Each year, approximately 4.5 million people in the U.S. fall victim to dog bite injuries. California has laws that help protect victims from the long-term repercussions of an animal attack.
Holding negligent pet owners accountable is the key to receiving compensation for your injuries. This article provides insight into California dog bite laws.
California’s Laws Surrounding Dog-Bite Injuries
The state imposes liability on pet owners for their dogs' actions. If a dog bites someone, the owner is legally responsible for the resulting injuries. Legal action can result in significant financial damages.
Dog owners are responsible for training the animal, supervising it, and keeping it securely leashed or barriered.
Injuries You Could Suffer from a Dog Bite
- Puncture Wounds
These are the most common injuries sustained in a dog attack. They occur when a dog's teeth penetrate the skin, creating small puncture wounds that can become infected.
- Broken Bones
Depending on the size and strength of the dog, a bite can cause broken bones, particularly in the hands, arms, and legs.
- Nerve Damage
A dog bite can also cause nerve damage, which can lead to temporary or permanent numbness, pain, or even paralysis.
One of the biggest risks associated with dog bites is infection. Dogs carry a range of bacteria in their saliva, which can cause serious infections such as tetanus, rabies, and MRSA.
- Scarring and Disfigurement
Even relatively minor bites can leave scars, and more severe attacks can lead to permanent disfigurement.
- Psychological Trauma
A dog attack could cause PTSD symptoms, making someone fear all dogs or even going outside. Children are particularly susceptible to such traumas after a dog bite.
Determining Liability in a Dog Bite Case in California
California has strict liability laws for dog bites. It holds the dog owner responsible for any damages the pet inflicts. This is true regardless of any of the dog’s past behavior, meaning an owner is responsible even if the dog never attacked another person.
There are, however, exceptions to this law. If, for instance, the bite victim was trespassing on the owner's property, or if the victim provoked the dog in some way, the owner may be shielded from liability.
In some cases, liability falls on the person responsible for the dog’s care at the time of the incident. This includes workers such as dog sitters or walkers.
The Legal Recourse Available to Dog Bite Victims in California
Victims of dog bites are entitled to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Often, this is achieved through legal negotiations. When such talks fall apart, it may be necessary to take the matter to court.
Filing a Dog Bite Injury Claim in California
The process can be complex, but you should take these steps to receive your fair compensation.
- Seek medical attention.
- Document the incident.
- Gather any relevant information about the pet owner and their insurance policy.
- File a claim with the pet owner's insurance company.
- Pursue legal action if you cannot reach a settlement.
The Statute of Limitations on Dog Bite Cases in California
You have two years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury lawsuit. Two years may seem like a long time, but it can move by quickly. Building a strong case also takes time.
If you’ve been hurt in a dog attack, it's crucial that contact an attorney as soon as possible. They can help you gather evidence, navigate the legal process, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Remember, time is of the essence, so don't wait to seek justice.
If you’ve been injured by a domestic animal in California, reach out to Samra Dhillon & Associates today for help. Our number is (916) 571-1550, and you can also contact us online.