Dogs are part of many people’s families, but unfortunately, they can become an aggressive part of the family. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website, roughly 4.5 million people annually are victims of dog bite attacks. Of those, about one-fifth require medical attention. Between 2005 and 2012, 251 people in the United States alone died from dog bites. In the first half of 2013, nearly 20 people died from dog bite injuries. The two most common groups of dog bite victims are children and senior citizens. Pit bulls and Rottweilers accounted for 73% of the recorded dog bite deaths between 2005 and 2012.
If you or a family member was the victim of a dog attack, it is important to know you have rights. California Civil Code 3342, states, “The owner of any 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, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of the such viciousness.” Some states have laws which allow for basically one free bite before the owner is held responsible for the dog’s actions, but California law makes the owner responsible the first time a dog bites someone. If a dog has bitten someone, the owner must take action to prevent it from happening again.
Police and military dogs in the course of work are exempt from this as long as the dog bit the person as part of its police or military responsibility. This includes defending itself, a peace officer, or another person as well as assisting police in the apprehension of a suspect. If the victim was not involved in or suspected of being involved in the crime, the dog is not protected under the exemption.
It is also important to note that a dog biting a trespasser is also protected. If you feel you have a case, contact us. We will help you get the compensation you deserve for injuries, permanent scaring, and other damage.