Natomas Dog Bite Lawyer

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California has been described as the “dog bite capitol of the United States” by the Los Angeles Times. This is because California has the highest percentage of reported dog bite injury cases in the country. Insurance companies in California receive nearly 2,000 dog bite claims a year paying out approximately $64.7 million to claimants. This is the highest number of claims and payouts of any state in the country. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of dog bite injury claims increased by 5.5 percent.

Nationally, the numbers are not much better. Approximately 4.7 million people every year, half of whom are children between ages 5 and 9, are attacked and injured by a dog, according to WebMD. If that was not bad enough, reportedly one out of every five dog bite attacks cause an injury so serious that it requires medical treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

What To Do After a Natomas Dog Bite Injury

If you are bitten by a dog, quick action is extremely important, both medically and legally. Here are some important steps you need to take after a dog attack:

  • Seek immediate medical attention to ensure the wound is treated before it gets infected.
  • Get the name and address of the dog owner.
  • Get the name and address of any witnesses.
  • Take photographs of your injuries.
  • Visit the agency that oversees animal control in Natomas and file a report. This is important to help document the incident and to ensure the authorities are aware of a dog in the area with violent tendencies.
Types of Injuries Suffered by Dog Bite Victims

In an article published in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the statistical data studies indicated that in 16 dog bite injury cases, there were nearly 30 facial fractures. If that was not bad enough, 87 percent of the facial fracture cases occurred with children typically younger than 16 years of age. A whopping 69 percent of the cases involved eye bone fractures, nose fracture, and jaw fractures. Other serious injuries commonly suffered in dog attacks include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Facial Lacerations (i.e. serious cuts)
  • Punctures
  • Tissue loss
  • Muscle sprain
  • Ligament damage
  • Scarring and/or disfigurement
  • Infections (e.g., rabies, cellulitis, C canimorsus infections, etc.)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
Dog Breeds Known to Have Vicious Tendencies

Pitbulls and Rottweilers are reportedly the dog breeds most often involved in serious attacks where someone is injured and loses their life. However, it is important to keep in mind that any breed of dog could potentially bite someone. As you will learn below, California law does not assess liability on the basis of breed. Instead, dog owners are ultimately responsible for the conduct of their pets.

California Holds Dog Owners Responsible for Injuries Caused by Their Pets

The California legislature sent a clear signal that dog attacks will not be tolerated. According to California Civil Code § 3342, the legislature established strict liability for dog owners whose pets bite another person. Strict liability (also known as absolute liability), means that a party is legally responsible for a claimant’s harms and losses, even if they were not negligent.

The Code provision specifically states that a dog owner “is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

Basically, this means if that the dog owner tries to claim ignorance as a defense (e.g., “I had no idea my dog would bite someone”) they will likely fail and still be held liable for your harms and losses. Strict liability is not the law in all 50 states. In fact, in other states, it is actually possible for the owner of a dog to use ignorance as a defense if they had no knowledge, or reason to know, of their dog’s vicious tendencies and the dog had not bitten anyone prior to biting you.

However, strict liability only applies to the actual owner of the dog. This means that if you are attacked by a dog who was being walked by a freelance dog walker, you should ask for the name and address of the actual dog owner since they remain the responsible party.

Financial Restitution for your Dog Bite Harms and Losses

If you were the victim of a dog attack, or you lost a loved one who was killed by a dog, you should speak to a Natomas dog bite lawyer to discuss your legal options.  You may be able to pursue financial restitution for the harms and losses stemming from the attack. The harms and losses you can seek compensation for via a personal injury claim include the following:

  • Both incurred and future medical expenses (e.g., ER treatment, surgery, prescription medications, rehabilitation, etc.)
  • Lost wages for time missed from work and/or future wages if you are unable to return to your job as a result of the injuries
  • Pain and suffering (e.g., waking up in agony due to the pain from the dog bite, being unable to use your hand or arm, etc.)

In most cases, your Natomas dog bite injury claim will be filed against the homeowner’s insurance policy where the animal resided. This is why it is so critical for you to obtain the name and address of the dog owner. Without this information, it is very difficult to file a claim.

Take Action Now – Understanding California’s Statute of Limitations

Do not delay in pursuing a legal claim against the dog owner. You only have two years from the date of your Natomas dog bite injury to file a lawsuit under the statute of limitations. If you delay and the two year window closes, your case will likely be barred from going forward.

Speak to a Natomas Dog Bite Attorney Today

I’m Ed Smith, a Natomas Dog Bite Lawyer.  If you have been injured in a vicious dog attack or someone you love and care about has, please call me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

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See my past verdicts and settlements.

 

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