For more than a decade, the Law Offices of Attorney Justin H. King has successfully and professionally served those who have been injured as a result of a vicious dog bite. The firm understands that because most dog bite claims are covered by the pet owner’s homeowner’s insurance coverage, these insurers will do all that is possible to avoid paying a fair settlement. Attorney King works aggressively and tirelessly to ensure the highest compensation is obtained. After a serious dog bite, consider obtaining the legal support of the Law Offices of Attorney Justin H. King. Call (909) 297-5001 or fill out the contact form to obtain your free consultation today.
California’s Dog Bite Law
The State of California has a law known as a “strict liability statute”, which holds dog owners strictly responsible when their pet bites a person, regardless of whether the dog had shown prior signs of aggression. There are very few exceptions to California’s strict dog bite law. In most cases, dog owners will be held financially accountable when a person has been injured by their dog. Nevertheless, the following exceptions could be upheld: The dog bite victim provoked the dog prior to being bitten, The dog bite victim was unlawfully in private property when the incident took place, or The dog was performing military or police service at the time of the attack.
Establishing Fault After a Dog Bite
Dog bite cases can become challenging when it is difficult to prove the dog’s ownership. As a result, it is important for dog bite victims to collect as much corroborate evidence as possible at the time of the incident in order to build a strong case. Any evidence that can prove the dog’s ownership can benefit the case.
After being attacked by a dog, it is important to retain the contact information of the dog owner or dog handler. Furthermore, many dog bite cases involve others who witnessed the incident taking place. It is also important to collect their information as third-party testimonials help corroborate how the incident took place.
When the police have been called to the scene, a copy of the police report should be obtained to make sure the account of the attack is as accurate as possible. When the dog attack does not warrant police presence, it may be beneficial to collect video surveillance from surrounding establishments.
Catastrophic Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can lead to a wide-range of injuries. The following are some of the most devastating injuries that could result in long-term pain, emotional trauma, and costly medical expenses.
- Contracting Infections and Other Diseases
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, any dog, including puppies can carry harmful germs that could make people sick. Germs from dogs can lead to a variety of illnesses, including:
- Brucellosis – A bacterial disease that can cause flu-like symptoms.
- Campylobacteriosis – An infection where children are at higher risk of contracting.
- Capnocytophaga – A bacteria that lives in the mouths of dogs and can result in mild symptoms, such as fever or vomiting but it can also cause serious medical complications, such as gangrene, blood infection, or kidney failure
- Rabies – This is a deadly neurological disease that is caused by a virus which usually spreads through the bites of infected animals.
- Tetanus – This usually does not come from the animal’s saliva, but instead from the skin flora of the person who was bitten.
- Crushing Injuries
Large dogs have the potential to cause crushing injuries because of their large jaws. The amount of force exerted from their jaws can break, crush, or fracture a person’s bones. Once the dog bite reaches the bone, it is likely that the dog will also injure the victim’s surrounding soft tissues and muscles.
- Nerve Damage
Because of a dog’s razor sharp teeth and strong bite, a dog bite can cause serious nerve damage. Nerve damage is not always immediately apparent, but its effects can be long-lasting. Depending on the severity of the attack, a dog bite involving nerve damage can incite the following challenges: Permanent pain or sensitivity in the affected areas, Numbness or paralysis in the area that was bitten, The injury can affect day-to-day activities, and The injury can lead to disability that can affect the ability to return to work.
A serious dog attack can result in severe injuries that leave scars behind. Depending on the scar tissue developed, years of corrective surgeries may be required to lessen their appearance and to improve the affected skin tissue. If a dog bite is in a particularly noticeable area, the scar can take an emotional toll on the victim.
- Emotional Trauma
After a dog bite, most people become immediately concerned with their physical health. Most dog bites, however, are traumatic events that can have serious emotional consequences. The severity of the emotional trauma can vary, but many dog bite victims will develop the following after a serious dog bite:
- Recurring nightmares, and
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Death is not uncommon in dog bite cases, especially cases involving small children. Sadly, children are at high risk of losing their lives when mauled by a large dog. According to the CDC, children are not only more likely to be bitten by a dog, but when they are, their injuries tend to be more severe. Unfortunately, there have been cases where a baby or infant’s head was completely crushed during a dog attack. According to a study conducted by the CDC, dog bites make up roughly 12 percent of infant and baby deaths in the United States.