Dog Bite Animal Attack Injury
California Dog Bite Statute
The state of California is home to a staggering amount of incidents that involve injuries caused by animals, most commonly people getting bitten by a dog. The state is among the leaders in the nation when it comes to the amount of injuries and fatalities that are caused by canine attacks. Because of this, California has adopted very stringent laws that hold pet owners responsible for the actions of their animals.
California's tough stance on dog attacks categorizes the state as a "strict liability" state. This means that the dog owner is held responsible for damages under these conditions, (1) the injury resulted from being bitten and not a scratch or other injury, and (2) the bite occurred while in a public place or lawfully on private property. Because California is a "strict liability" state, it is very difficult for a pet owner to escape liability if their dog bites someone. Under this statue the pet owner is still liable even if the dog has no history of aggressive behavior, the owner had no idea the dog could become aggressive, and the owner took reasonable measures to prevent the incident.
Common Scenarios where Dog Bites Occur
Most commonly people sustain injuries due to canine bites while in public places. Common scenarios include: an offleash dog bites someone at a park or in a neighborhood, leashed dogs passing each other on a walk begin to fight and injure a person who's trying to break it up, or a dog escapes from it's house/yard and attacks a person in the area. Also it is not uncommon for a canine to bite a person who is lawfully in a private place, such as a house guest or a hired guest (mailman, electriction, etc). California law holds the pet owner liable for damages in these situations simply because that person has ownership of the animal, and therefore is considered responsible for its actions.
Common Wounds Sustained due to Canine Attacks
The most frequently sustained injuries from dog attacks are puncture wounds and lacerations from the canine's teeth violently contacting the persons skin and extremities. Along with these types of open wounds comes bacterial infection or infectious disease, such as rabies, that result from the exposed punctures or lacerations. Extremities, such as the arms, hands, and fingers, as well as the head and face is where a person is usually most vulnerable to sustaining injury due to a canine attack. Dog bites can result in permanent and irreversible injury, such as the lost of digits (fingers and toes) as well as permanent scarring.
Defense Under the Dog Bite Statue
Under the statue liability is based upon ownership of the canine in question. An owner of a dog is not exempt from liability due to ignorance or reasonable measures taken to prevent an incident. In short, if you own a canine and it bites a person who is in a public place or who is lawfully on your property then you, as the owner, are responsible. If a dog bites somebody while on private property, the owner may not be liable if the victim was a trespasser. In more rare cases, the state of California may deny recovery to a victim that was proved to have provoked the dog, or assumed the risk of a dog attack while on private property. The "strict liability" provisions under the statue only apply to injured that resulted from an actual dog bite. If a canine jumps on a person and causes them to fall down and sustain injuries, for example, then any recovery would not be under the dog bite statue but under a theory of negligence.
Have You Been Bitten by a Dog?
Unfortunately, incidents like dog attacks happen far too often in the state of California. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a canine bite injury it is important to contact an attorney and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Seek advise and guidance from an attorney at The Napolin Law Firm, in order to get the treatment and the compensation you deserve. At The Napolin Law Firm, we are here to help you prove your case, starting with a free consultation! Call to speak with a lawyer today about receiving compensation for economic damages, as well as pain and suffering, free of charge.