Dog Bite Cases
Personal injuries caused by dog bites, dog attacks and animal attacks can be extremely painful. These types of animal attacks often cause severe injuries, leaving permanent and disfiguring scaring and may even cause extreme emotional distress and trauma. If you or some you love is injured by a dog bit e or other animal attack, you should immediately:
- seek medical care for the victim, often with a cosmetic or plastic surgeon, to try to diminish permanent scarring and disfigurement;
- contact a California Personal injury Attorney who can conduct a prompt investigation;
- call the local Animal Control Department to determine the identity of the owner of the dog and find out if the dog had proper vaccinations. It may be necessary to quarantine the dog to determine if it has rabies.
You will want to act quickly to get the victim the care they need and to obtain as much information as possible so you can bring a personal injury claim against the animal’s owner.Understanding the Law—Code and Cases
California Civil Code Section 3342(a) states that the owner of a dog is liable for the damages suffered by anyone bitten by that dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place regardless of any prior knowledge of the dog’s viciousness. Thus, according to California statutes there is automatic liability, referred to as strict liability, for the owner of the dog if the owner’s dog bites another person.
Still, it is important to note the following:
- A dog bite is required. This law does not apply to an attack without a bite. However, there are other remedies for injuries from dog attacks that do not involve dog bites.
- The owner of the dog is the person who is automatically responsible under this law. It does not automatically apply to persons who just “keeps” or “controls” a dog. Such persons may be held liable under different legal authority, including the dangerous animal rule.
- If the bite occurred in a private place, the victim must lawfully be there. This would include invited guests of the owner as well as government employees performing their duties imposed by law such as postal employees and police officers. It would exclude and not protect trespassers or a person opening a gate to engage a barking dog inside.
- It is not necessary that the skin be broken in order for this code section to apply. Johnson v. McMahan (1998) 68 C.A. 4th 173, 176.
There are, however, exceptions to California Civil Code Section 3342(a). A victim cannot seek recovery under this law if, the dog is a military or police dog and the bite occurred while the dog was defending itself or while apprehending a suspect or investigating a crime.
To find out if you can seek compensation for your dog bite injuries under this section of the law, you should speak with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney.Animal Attacks Without Bites
If you have suffered an attack from a dangerous anima without a bitel, the law is a bit different. In this type of case, the keeper or controller of a dog or other animal of a kind that is by nature dangerous may also be strictly liable to a victim if a person is injured due to those dangerous propensities. Hillman v. Garcia Ruby (1955) 44C2d625, 626.
This strict liability rule, unlike the dog bite law, applies to the following:
- Keepers of the animals (not just owners) Buffington v. Nicholson(1947) 78 C.A.2d 37, 41 (where the animal keeper must know the animal is dangerous)
- Dangerous animals, not just dogs. Gooding v. Chutes Co. (1909) 155 C.620, 623.
- Injuries caused by dangerous animals other than by biting persons.
Under this section of the law, if the animal has dangerous propensities, or tendencies, you can receive compensation for your injuries even if you were not bitten.Get Your Dog Bite Questions Answered Today
The skilled personal injury attorneys at Walch Law are ready and willing to assist you in your dog bite or other animal attack case, so that you can get the compensation you deserve and need for your injuries. To get your questions about your specific case answered, contact our office today to schedule a free case consultation.