| Read Time: 3 minutes | Dog Bite

Defenses to Dog Bite Claims in California

When someone is bitten by a dog in California, it is common that the dog’s owners will be held strictly liable for any injuries which result from the bite. There are, however, a number of exceptions which exist that may decrease the liability of the owner.   If you have been involved in a dog bite accident, reach out to an attorney at Silva Injury Law who can help ensure you are fairly and adequately represented.   UNDERSTANDING STRICT LIABILITY   In California, the statute relevant to dog bites makes clear that a dog owner can be held strictly liable when their dog causes any injury. This requires the owner to be responsible for compensation for injuries if the dog was owned by the defendant, the victim was on public property or on private property with permission or invitation, the victim was actually bitten by the defendant’s dog and the victim sustained an injury from the bite.   There is not a “one free bite” rule in California, so even if a dog has not bitten anyone before or shown any vicious tendencies, the owner cannot avoid liability. There are, however, a number of defenses which may reduce or rid the owner of liability.   POTENTIAL DEFENSES   The Bite The statute refers very specifically to dog bites, so it is necessary that the injury sustained was from an actual bite. If the victim was knocked over or jumped on by the dog, then the statute does not apply. Even if a dog’s action of jumping or knocking over a victim, and this causes an injury, the victim may not be able to recover under strict liability.   It is not necessary for the dog bite to break the skin to qualify under the statute. If, because of the bite, a victim experiences nerve damage or bruising rather than broken skin, this is sufficient to satisfy the statute.   Trespass In order to recover for the dog bite under strict liability, it is necessary that the victim was either on public property or lawfully on private property when the attack took place. If the victim was trespassing on private property at the time of the accident, the trespass will constitute a defense for a claim of strict liability.   Assuming the Risk If the victim of the dog bite assumed the risk then this will bar their recovery under the strict liability statute. To assume the risk essentially means that the victim consented to participate in an activity wherein they knew of the dangerous nature and potential outcome. As this relates to dog bites, if a victim interacts with a dog despite being informed by an owner of its potential to bite, or if the victim ignores a “beware of dog” sign, these will prevent a victim from recovering under strict liability. This defense is also applicable to those who work with an assume control of the dog, such as groomers, trainers, veterinarian, etc.   Provocation If the victim provokes the dog attack by teasing, hitting, abusing, tormenting, or chasing the animal, they may not sue under strict liability. Even when the provocation is unintentional, such as disturbing a dog’s food, invading its space, or stepping on it or its tail may be a sufficient defense.   This does not apply to children under the age of 5, however, as they are not old enough to know to avoid provoking an animal.   CONTACT AN ATTORNEY   If you have been injured in a dog bite accident, reach out today to the attorneys at Silva Injury Law, who can assess your case and help you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Dog Bite

California Dog Bite Law: When Bite Occurs on Private vs. Public Property

According to the California Department of Public Health, there are around five million people who suffer a dog bite injury every single year in the United States. While some dog bites are minor, some bites are serious and can require treatment. When children are involved in a dog bite incident it may become fatal.   If you or a loved one has been injured due to a dog bite, reach out to an attorney at Silva Injury Law who can ensure that you are fairly compensated for any pain, suffering, and damages that resulted from the dog bite.   CALIFORNIA LAWS RELATED TO DOG BITES   California law has addressed the issue of liability in dog bite cases. The law is clear that the owner of the dog is liable for injuries from a dog bite when 1) their dog was the cause of the injuries, and 2) the person who was injured was in a public place, or was legally in a private place when the bite took place.   It is important to note that the law only covers injuries that are a result of a dog bite. These laws do not apply the same in situations of a dog jumping, running into people, or scratching.   THE LOCATION THE BITE OCCURRED   The location that the bite takes place, whether on private or public property, can impact whether or not an owner is liable for the injuries resulting from the dog bite. In order for the dog owner to be held liable for the various damages resulting from a dog bite, it must occur on either public property, or on private property where the victim was permitted to be. Therefore, if you were walking on a public sidewalk, or in a public park, you can seek compensation for any injuries resulting from the dog bite. Additionally, if you were lawfully on another person’s property for any reason, and you were attacked and bitten by a dog, you can obtain compensation for the injuries obtained.   Therefore, when a person who was injured by the dog bite was illegally on the property, either by trespassing or entertaining private property without permission, they may not have a claim for the injury at all.   HOW AN ATTORNEY CAN HELP IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED BY A DOG BITE   If you have been injured in a dog bite attack, an attorney can help you obtain the financial reimbursement to cover the necessary medical and psychological treatment to heal from the attack. The law in California allows that victims of a dog bite attack are able to seek compensation for their injuries. Compensation can include reimbursement for the following:   Past, present, and future medical expenses Lost wages for time missed due to the attack and necessary requirement Pain and suffering, both physical and emotional Loss of earning potential Property damage.   If you or your child were injured by a dog bite, reach out to an attorney at Silva Injury Law who is experienced representing victim of dog bites and can ensure you are adequately compensated for your pain and suffering.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Dog Bite

