In California, the owner of a dog is responsible for damages caused by dog bites, even if the dog has no history of violence. A few exceptions to this rule exist when it comes to trespassing on private property or provocation of the animal. However, there are further laws that dictate matters when a child is involved.
When a Child Is Bitten by a Dog
First of all, age is an important factor. Children under the age of five do not have the capacity to understand that hurting a dog can cause it to defend itself. Legally, provocation is the equivalent of negligence, and a child that young cannot be declared negligent. Therefore, the owner is still at fault.
Also, any minor who is following the express instructions of his or her parents cannot be considered negligent in behavior. Therefore, a minor who is bitten by a dog while following parental instructions cannot be considered to be provoking the animal.
Another factor that comes into play is when a dog bites a child who is at daycare. Now the matter becomes a case of negligence against the defendant. Even in some cases where the daycare owners required parents to sign a release, the daycare was still held accountable for the bite.
If Your Child Has Been Attacked by a Dog
The Petrov Law Firm has a great deal of experience when it comes to dog bite law in California. We are willing to offer a free consultation if you or a loved one have become a victim of such an unfortunate experience. In addition, we may be able to recommend a medical professional who can offer appropriate dog bite care.Read More
If you live in Orange County California, there are numerous animal control laws in effect that should prevent things like dog bites from occurring. Consider some of the following laws.
Laws Involving Leashes and Public Property
Basically, the only times an owner can have a dog off the leash in Orange County is at home or at a dog park that allows off-the-leash pets. In fact, leashes or chains need to be 6 feet in length or shorter to ensure that the person in charge can get control of the dog quickly.
The person holding the leash has to be competent to take care of the dog. If a 5-year-old girl loses control of a 150-pound dog, that’s no real surprise. An adult needs to be holding the leash.
Also, unless the dog is a service dog or guide dog (or if you have a special permit), you have to avoid public schools, public beaches, and public parks that are not intended for pets. If a dog were to be on public school property and hurt a child, that would be a big problem because dogs are not even allowed on school property except in the special circumstances noted above.
Finally, an owner cannot intentionally or through inability to control the animal allow a dog to trespass on private property without consent from the property owner.
Dog Bite Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, whether the owner was abiding by the laws noted above or not, the owner owes you damages. The Petrov Law Firm offers free consultations to dog bite victims. Contact us today at 619-344-0360.
Obviously, it is always better to avoid a dog attack than to have to seek compensation, so let’s start by giving you a few tips on how to protect yourself if you come face to face with an angry canine.
Unfortunately, this a very common issue in the US with about 4.5 million Americans being bit annually (according to the CDC). Add to this the fact that approximately 1 in 5 dog bites gets infected and you have the recipe for some serious injuries and major medical bills.
The Dos and Don’ts of Encountering a Dog
First of all, it is important to stay calm. You may have surprised the dog just as much as it surprised you. Gruffly telling a dog to sit may worry it even more and result in unpredictable behavior. While your first instinct may be to grab and toss a stick, the dog may see you reaching for something on the ground as a sign of aggression. You’re better offer keeping your distance and encouraging the dog to view you as a friend by saying things like “good dog” or other phrases owners often use as encouragement.
What to Do if a Dog Attacks
If a dog catches you off guard or comes at you despite your best efforts, you need to remember a few things. First, protect your neck. Dogs will go for soft tissue areas. You’ll take a lot less damage from a leg bite. Second, if a dog locks its jaw on you, pulling away will only tear the flesh and do more damage.
Another important thing to remember is to see a doctor immediately as you may require shots, especially if rabies is a concern. Then the next professional visit to make is to a lawyer. You need to know your legal options when it comes to recouping money on medical bills as well as the trauma of being placed in such a situation.Read More
Approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, half of which are children. Dog attacks can happen virtually anywhere and under any circumstance. When they do occur and someone else is injured, regardless if they initiated contact, as a dog owner, you will be held liable by the injured party.
