Serving Dog Bite Victims in San Diego, Dana Point, Los Angeles and all of the Southern California Region
If you are among the millions of Americans to be bitten by a dog this year, we can help you protect your rights. California law provides special protections for dog bite victims, and we have helped numerous clients recover compensation for dog bites in Southern California.
We love our pets, and we would never do anything to cause them harm. Unfortunately, even with the most loving care, some dogs retain their vicious propensities. As a result, when they feel scared or threatened, they react in the only way they know how – with an attack.
Recognizing the dangers that even the most-domesticated dogs can present under certain circumstances, California has enacted a law that makes dog owners “strictly liable” for bite victims’ injuries. With only limited exceptions, this means that dog owners must compensate bite victims even if they were not negligent in allowing the attack to occur. But, this doesn’t mean that securing compensation is easy. Owners (or, more commonly, their insurance companies) often put up a fight, and in most cases, it takes experienced legal representation to win the compensation that you deserve.
Understanding California’s Dog Bite Law
In California, dog owners are legally responsible for any injuries inflicted when their dogs bite other people. They don’t need to know that their dog is dangerous, and their dog does not need to have bitten someone else in the past (California does not have a “one bite” rule like some other states). This is known as “strict liability,” and it means that if you were bitten on public or private property, there is a good chance that you are entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills and other losses.
The key language in California’s dog bite statute reads:
“The owner of any dog 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.”
There are only a few exceptions to the strict liability rule in California’s dog bite law. One of these exceptions is that the law does not apply if you were trespassing at the time of the attack. However, there are exceptions to the exceptions (for example, the trespassing rule does not apply to young children), and even if the law doesn’t apply, you could still have other grounds to seek compensation.
Due to the complexities of California’s dog bite law, it is important to speak with an attorney to gain a clear understanding of your legal rights. At Neale & Fhima, we have decades of experience helping victims recover just compensation for dog bites in Southern California, and we are happy to schedule a free phone or in-person consultation to discuss your claim.
Compensable Injuries and Losses in Dog Bite Claims
Like other types of personal injury claims, in dog bite claims, victims can seek financial compensation for their physical and emotional injuries, as well as their other injury-related losses. In most cases, bite victims will be able to recover compensation for some or all of the following:
- Bone fractures
- Infections (including rabies)
- Muscle damage
- Puncture wounds
- Soft tissue damage
These and other injuries from dog bites can lead to expensive medical bills, missed time from work, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, long-term disabilities, and other losses. When you choose our attorneys to handle your claim, we will make sure that you don’t settle until you know the full extent of your physical, financial, and emotional harm.
Other Types of Animal Attacks
While California’s dog bite law does not cover other types of animal attacks, it is still possible to recover compensation for non-bite-related injuries. In most cases, other types of attack-related injuries are subject to the same general negligence laws that apply to other types of personal injury claims. However, some Southern California municipalities have local ordinances that impose strict liability for all types of animal attack injuries.
For example, if you suffered broken bones or other injuries in a fall caused by a dog lunging or running into you, this is still a common scenario where you may be entitled to financial compensation. To find out if you have a claim, contact us today.
Speak with a Dog Bite Lawyer at Neale & Fhima in Dana Point, CA
At Neale & Fhima, our attorneys have over 40 years of combined experience and have recovered in excess of $50 million for injury victims in Southern California. If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. To speak with an experienced attorney about your legal rights, call (888) 407-2955 or request a free consultation online today.