California Dog Bite Injury – What’s my Case Potentially Worth?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about four and a half million dog bites occur each year in the United States, with close to a million requiring medical attention. The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that close to $100,000,000 a year is paid out to dog bite injury victims. Most dog bites cause only minor injuries, but in some cases, they can cause disfigurement and long-term disability. That’s why it’s important to consult with an experienced California dog bite injury attorney that can help you determine what your case is worth.   Dog Owners Are “Strictly Liable” In California California’s strict liability for dog bites law holds owners responsible for the damages caused by their dog’s bite as long as the victim was legally on the property where they were bitten. Unlike some states, it is not necessary to prove that the dog had vicious propensities or had ever bitten anybody else. The liability of the owner extends to anybody charged with the responsibility of caring for the dog such as a friend, neighbor or dog walker. The major exceptions are for dogs that were performing military or police duty when the accident occurred.   What About Support Dogs? Emotional support animals are not required to undergo specific training in California, so it’s not uncommon for them to attack people. Despite the protections afforded people with disabilities that require the use of an emotional support animal, they can still be held liable when their dogs attack others. If the owner of an emotional support animal refuses to provide you with information, you may need to call 911 for assistance.   Medical Treatment After A Dog Bite It’s important to seek treatment immediately after a dog bite due to the risk of infection. The saliva can contain bacteria that can multiply quickly and cause major complications and there is always the risk of rabies if you don’t know the owner. Some injuries from dog bites can cause life threatening loss of blood from deep wounds, fractures, dislocations, and cosmetically sensitive injuries that require immediate attention from a plastic surgeon. Follow up treatment for wound care and other injuries is usually required.   Assessing the Value of a Dog Bite Injury Minor bites in areas that are not cosmetically sensitive usually resolve quickly and result in settlements of $50,000 or less. Victims that have been severely bitten on the face can receive very large amounts of compensation for the pain, suffering and humiliation they will face for the rest of their lives. Settlements and verdicts for facial disfigurement can be hundreds of thousands of dollars, even more if the victim is young, single and female. In between these two extremes there are many victims that have scars in less prominent areas and lost time from work as a result of their dog bite injury. It’s important to speak to an experienced California dog bite injury attorney about your particular case.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Dog Bite

How Can I Collect Compensation for A Dog Bite In California?

  If you’ve been seriously injured by a dog attack in California, you can collect compensation from the owner of the dog, or anybody else that had custody or control of the animal at the time of the attack. As long as you were lawfully on the property, you can make a claim under California’s “strict liability” code for pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost earnings, and other damages. If you’ve been a victim of a dog bite in California, it’s important that you speak to an experienced California dog bite attorney, as soon as possible, to discuss your claim.   California Holds Dog Owners Strictly Liable California Civil Code  §3342 imposes strict liability for dog bites in California. This means that a dog owner is responsible for injuries caused by their dog, even if the dog has no history of being aggressive and has never bit anybody before. This applies not just to the dog owner, but to any person that’s in charge of the dog at the time of the attack. If the attacks take place at somebody’s home, the homeowner or renter’s insurance policy will cover the loss, and a business’s insurance will similarly provide coverage. Trespassers are excluded from collecting under strict liability, but can make a claim if an owner intentionally prompted his dog to attack you, even though you posed no imminent risk.   When Would I Be Barred From Suing? California’s strict liability applies only when an innocent person is attacked by a dog. If the owner can show that your injury was a result of your teasing or abuse of their dog, your claim will be barred. The best way to assess the strength of your claim is to speak to a California dog bite lawyer as soon as possible after a dog attack. If you or a family member have recently been bitten by a dog and are wondering what your options are, give us a call at (209) 600-4389 to set-up a free consultation. At Silva Injury Law Inc., our philosophy of legal practice is one of individual attention to each client. We focus on promoting healing through compassionate advocacy.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Dog Bite

Beware of Dog…

I love dogs as much as the next person. As a matter of fact, I love all animals. Growing up, I was very fascinated with animals, a love I have to this day. I still look forward to watching Jack Hanna and Jeff Corwin sharing their animal adventures every Saturday morning while jogging on a treadmill at my local Planet Fitness club. However, the reality is, dogs can behave in a dangerous manner, even when they’re unprovoked. If you own a dog, live near someone who owns a dog, or interact with any dogs no matter how remote the circumstances present themselves, this blog post is for you!   Dogs can bite! When they do, it can be devastating. When was the last time you read or saw in the news, “Child mauled to death by dog”. Probably not that long ago. I’ve represented several people who have been mauled by a dog or had a child mauled by a dog. The injuries are often times devastating. Physical scars remain for years as a constant reminder of the traumatic event suffered by the victim. A common response by the dog owner is, “My dog has never ever behaved in that manner. He/She is a very nice pooch.” This fact does not get a dog owner off the hook when it comes to their legal responsibility for their dog.   California is a statutory strict liability state. California’s dog bite law makes the owner of a dog strictly liable for any dog bite from the moment the person owns the dog, provided that the victim was not trespassing, provoking the dog, injured by his employer’s dog while on the job, or performing a paid service involving the dog. The victim is not required to prove negligence or anything else.   If you own a dog, it is imperative that you have some type of insurance to cover you in the event your dog attacks another person. Oftentimes, if you have homeowners or renters insurance, you should be covered. Make sure to check your policy to ensure that you are protected. If you or a family member have been attacked by a dog, contact a personal injury lawyer today. CALL SILVA INJURY LAW TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE IF YOU OR A FAMILY MEMBER HAVE BEEN ATTACKED BY A DOG. ALL LEGAL CONSULTATIONS ARE FREE!

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