Dog Bites in California
Around five million people are bitten by dogs each year, and many of those bites cause injuries that require medical treatment. Some dog bites can cause lifelong disability or severe disfigurement. It’s important to know that bite victims in California are often entitled to compensation from the dog owner when their pet causes injuries. If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, it’s important to speak to an experienced California dog bite attorney as soon as possible to discuss your claim. At Silva Injury Law, we’re kind to our clients and tough on our opponents – that’s why we’re one of the top California dog bite attorneys with offices in Merced, Turlock, Modesto, and Monterey.
California Dog Bite Laws
California law is generous to victims of dog bites. Some states make it difficult to sue dog owners, with “one bite laws” that force victims to prove that the owner knew the dog was aggressive. In contrast, California imposes strict liability on owners of dogs that cause injuries to others. There are some exceptions to strict liability that you should be aware of:
- You must be lawfully on the property. Dog owners are not strictly liable to trespassers, but can still be sued for negligence.
- Law enforcement is only strictly liable for innocent bystanders that are bitten by dogs. Suspects can only sue for negligence.
- People taking care of a dog that are not the owners cannot be held strictly liable, but can be sued for negligence.
- Veterinarians and kennel workers cannot sue owners for strict liability if they are bitten, as they have assumed the risk by this type of employment. They can sue the owners for negligence.
- Owners cannot be held strictly liable when victims are partially at fault due to annoying, harassing, or provoking the animal.
What Are Some Common Dog Bites Injuries?
Dog bites can cause significant permanent injuries. A dog’s jaws can be very powerful, crushing muscles and tearing skin. These are some of the common injuries caused by dog bites:
- Fractured Bones
- Torn Ligaments
- Puncture Wounds
- Traumatic Amputations
- Disfiguring Scars
The dog owner is not just liable for the injuries directly inflicted by the dog, but also for any injuries sustained while running away or defending yourself.
What Types Of Damages Are Available To Dog Bite Victims?
Dog bite victims can collect significant sums of money for economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are calculable sums for the following types of expenses and losses:
- Lost Earnings
- Lost Future Earning Capacity
- Doctors Fees
- Hospital Expenses
- Testing Costs
- Rehabilitation Facilities
- Physical Therapy
- Devices and Prosthetics
- Long Term Care
Noneconomic damages are for the subjective impact of the injuries on a person’s life such as:
- Emotional distress
- Psychological impact of disfigurement
- Loss of pleasure from life
- Inability to perform daily activities
How Should I Document My Dog Bite Case?
If you’re bitten by a dog, make sure to get the owner’s name, address, and phone number before leaving the scene. If you’ve been seriously injured, call 911 to call the police and an ambulance to the scene. Take pictures and videos of the owner and the dog before seeking medical treatment. It’s also a good idea to snap photos of street signs to document the exact location of the incident. Keep any paperwork you receive from medical providers to make it easier for your attorney to obtain your medical records.
California Dog Bite Attorney
Not every California personal injury attorney has experience handling dog bite cases, so be sure to choose a lawyer that specializes in this type of case. An attorney that’s handled many dog bite cases is better able to get you the largest amount of compensation possible for the injuries you sustained. At Silva Injury Law, we’re kind to our clients and tough on our opponents – that’s why we’re one of the top California dog bite attorneys with offices in Merced, Turlock, Modesto, and Monterey.