California Dog Bite Lawyers
We represent the plaintiff in dog bite and attack cases. If you've been been bitten or attacked by a dog, you should consult with a dog bite lawyer to determine if you are entitled to compensation to cover your medical bills and damages. Dog bites go much further than broken bones or scarring. The emotional trauma of a dog bite can last a lifetime.
The personal injury lawyers at Bisnar | Chase handle numerous dog bite and attack cases each year. We have the knowledge and experience it takes to represent our clients and help them obtain fair and full compensation for all their losses.
Please contact us at 949-203-3814 to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights. We are here to help. We'll provide you with a no obligation, free consultation about your dog bite case.
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When a dog attacks an individual - regardless of the victim's age, physical build or mental attributes - the incident leaves a mark. This goes beyond the physical puncture wounds and bite marks suffered by the victim. There is a heavy emotional and psychological toll in dog bite cases, which is indisputable. Whether the victim is a 6-foot-tall man or a 2-foot toddler, they both go through a period of intense fear and insecurity. A dog attack is traumatic, period. Dog agression can leave long lasting anxiety.
Injuries associated with a serious dog bite are typically:
- Deep contusions
- Serious head and face injuries
- Long term emotional scars
Dog Bite attorney, John Bisnar discusses steps to take after you've been bitten by a dog inlcuding taking pictures of your injuries right away.
California Leads the Nation in Dog Attacks
Two recent reports confirmed that California, especially the Los Angeles area, leads the nation when it comes to dog bite incidents. For example, Los Angeles has earned notoriety for the second year in a row as the U.S. city with the most dog attacks on postal workers. According to the U.S. Postal Service, Los Angeles had 69 dog attacks on mail carriers in fiscal year 2012. In 2011, Los Angeles led again with 83 mail carrier dog attacks.
Experts say year-round pleasant weather in Southern California could be one of the reasons why these incidents are so prevalent here. Also, according to a report released by State Farm insurance company, California led the pack when it came to the number of dog bite claims (527) and the payout in these types of cases ($20.3 million) during the year 2012.
Strict Liability Statute in California for Dog Bites
California has what is known as a "strict liability statute" when it comes to dog attacks. What this means is that dog owners are responsible for the actions of their pets, no ifs or buts. The only exceptions may be when the dog attack was provoked by cruelty toward the animal or when a dog bites someone who was committing a crime or trespassing on the owner's property. However, there are very few exceptions in this regard. In a majority of cases, dog owners can be held financially liable in addition to receiving citations or facing other penalties associated with the attack.
California's Civil Code Section 3342 states: "The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness." There have also been several recent cases in California where courts have upheld personal injury claims against landlords who have allowed a tenant to have a dangerous dog on premises.
Injuries and Treatment in Dog Bite Cases
Dog bite incidents can result in serious injuries including, but not limited to bites, puncture wounds, broken bones and even nerve injuries. Dog attacks also result in permanent scarring and disfigurement, which, needless to say, also causes serious emotional and psychological issues for victims. Often, victims or their families spend thousands of dollars on therapy so that their lives can return to normalcy. Most victims develop a long-term fear of dogs. Many victims also require plastic surgery to treat bite marks and scars. Some undergo several surgeries to repair these scars. Some are unsuccessful and are left with permanent scars.
Victims and their families also struggle with paying for these treatments. Most insurance companies do not cover plastic surgery procedures because they are cosmetic in nature and not something that is needed to save the life of a patient. Patients end up paying out of pocket for these procedures and much-needed psychological therapy sessions to combat issues such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Holding Dog Owners Accountable
It is unfair that victims pay such a high physical and financial price for a dog attack when the incident was not even their fault. Dog owners should be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses suffered by these unsuspecting victims. Injured victims can seek compensation in dog bite cases for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, cost of surgeries, permanent injuries, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Dog Attacks and Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners' insurance policies usually cover dog attacks. Most of these policies provide between $100,000 and $300,000 in liability coverage. However, if the dog owner is a renter or lacks insurance, the victim can try to hold the property owner liable for allowing a dangerous dog to live on the premises. In a recent development, Farmers Group notified its policyholders that it would no longer cover bites by pit bulls, Rottweilers and wolf hybrids under homeowners' insurance policies.
Despite sharp criticism from pit bull advocates, insurers say bites from pit bulls and other breeds have risen significantly in recent years along with the cost of settling those damage claims. Farmers said that the three breeds it listed accounted for more than 25 percent of their dog bite claims. Farmers officials also said that these breeds caused more harm than any other breed when they attacked.