Dog bites can be physically and emotionally painful. However, suffering dog bites does not mean you should suffer financially. Knowing your rights can help you recover damages from a traumatic experience.
Some Information about Dog Bites
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million dog bites occur each year. Dog bites cause painful injuries such as puncture wounds, nerve damage, and some can be fatal. Seek immediate medical attention after dog bites. Ask your health care provider to keep documents of the injuries and police reports that may be pertinent in law proceedings. You should also alert your local animal service about the dog(s) so authorities can remove the danger to the community.
California Dog Bite Injury Law
Dog owners, under California law, are liable for damages even if it is the first time a dog has bitten someone. This liability occurs when the victim is in a public place or lawfully in a private place at the time of the attack. The key word is “lawfully.” Trespassers on private property do not have any compensation rights. The law also does not apply to police or military dogs during their work. Dog owners, after an attack, have responsibilities to report the incident to the San Diego Department of the Health. The Department of Health will isolate the dog for at least 14 days to ensure it does not have rabies. A court hearing can order any actions, such as removal of the animal from the owner or euthanizing the dog.
Negligence vs. Liability
During a civil action such as a lawsuit, dog owners are presumed to have acted illegally when a dog bites someone. San Diego County has a leash law requiring dogs to be restrained in public and owners are responsible for vaccinations such as rabies vaccines. However, owner negligence and owner liability are legally different. You should consider bringing a lawsuit against the dog owner with the charge of statutory strict liability. In a negligence case, the plaintiff must show the dog owner had prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities. In a statutory strict liability case, the owner would be liable for the damages to the plaintiff. Personal injury lawsuits, including dog bites, must be filed within two years of the occurrence. You lose the right to file a lawsuit and the ability to any recovery of your loss when this time ends.
If you or a loved one has dog bite injuries, the lawyers at Jurewitz Law Group are ready to help you. Please contact us at (888) 744-5128.
Ross Jurewitz is the founder and managing lawyer of the Jurewitz Law Group, a San Diego personal injury attorney law firm. These San Diego injury accident lawyers specialize in helping people seriously injured in a variety of accidents throughout San Diego County and California.
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