Oak Park Dog Bite Lawyer
You love taking your beloved greyhound (a rescue!) to Medea Creek but always keep her on a leash, mostly because she’s nearly impossible to catch if she runs off. But it’s also the law. You also clean up after your pet no matter where you happen to be, mostly because you're proud of your small town of Oak Park and want to keep it beautiful. There are in fact quite a few dogs in your neighborhood and the weather’s usually nice, so dog-walking is just part of the lifestyle. However, you’ve often wondered how California law applies to injuries caused by dogs, particularly dog bites.
Truth is, it can be a little complicated to wrap your arms around, depending on the situation. You have to be aware of local ordinances (keeping in mind that Oak Park is unincorporated) and negligence isn’t often a factor in these types of claims. You’re not a legal expert, so it’s always advisable to work with an experienced Oak Park dog bite injury lawyer at Walch Law if you’ve been injured by someone else’s dog. The following is a general overview of California dog bite injuries, how liability is established, the value of legal counsel, and more.California Dog Bite Law and Strict Liability
You always follow the law when you have your dog out in public. She’s always on a leash and you’re careful about having her approach people and other dogs, even though she’s never hurt a fly. However, even the best intentions won’t shield you from a dog bite injury claim, since the state applies strict liability to dog bite injuries. In other words, if your dog bites someone and causes injury, then you’re liable. It’s as simple as that. Some states apply a so-called “one bite” rule, in which the owner isn’t liable (unless they’re negligent) if their dog bites someone and causes injury.
There are exceptions to California’s dog bite injury liability law, though. Strict liability for dog bite injuries doesn’t apply in the following scenarios:
- Injuries that didn’t result from bites
- 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
Your greyhound is a big and strong dog, so she could theoretically knock over an average-sized adult if she tried. You wouldn’t be held strictly liable if such an action caused injury but you may still be held liable under a different kind of claim.Liability for Non-Bite Dog Injuries: Negligence Per Se
So if your dog were to knock someone over, scratch someone, or otherwise cause a non-bite injury to another party, they could still file a claim. But instead of strict liability, they would have to prove negligence per se. This means you may have been negligent by, for example, taking your dog off of her leash or failing to act in a way that a reasonable person would (or should) have acted in order to prevent the injury. It’s a higher bar, so the plaintiff (injured party) likely would want to get help from an Oak Park dog bite injury lawyer before filing their claim.
The plaintiff would have to show the following legal elements of negligence in order to prevail with their claim:
- Defendant (at-fault party) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- 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
Let’s say your dog ran into someone at full speed and knocked them over, causing them to suffer a concussion or torn ligament. They would have to argue in their claim that you owed them a duty of care to keep your dog on her leash but failed to do so. This breach, therefore, would be considered the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.Claiming Damages for Oak Park Dog Bite Injuries
The amounts of money claimed in a personal injury complaint, attributable to specific losses, are referred to as damages. Some damages are more obvious than others, as injuries often have a ripple effect. This is why it’s so crucial to work with an attorney. Damages may include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a limb
- Lost wages
- Diminished future earning potential
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Dogs are almost always friendly to people or least refrain from biting others. But they’re also unpredictable at times and can cause serious injuries, whether through biting or other actions. If you’ve been injured by a dog bite (or in some other way) call the experienced professionals at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation. Robert and Gary Walch know how to win these cases and are ready to get started today! We have over 45 years of experience helping the community of Oak Park with their legal needs and would love to help you too!