Dogs are a staple in many American households and not just as pets, but beloved family members. Dogs are trained around the world for emotional support and therapy, providing comfort to grieving and injured people. Man’s best friend is a very appropriate statement, but untrained dogs with poor or inattentive owners have risks. Over 4 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year and most of the bites happen to young children. We don’t like to think about dogs biting people, but it does occur, and California happens to have some the strictest laws in the country regarding these incidents. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, or if your own dog has acted up and hurt someone, Rush Injury Law can answer any questions you may have.
California Civil Code section 3342 covers dog attacks. States in America have two policies regarding dog bites – strict liability or negligence. California is a strict liability state, meaning owners of dogs who bite rarely escape liability. The law says that a dog’s owner is responsible for any person’s injuries inflicted by the dog in public space or while the person was lawfully on private property. “Lawfully on private property” refers to postal workers, firefighters, police, or emergency personnel. If a police officer chases a suspect into your backyard and your dog bites the officer, you could be on the hook for damages and more. Same goes for anyone invited into your home or property – if they get bit, it’s on you.
The law has protections in place for police or military animals. If a police dog bites someone during the pursuit of a suspect or if the dog was agitated or bothered, a lawsuit won’t fly. These laws aren’t absolute though – a police dog can still get in trouble if it bites in a setting where police are not doing work.
Dog owners aren’t helpless against fraudulent or suspect claims. If the owner can prove that the victim was unlawfully on their property, they may escape blame for dog bites. If the owner can prove that the dog was provoked to the point of being in pain, the victim may lose their case as well.
If you’re bitten by a dog, be sure to immediately sterilize the wounds with soap and water and then apply an antibiotic ointment daily to prevent infection. If bleeding, be sure to elevate the affected area and apply pressure to the area with a clean towel to stop the flow. Be sure to seek medical attention immediately if the bleeding doesn’t subside or if an infection is feared. Your first call should always be to medical personnel, not your attorney. Only discuss legal options once the immediate danger of the injury subsides.
Dog bite victims are often entitled to payment of the medical expenses, lost wages, and personal pain and suffering. Rush Injury Law has attorneys that specialize in getting dog bite victims the compensation they deserve. Contact them today to see if you have a legitimate claim.