Camarillo Dog Bite Lawyer
There’s nothing quite like walking your dog at the park on a sunny afternoon in Camarillo. Your favorite is Bob Kildee Community Park, where you often go after dropping your son off for baseball practice. Your furry friend not only gets the exercise she needs but she’s also able to meet other dogs while you get some fresh air. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the leash laws and sometimes you see dogs running around and causing trouble. Just a few days ago, you were bitten by an off-leash chihuahua.
You were simply trying to stop it from harassing your very patient pooch, but it bit down hard on your hand and you had to get stitches. Since you’re a professional pianist, you won’t be able to perform for a while. The owner was nearby and gave you his contact information. The owner didn’t bite you, the dog did. But aren’t they liable for your injuries?
A Camarillo dog bite injury lawyer at Walch Law can best address your concerns and answer your questions. However, the following primer will get you up to speed on how liability is established for dog bites and other dog-related injuries in California, including different types of damages you may claim.California Dog Bites and Strict Liability
While the chihuahua’s owner should have followed the local ordinance and kept their dog on a leash, it really doesn’t matter in this case. Per California law, dog owners are strictly liable for dog bite injuries even if they follow the law and aren’t negligent. If the dog bites you and causes injury, then the owner is liable. It’s as simple as that. Some states have a “one bite” rule, where the owner is not liable (unless they’re negligent) if their dog bites someone but doesn’t have a history of biting.
There are exceptions, though. Strict liability for dog bite injuries doesn’t apply in the following scenarios:
- Injuries that didn’t result from bites (unless local ordinance states otherwise)
- Police or military dogs performing their official duties
- When trespassers are bitten
- When the dog is provoked or teased
- Individuals who are not the dog’s owner
So, for the sake of argument, let’s say the chihuahua knocked you over and caused injury (however unlikely that is). The owner would not be held strictly liable for your injuries; however, they may be held liable for negligence by failing to keep their dog on a leash. In any event, a Camarillo dog bite injury lawyer will be able to sort it out.Negligence Per Se and Dog-Related Injuries
In the opening scenario, you were bitten and injured by a dog. You didn’t provoke it and you weren’t trespassing, so you can file a claim based on the owner’s strict liability for dog bite injuries. However, there may be situations where the owner is “negligent per se” for non-bite injuries, such as a dog scratching you or knocking you over. Even if the dog did bite you, your attorney may include a negligence per se claim if it applies, just to strengthen your case. The elements of a negligence claim are as follows:
- Defendant (at-fault party) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (injured party)
- Defendant breached that duty
- Plaintiff’s injuries were in fact caused by this breach
- Defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the injury(ies), meaning the injuries would not have occurred if not for the defendant’s breach
- Plaintiff has suffered actual damages (legally recognized injuries), such as bodily injury
To owe someone a “duty of care” is to have a legal responsibility to act in a reasonable manner to prevent others from being injured. So, while the chihuahua owner didn’t anticipate his dog biting someone, he had a responsibility (per local law) to keep his dog on a leash. His breach of that duty resulted in the incident that ultimately left you injured.Claiming Damages for Camarillo Dog Bite Injuries
When someone is liable for your injuries, they’re required to pay a monetary sum for the losses—or damages—you have incurred. Some of these expenses are quite obvious. But let’s say you never quite recover from your hand injury and are no longer able to perform as a professional pianist. That could have a huge impact on your ability to earn a living.
Damages may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a limb
- Lost wages
- Diminished future earning potential
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Whether you were injured by a dog bite or some other dog-related incident, you owe it to yourself to explore your legal options. Injuries can be costly in many different ways but you’ll want to fully assess the value of your claim before filing. Start the process today by contacting the legal experts at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation. Wondering how much your case is worth, how long does a dog bite case take and which law firm you should hire? We will answer all those questions and more when you set up your obligation-free consultation with us.