YOUR EAST BAY DOG BITE ATTORNEY
Dog bites are a serious problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four and a half million Americans are victims of dog attacks each year. Of these millions of attacks, almost 900,000 per year require medical attention – and some can be fatal.
Have you or a family member been the victim of a dog bite and require expensive medical care? At Pocklington Law, we can help you recover compensation for your losses. Damages can include costly medical bills, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.
Submit your online request for a free consultation and case review using our online form or give us a call at (925) 295-1304 for a free consultation. Read further for more information on dog bite claims.
What does the law say about victims of dog attacks?
The California Civil Code is quite clear on liability issues for dog owners. According to section 3342, the owner of any dog is liable for damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place. This is applicable whether the dog has a history of viciousness, even if the owner had no prior knowledge of the dog’s tendencies.
Imagine that you are outside watering your lawn, when suddenly the neighbor’s dog gets loose. He races across the lawn and bites your leg, causing injuries. It does not matter if the dog has been docile his entire life, and it does not matter if the owner had no prior knowledge of his dog’s behavior. Liability is absolute in this case – the owner is responsible for actions of the dog.
Are there any restrictions on seeking damages if I’ve been injured?
There are several subdivisions to the California Civil Code. One obvious restriction is if you are attacked by a dog while you are committing a crime. If you are bitten or knocked down by a police dog, you cannot file a suit against the police department.
If you are actively provoking the dog by causing physical harm, such as hitting or kicking, then the dog owner will not be held responsible if the dog responds violently toward you. This applies only to children over the age of 5 – according to law, any children under the age of 5 years cannot be considered able to actively provoke a dog.
What if I wasn’t bitten but was injured?
Occasionally, we encounter cases in which the victim was not bitten by the dog, but still sustained various injuries. This may have been caused when the dog knocked down the victim or crashed into him. A surprisingly common injury is caused when a dog runs into the victim’s leg, causing severe knee and ligament damage.
Although these are not strict dog bite cases, we will still try the case on the grounds that the owner’s negligence was directly responsible for the injuries sustained by the victim.
When is an owner liable for a dog?
Culpability begins the moment a dog owner takes legal ownership of the dog. For example, if a woman adopts a dog from an animal shelter, and five minutes after arriving home the dog attacks a neighbor, the woman is responsible for that action.
This is also important to note when trying to determine your own culpability. If you purchase a dog from a breeder, and on the drive home it attacks you, you cannot hold the breeder responsible for the actions of the dog. As the dog’s legal owner, you are now responsible for those actions.
When should I contact a dog bite lawyer?
You should never try to solve the problem on your own. We have found that nearly all confrontations between a dog and a victim involve personal acquaintances, neighbors, friends, or family. If you try to resolve the issue without consulting an experienced dog bite lawyer, you will often find yourself trying to determine culpability on your own.
When you approach this issue from a strictly legal standpoint, you can eliminate most emotional or personal attachment to the case and can resolve it in a satisfactory way. If you have been the victim of a dog bite or attack, we recommend contacting a dog bite lawyer who specializes in litigating these cases. We will be happy to provide consultation if you have questions regarding your situation.
Being attacked by a dog can be a traumatic experience. It can cause both physical and mental distress, and the injuries can also lead to expensive hospital costs. Although it can be a stressful time, it is important that you know your rights. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us for more information about dog bite laws.