Orange County Dog Bite Attorney
A person who keeps or has control of an animal may be liable for a personal injury or property damage with the help of an Orange County dog bite lawyer caused by the animal. A keeper of an animal is one that “harbors, protects, or shelters” the animal. It is not necessary that the person is the “owner.” However, an owner who retains some degree of control over an animal can be liable even if the animal is partly under the care of others. Normally, the owner of an animal is liable only for negligence if the animal causes injury or property damage. Negligence is the failure to use ordinary care in keeping or controlling the animal and preventing a dog bite.
When Is The Dog Owner Liable?
California law provides that the owner of a dog is liable for the damages suffered by anyone who is bitten while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the dog owner’s property. The fact that a dog does not have prior attacks, or that the owner has no awareness of a dog’s viciousness is not determinative in California law. An owner is held to a strict liability standard of care to protect victims of dog bites and/or dog attacks.
The particular facts involved in an injury caused by an animal are very important. If an animal is provoked, or if the person injured is a trespasser, the rules of liability may change. Special rules usually apply if the person injured is a child. Please contact an attorney immediately if you are a victim of a dog bite or dog attack.
California Dog Bite Statute
The California dog bite statute can impute “strict liability” on the owners of vicious animals for dog bites and attacks. Strict liability means that a person is liable for damages even if the person used ordinary care, and therefore was not negligent in keeping or controlling the animal. The keeper’s liability is said to be absolute in the sense that the gist of the action is not how the animal was kept, but that it was kept at all in light of its dangerous propensities. A plaintiff who can prove the animal’s dangerous nature or trait and the keeper’s “knowledge” of it, need not prove negligence in failing to restrain or confine it. Actual notice is not required. An owner’s knowledge can be “constructive” wherein an owner can be liable if she could have learned of the propensity through reasonable inquiry. Additionally, an owner may be liable if his employees, agents, partners or family knew of the animal’s dangerous propensities.
What Are The Most Common Dog Bite Injuries?
Victims of dog bites usually experience in common areas that stay the same from person to person. The most common injuries related to dog bites and dog attacks include:
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Head and Neck injuries
- Nerve damage
- Emotional effects
- Face injuries
What About Other Injuries Caused By A Dog Attack?
The California strict liability dog bite statute applies only to injuries caused by a dog biting a person. However, a person does not have to actually be bitten by a dog in order to sustain an injury. Some dogs are very large and capable of knocking someone over. Injuries in these incidents can also be severe and include broken and dislocated bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and more.
However, in cases where a person is injured but not actually bitten, the strict liability statute will not apply. In order to recover compensation for non-bite injuries caused by a dog, the victim will typically need to show that the dog owner was negligent in some way. This can include showing that the dog owner failed to properly secure their pet on their premises, that the dog owner failed to properly leash their pet, or that the dog owner knew that their dog was potentially dangerous.
What Are The Dog Breeds That Are Most Likely To Bite Humans?
While it’s important to know that any dog can bite, it’s also important to know which breeds are considered aggressive, hostile and reactive. Unfortunately, certain breeds are more often trained to be aggressive or protective. Based on data for dog attacks in Canada and the U.S. between 1982 and 2014, here are the dogs that are most likely to bite humans:
- Pit bulls
- Pitbull mixes
- German shepherds
- German shepherd mixes
- Wolf hybrids
Scarring And Disfigurement Caused By An Orange County Dog Bite
In addition to the traumatic injuries mentioned above, dog bites can lead to significant scarring or disfigurement for victims. In many cases, dog bite victims sustain injuries to their hands, arms, and face that can lead to potential deformities.
Scarring and disfigurement caused by a dog bite can lead to significant emotional and psychological trauma for a victim. Not only will the victim have experienced the actual attack, but they will have continual reminders of the incident. This kind of scarring and disfigurement can lead to a loss of quality of life.
Who is ineligible to sue for dog bite injury compensation in Orange County?
In general, the following groups of people will usually be unable to recover compensation for dog bite injuries in Orange County:
- Those who were trespassing on private property
- Those who provoked the dog
- If the dog was protecting its owner or another person in accordance with California self-defense laws
- Those who were bitten by a military or police dog being used in accordance with the respective agency’s written policies
What Kind Of Compensation Is Available For An Orange County Dog Bite?
If you or somebody you care about has been bitten and injured by a dog, there may be various types of compensation available for your losses. It is not uncommon for dog bite victims to recover the following compensatory damages:
- Coverage of all medical bills related to the dog bite
- Recovery of lost wages and benefits if a victim cannot work
- Lost earning capacity if the injury prevents the victim from returning to the same type of employment
- Scarring and disfigurement damages
- Compensation for physical or vocational therapy
- Coverage of psychological counseling
- Pain And Suffering Damages
- Loss of personal enjoyment damages
- Possible punitive damages and instances of gross negligence or intentional actions
The total amount of compensation available in an Orange County dog bite case will vary depending on the circumstances related to each particular situation.
What is the time limit to file a dog bite claim?
The statute of limitations, or time limit, to file a lawsuit after a dog bite injury in California is two years. This means that victims of dog bites have a two-year window from the date the injury occurs with which to file a lawsuit against an alleged negligent party to recover compensation for their losses.
Contact an Orange County Dog Bite Attorney
Aitken * Aitken * Cohn has successfully represented numerous victims of dog bites and dog attacks in Orange County, California, and Nationwide. The law firm has the compassion, resources, and experience to consult the unfortunate victims of dog bites. For a free consultation from a nationally recognized Orange County personal injury lawyer, please contact (866) 434-1424 or fill out the contact form and a specialist will be in touch shortly.