If you are a dog owner, is there such a thing as a safe haven for you and your dog? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is nearly never yes. Even in an environment created and reserved for dog-dog/dog-human interactions such as a dog park, you are responsible for your pet’s behavior. While dog parks may be a place where the city suspends its leash laws, the laws that govern liability for human or animal injury still apply.
What happens if your dog attacks while inside your home? If there is a guest present and they are injured in the attack, you are still liable, even if the attack occurs in your own home. While there is very little law that directly applies to in-home dog attack injuries, most courts will side with the predominant opinions that point to laying the burden on the owner of the aggressive dog. As long as another person is injured in an attack involving your pet, you as the pet owner will be held responsible, no matter what the setting.
If you or your dog was attacked, whether at a dog park or at someone’s home, the law is on your side. You need to contact a lawyer immediately so that you and the lawyer can begin to collect sufficient evidence to bring suit against the other dog owner. You will need to locate eye-witnesses and get medical records from your doctor and your veterinarian. The sooner you ask a lawyer for help, the more likely the case will settle in your favor.Read More
If you own a dog that bit a visitor to your home, immediately hire a personal injury attorney to help guide you through the possible lawsuit that could unfold. Even if the visitor was in your home, the visitor can sue you for any injuries sustained by your dog.
Frequently, dog owners assume that because the visitor was “rough-housing” with the dog, they are no longer liable for any injuries. Simply put, anytime your dog bites someone (unprovoked or not) you can face a personal injury charge.
If you have a homeowner’s insurance policy or renter’s insurance policy, the insurance company will pay out for the losses because of the dog bit. (And then likely cancel your policy.) If you don’t have any insurance coverage, the injured person will have to sue you for damages and losses. Either way, you will want to have a personal injury lawyer to help ensure that you are out at little money as possible.
If you end up in front of a judge, then most judges will consider any extenuating circumstances surrounding the dog bite. One, minor dog bite is not likely to lead to a judgement to have the dog put down. Again, a personal injury attorney can help and guide you through some steps to show the judge you are addressing any aggressive behaviours in your dog.
The injured person is probably going to have a lawyer pressing to get as much money out of the insurance policy (and your assets) as possible. You should have a personal injury attorney on your side to ensure you and your pet are equally protected.Read More
More and more people in California are bringing companion animals with them everywhere they go. Unfortunately, not all of the animals that are classified as companion animals are equally trained, and some could still be likely to bite. If you’ve been bitten by an animal in public, make sure to collect the name of the owner along with the names of witnesses. Then contact a personal injury attorney to help you find out how you can proceed.
There are two classification of companion animals. The first are professionally trained, working animals. Professionally trained companion animals go through an extensive selection process to eliminate any animal that might be aggressive or uncooperative. Then, the animals that are selected for training spend years learning self control along with companion skills to finally reach certification. These animals can go anywhere the owner goes — from restaurants to airplanes. These animals are extremely intelligent and are very unlikely to bite anyone.
The second form of companion animals are emotional support animals. While dogs are the most common emotional support animal, cats, birds, and rabbits (among others) can also be considered as companions. These emotional support animals do not receive any training and are not able to self regulate their behavior any better than a common household pet. In addition, getting a doctor to say you need a companion animal is fairly easy and inexpensive.
In California, the law prevents most commercial establishments from demanding a form of proof for the companion animal. (Demanding proof can be seen as an act of discrimination.) Some consumers take advantage of this law and simply buy a companion animal vest, knowing that no one can demand proof. And while interpretations vary, the current laws might not even allow emotional support animals in eating establishments; but because of the discrimination laws, no one can ask for proof.
So because of the complex and conflicting laws, untrained dogs are everywhere. While many of those animals are legitimate, working dogs, some are not. So if you’ve been bitten by a stranger’s dog, consult a lawyer. The dog isn’t likely a true working animal, and you are well within your rights (and morals) to demand compensation for your injury.Read More
Pet care is a critical part of an estate plan for any pet owner. Where will the pet live once I die? Unless the pet owner has a good friend or family member close by, the animal could get placed at a municipal shelter without the promise of survival.
