Southern California Family Faces Lawsuit After Their Dog Attacks Girl Scout Selling Cookies
The family of a girl who was allegedly bitten by a dog while selling Girl Scout cookies has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner. According to an NBC Los Angeles news report, the lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against the dog owner alleging negligence and strict liability, seeking unspecified damages. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the girl by her guardian because she is still a minor.
According to the complaint, the girl went to the defendant’s home on Feb. 3, 2018 attempting to sell Girl Scout cookies. When she knocked on the door and it was opened, a dog ran out and bit her, the lawsuit states. The complaint does not state what type of dog attacked her. However, it does say that the dog’s owners negligently failed to control the animal. The girl suffered injuries to her head, neck and nervous system all of which may be permanent, the lawsuit alleges.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States and nearly one out of five bites become infected. In 2018, nearly 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs, which is typically not covered by medical insurance.
People end up paying out of pocket for surgery that is considered “cosmetic” and not “medically necessary.” The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was $18,200, about 50% higher than the average injury-related hospital stay. Also, homeowner’s insurers paid out $675 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2018.
Laws and Liability Issues
Under California’s strict liability statute, dog owners have a responsibility to pay for the injuries, damages and losses their pets cause. 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.”
In such cases, injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, cosmetic surgery, psychological counseling, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced California dog bite lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.