From the tiny toy poodle to the magnificent Great Dane, America loves dogs of all sizes. Canines are among our best four-legged friends, so it can be hard to appreciate that some can be dangerous animals prone to biting, mauling, and other attacks. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 4 million people are bitten by dogs every year, 330,000 of whom suffer injuries so severe that they need emergency medical care.
Treatment may require cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, and infection is a common side effect. Plus, victims may face many other financial and emotional implications in the long term. It is a relief to know that you have options under California law, including the right to seek compensation for your devastating losses.
However, the legal concepts and process can be challenging. It is wise to retain Sherman Oaks personal injury attorneys to advocate on your behalf, primarily when you should be focused on healing. You might also find it helpful to review some basic information about dog bite victim rights.
Overview of California dog bite laws
A dog bite case focuses on the owner’s misconduct in handling, keeping, and securing the animal. There are multiple theories of liability that you might pursue, such as:
- Statutory Strict Liability: With this concept, you do not need to prove the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensities, but the statute only applies to bites. You cannot rely on the statute for a mauling or other attack.
- Scienter: Also known as the “one-bite” rule, this theory requires you to show that the dog had a dangerous propensity (often proven by showing a prior dog bite) and 2) that the dog owner knew of the dog’s dangerous propensity.
- Negligence: Regardless of whether the owner knew the dog was a threat, an owner may be liable for carelessness in failing to prevent the animal from biting or attacking.
- Negligence per se: When the owner violates a leash law or other regulation that pertains to dogs, the misconduct could be considered negligent in and of itself.
Compensation for dog bite victims
Considering the massive injuries a dog can cause by biting, it is reasonable to seek monetary damages for losses such as scars and disfigurement. In a successful claim, you may be entitled to recover compensation for:
- Costs for medical treatment, including surgery, pain medications, and psychiatric care for emotional disorders
- Lost wages, if you were unable to work
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Losses based upon how your injuries affect your relationships with loved ones
- Diminished quality of life
Our Los Angeles dog bite attorneys can explain your rights
While this overview may be helpful, there are many other details you need to know about dog bite victim rights. At El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, we are ready to schedule a no-cost case evaluation to review your situation and advise you on moving forward with a compensation claim. If you or a loved one gets hurt by a dog, please call 213-985-1120 or go online.