More than four million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States. Unfortunately, this problem is growing in California. The bite of an adult dog can exert close to 200 pounds of pressure per square inch. Often these types of attacks can lead to the victim suffering long term physical and emotional repercussions.
The most common victims of vicious dog bites are children. Injuries to children generally occur in the face, neck, and chest areas. Children are fragile and can be vulnerable to broken bones, brain damage and in very serious cases, life threatening injuries. The end result of these personal injuries can be huge medical bills, sometimes involving reconstructive surgery. Insurance companies in the United States alone will likely pay out well over $300 million to injured dog bite victims this year.
In regards to dog bites, California is a strict liability state. This means that in order to recover damages on a dog bite claim, there are two requirements: (1) a person suffered some type of injury due to a dog bite, and (2) that person was legally on the property where the dog bite occurred. In California, any person may be liable if they were negligent, or maintained custody or control of the dog with knowledge that it was dangerous or aggressive. Dog owners are not liable if their dog bites someone and the person bitten was:
- A veterinarian treating the dog
- A trespasser
- Provoking the dog
- Commiting a felony
The person who was bitten by the dog should be able to show the following:
- That he or she was, in fact, bitten
- Proven identity of the owner
- That at the time of the bite, he or she was in a public place or lawfully in a private place
- That the bite caused injury, suffering, loss or harm
There are certain exceptions and limitations to this strict liability rule and it is important to have attorneys who are skilled in his field.
Dog bites are generally the owner’s problem. However, it can be hard to bring a claim against the dog owner for many reasons. Finding a dog owner who will not only admit to owning his or her dog, but who also has insurance to cover the dog’s actions can be a difficult task. Our attorneys have perfect their skills in using different tactics to recover a fair amount of damages for you and your family.
Dog owners are responsible to keep potentially vicious pets or dangerous dogs under control. While any dog has the potential to bite children or adults causing serious injuries, the Center for Disease Control considers a few breeds more likely than others to bite, including:
- Pit bulls
- German shepherds
- Alaskan malamutes
- Doberman pinschers
- Great Danes
- Saint Bernards
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If my neighbor’s dog bit me on my property, do I have a legal claim?
A: Depending on where you live you may only need to prove that the dog injured you. If your state does not have strict liability laws, you may need to show that your neighbor knew or should have known of the dog’s vicious propensities before it attacked you. You should contact our attorneys for further clarifications.
Q: A police K-9 unit dog bit me. Do I have a claim?
A: The police are not allowed to use unreasonable force when making an arrest or performing any other duty. The improper use of a police dog can constitute unreasonable force. If the police used unreasonable force with you, which is something we can help you determine, you may be compensated for your injuries.
Q: If a dog owner violates my city’s leash law, is he or she liable for injuries caused by her dog?
A: If an owner violates a leash law, and their dog attacks someone, many courts will hold that the owner was negligent, and that the injured person is entitled to compensation from the dog owner.
Q: Do I have a claim if I went to a house for work related reasons, and was bitten by the property owner’s dog?
A: Usually property owners have a legal responsibility to take reasonable efforts to protect you from injury. Thus, the homeowner might be responsible for keeping the pet away from you, or at least warn you of the presence of the animal.
Free Lawyer Consultation
Our attorneys have helped many people in the greater Los Angeles area with dog bites. To talk to an attorney at our Los Angeles office about your dog bite case, call (310) 478-4349 or fill out the contact form on this site.