Dogs are a popular pet and really a part of many families. Unfortunately, whether playing around or out of aggression, sometimes dogs bite people. According to the American Humane Organization, annually about 4.7 million people nationwide are bitten by dogs. About 800,000 of those require medical attention. Fifty percent of dog attacks involve children under 12. In Orange County, people and animals alike enjoy roaming the beaches. With several dog friendly beaches in our area including Huntington Dog Beach, even a visit to the beach may result in an encounter with a dog.
If you have been bitten by a dog, it is important to hold the owner responsible for the dog’s actions. Consult an Orange County personal injury attorney to understand your rights as a victim. At Silverthorne Attorneys, we understand you may be reluctant to fully pursue legal compensation for your dog bite injury, especially if the dog’s owner is a friend, but California Civil Code Section 3342 states, “The owner of a dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place…” This includes the dog owner’s property if the victim was on the property legally.
Unlike some other states, in California dog owners are held responsible the first time their dog bites someone. Once a dog has bitten someone, the owner has the “duty to take such reasonable steps as are necessary to remove any danger presented to other persons from bites inflicted by the animal.” This may mean keeping the dog completely away from visitors and in extreme cases, might even mean having the dog euthanized.
There are two main exceptions to the owners being responsible if their dogs bite people. First, a dog acting in its police or military capacity is exempt from this. Second, if someone is bitten while trespassing, they are not protected on this code. If you feel you have a dog bite case, contact us. We will work to hold the dog’s owner responsible.