Dog Bite Injuries in Southern California
There are rules for pet owners to follow. Most jurisdictions require a dog to be leashed while in public and to secure a dog from getting out of a private property. Certain breeds may have additional requirements. If you have been a victim of a dog bite, call a personal injury attorney to determine your rights.
Are there rules for dog ownership?
A dog is seen as an extension of an owner. Any harm done by the dog in public, the owner would be strictly liable in most circumstances. California does not have a "one free bite per dog." Any breed of dog could bite and the owner would be responsible for injuries caused as a result of the bite.
Do dog owners have to keep their dogs on a leash in public?
Generally, yes. Sometimes there will be dog parks or beaches which may allow an unleashed dog, but most places which are open to public attempt to avoid liability by instituting a leash policy for dogs.
Can dog owners leave their pets in their front yard?
If the yard is fenced or the dog is leashed and there is no way the dog could escape to harm anyone, it would be fine. However, if the dog can jump up enough to bite someone passing on the sideway, it could cause liabilities to the dog owner. There could also be an attractive nuisance issue, because a leashed dog without a fence could invite unsuspecting small children who could sustain bite injuries upon approaching the dog.
What should I do after a dog bite?
It depends on how serious the injury may be. You might have to seek immediate medical attention if there is blood or torn flesh, because there might be a need for sutures, nerve and muscle tissue damage, rabies and a host of other medical problems. If there was not much injury, you may want to wash the area with water and soap for at least five minutes and determine of you want to seek medical attention. If there is pain, numbness, tingling, blood, lacerations or more serious injuries, it would be best to see a doctor.
Can I sue the owner of the dog after the dog bites me?
Yes, but winning will depend on the facts. It's important to get a free consultation with an attorney before attempting to sue on your own via small claims court.
Do dog owners have to pay for my medical bills if I was bitten?
If the bite was on public grounds and the victim (you) didn't do anything out of the norm to cause the bite, the owner could be liable. Even if the owner asked the person to stay away, but that person was too young, mentally incompetent, deaf or could not understand the language, the owner might still be liable for the bite. The facts would have to be investigated in order to determine fault/liability, even if the law holds dog owners strictly liable.
If the dog injures me without biting, is the owner still responsible?
Dog ownership has a lot of responsibilities. It's not just the bite. A dog can bump or push someone down a fight of stairs. Imagine a large dog breed jumping excitedly at a fragile senior citizen or a toddler who maybe standing at the edge of a steep staircase. If that person falls and get injured, the owner of that dog had a duty to maintain their dog in such a way to prevent accidents such as the one described.
Wais Azami is an understanding and aggressive Orange County dog bite attorney who will recover for your damages, pain and suffering as a result of injuries caused by someone else's dog. Call now for a free consultation: (714) 321-9999.