CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients

Foothill Farms Dog Bite Lawyer

Foothill Farms Dog Bite Lawyer

Dogs can be a wonderful addition to a family.  They combat loneliness by offering their owners unconditional love, and some dogs are beneficial for home protection purposes. While the canine companion is the most popular pet in the United States, the flip side is that they are sometimes responsible for causing injuries and trauma.  Any dog can potentially bite a human, and sometimes those bites result in serious injuries and scarring.  

If you have been bitten by a dog and feel you may need the services of a Foothill Farms dog bite lawyer, read on for more information.

Bites are Potentially Serious Injuries

Dog bites range in severity. Even a “nip” can result in infection, but more violent biting, tearing, or mauling can cause disabling and disfiguring injuries.  In the most horrifying scenarios, a vicious dog can inflict a fatal attack.

Dog Bite Epidemic

Each year, nearly five million people are bitten by dogs in the United States.  California has a proportionately high rate of dog bites, perhaps due to its nice weather, which leads to more people pursuing outdoor activities and often bringing their dogs. Approximately a fifth of dog bites results in injuries severe enough to warrant medical treatment. Treatment can range from a one-time visit for cleaning and antibiotics to months of care, involving dressing changes, surgeries, and reconstructive procedures.

Which Dogs Bite and Who Gets Bitten

Any dog, unless it has no teeth, can bite, but some breeds are represented in the statistics for dog bite injuries more than others.  Bulldog breeds (pit bulls) account for more of the bites that require medical treatment. They are also responsible for the majority of fatal dog attacks.  Other breeds that have tendencies to bite more often are rottweilers, german shepherds, and hunting breeds.  

Male dogs are significantly more likely to bite than female dogs.  Intact males are more likely to bite than those that have been neutered.  A higher percentage of dog bite victims are 14 years of age or younger, and boys were more likely to be bitten than girls.

Why Dogs Bite

Understanding the reasons that a dog may bite is an essential part of preventing the bite in the first place.  Here are some of the traits that may trigger a dog’s bite instincts:

  • Fear - If they get startled or feel threatened.
  • Possessiveness - Some dogs are very protective over a person, home, or even a bone or toy.  
  • Pain -  If a dog is injured, ill, or otherwise in pain, this may cause the animal to bite
  • Maternal protection - A female dog may protect her puppies with aggressive behavior.
  • Prey/chase instincts - Hunting dogs or dogs that were bred for fighting may be more prone to prey behavior, such as chasing.  Sometimes a jogger passing the dog will trigger this instinct.

Get tips for handling aggressive dogs in this video:

Preventing Dog Bites

Though not all bites can be prevented, there are ways to avoid putting oneself at greater risk of a dog bite.

  • Owners should take care to socialize their dogs and provide basic training.  Owning a dog means you have a responsibility to the public that your pet will not cause harm.
  • If you see an unknown stray dog in your neighborhood, report it to animal control.

Teach children the following dog safety rules:

  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Never pet a dog without first asking the owner's permission.
  • If you receive permission to pet the dog, make sure it sees you first and allow it to sniff you.
  • If approached by an unfamiliar dog, remain still. Do not run or scream.
  • Leave a dog who is eating or sleeping alone.
  • If a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball and remain still.
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite

Sometimes despite best efforts, a dog bite may occur.  After being bitten, there are several essential steps to take to protect yourself

  • First, seek medical treatment.  Dog bites commonly cause secondary infection, and a health care provider will be able to thoroughly irrigate and clean the wounds to lessen the chance of infection.  You will likely also be prescribed preventative antibiotics.  Less likely, but still possible, if the rabies vaccination series is warranted, it can be started.
  • If possible, before you leave the scene to seek medical attention, have someone get the name, phone number, and address for the owner of the dog.  This information will be crucial if any legal action needs to be taken.
  • Report the bite to Sacramento Animal Control.
  • Take pictures of all visible injuries.  Continue to take photos each day through the healing process and after any subsequent medical procedures.  Get good quality pictures of any scars remaining after the wounds have healed.
  • Contact an experienced Foothill Farms dog bite attorney through the online chat at autoaccident.com or by phone at (916) 921-6400.  Consultation is free of charge.
California Dog Bite Law

Dog owners in California are strictly liable for any damages caused to a person who is bitten by their dog. This liability is regardless of any negligence, and it does not matter where the bite occurred.  There are some exceptions, such as if the person bitten was trespassing on the owner’s property or was provoking the animal. In most cases, however, if your dog bites someone, you are responsible for the injured person’s damages.  The main statute setting out the dog owner’s responsibility can be found at Civil Code Section 3342.  

If the owner of the dog owns a home, a claim against the homeowner’s insurance can be made, even if the bite took place somewhere other than the dog owner’s house.  

If the dog owner rents his or her living space, there may be a liability on the part of the landlord.  However, it is not as easy to assign responsibility to a landlord- there is no strict liability statute in place for someone who rents a home to a dog owner.  For a landlord to be held responsible if their tenant’s dog bites someone, the landlord must have prior knowledge of the dog’s viciousness.  

Types of Injuries

Dog attacks usually result in puncture wounds.  More severe attacks can also involve tearing of the skin and muscle.  Nerves can be damaged, resulting in permanent numbness or dysfunction. Often, dog bites result in scarring and disfigurement.  These are just some of the injuries that can occur during relatively minor dog attacks. The severity of injuries can increase from there, up to and including death. 

In addition to the physical injuries caused by dog attacks, many times, psychological damage is done as well. Especially in younger victims, the attack may result in a life-long fear of dogs.  It is crucial to start therapy for PTSD soon after the traumatic event to mitigate the effects. Some of the symptoms to look out for after a traumatic incident such as a dog attack are:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Nightmares
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty at school
  • Diminished appetite
  • Increased startle response

Quickly addressing the physical and psychological damages associated with the dog attack can result in better outcomes for the person bitten.  An experienced attorney can ensure that your legal rights are protected and help you get you the medical care that you need.

Foothill Farms Dog Bite Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Foothill Farms Dog Bite Lawyer.  If you or someone you care about has been injured as a result of a dog attack, call me today at 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400 for free, friendly advice.

Please take a look at my reviews on Avvo, Yelp, and Google

I am a proud member of the Million Dollar Forum, as well as the Top One Percent, the exclusive lawyers’ group. 

Please also review our past verdicts and settlements.

Photo by: Pixabay

:mm cha [CS 1276]

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!" Alex & Dinah M.
★★★★★
"Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation." Beverly
★★★★★
"Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything." Annie T.
★★★★★
"Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime." Jeremy M.
★★★★★
"I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone." Shannon D.
★★★★★
"Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury." David M.