for dog owners, it is also important to be aware that there are several defenses that can be made to thwart a plaintiff’s claim. Defenses that dog owners can make primarily consist of the following:
If the defendant can prove any of these defenses, then one might not be eligible for compensation. It is therefore incredibly important to have an attorney who understands the ins and outs of California’s Dog Bite Statues and in turn, help you fight for the best possible settlement. No matter how severe the case, we are here to help.
If you or someone you know has experienced a dog bite or attack, please call for a free consultation at 1 (888) 350-9338.