If you have pets, but don’t know where they will live when you die, contact a lawyer to help you craft an estate plan that includes pet care instructions. In most major cities, including San Diego, the estate plan facilitates transferring the animal to an adoption agency designed to protect orphaned animals.
Pets provide significant comfort to the elderly. Knowing that the animal will be treated with respect and love for its entire life is crucial to most animal owners. In fact, the well being of a pet is often the impetus for creating an estate plan; with some adults are entirely focused on ensuring their pets are placed in a safe and loving home.
The Helen Woodward Animal Center is a great resource for anyone who needs help determining where an orphaned animal will go. Thanks to an extensive group of volunteers, the orphaned animals go into foster care until a new, permanent home is found.Read More
Some insurance companies are shying away issuing homeowner’s (or renter’s) insurance for the owners of some dog breeds. Unfortunately, some dogs are statistically more likely to bite or behave violently, and if you own one of these breeds, you may need to shop around for insurance.
It might feel unfair, but insurance companies are big, faceless companies that only look at hard, cold facts. And because some dog breeds are more susceptible to become violent, the insurance companies make the blanket decision to reject any home where those breeds live.
If you own a breed that has a poor reputation, don’t let your insurance policy lapse. Although it’s unlikely that you dog will bite or snap, one simple act could put your squarely in front of a judge, facing thousands of dollars of medical bills for the bite-victim.
In addition, take the time to consult with a personal injury lawyer about preventing dog bite lawsuits. Bring your insurance policy for him or her to review. In just one hour with a lawyer, you can get several important tips for avoiding lawsuits and saving the life of your pet.Read More
Perhaps the neighbor’s dog barks when you’re on your own lawn. Maybe the dog has a habit of chasing cars on the street. Or perhaps, the dog stands and growls at people walking by the house. If you feel your neighbor has a dangerous animal, there are several steps you can take to avoid problems while documenting the issues for future legal action.
Personal injury cases depend on someone’s negligence. Homeowners, business owners, pet owners… someone needs to be responsible — or the injury is just an accident. If you think your neighbor is ignoring the fact that his or her animal is dangerous, then you have the start of a personal injury case.
Typically, evidence of negligence has to collected after the accident has already occurred. For example, if you trip and fall because of a loose step on the front door of a business, then you would have to document the problem after the accident. But in many cases, the person responsible for the accident quickly fixes such a problem.
With an animal, you might have time to observe and document problems before they turn into injuries. Photographs of the dog on the street without a leash, copies of police records indicating the dog’s threatening behavior, notes from any conversations about the animal… these are examples of documentation you and your lawyer can use if the animal eventually bites or hurts someone.
Of course, by talking to the neighbor or contacting the police prior to a problem you could significantly reduce the likelihood of an incident. If you think you have a dangerous animal in the neighborhood, start communicating with the police immediately and document every step you take. Any evidence you have will be invaluable if the dog causes an injury.Read More
If you hit a dog or cat on the street with your car, the pet’s owner probably won’t win if they try to sue you. (But it doesn’t mean the owner won’t try.) And if you own the pet that’s been hit, in general the courts will determine that you should have had full control over the animal if it was on public property.
There are some exceptions — such as someone deliberately trying to injure your pet or an injury happening on private land. These exceptions, however, are rare and would likely end with the courts still insisting that animal owners should control their animals.
There isn’t much to recover in these cases anyway. Pets are considered property, and the fair market price for an animal is generally lower than $500. Medical bills and pain and suffering aren’t considered recoverable damages by the courts in property cases.
Lastly, injury TO animals is not covered in auto or home insurance policies. Because the vast majority of injury cases are settled by well-endowed insurance companies, an animal injury case comes without the kind of financial backing that attracts most plaintiffs.
If you have been injured BY an animal, contact a lawyer immediately. Similarly, if your pet has injured someone, you will need a lawyer to guide you through personal injury court proceedings.Read More