We are all familiar with the saying “a dog is a man’s best friend.” This is particularly true in California, where 40 percent of households own dogs, more than any other state in the U.S.
Many of these dogs are successfully adopted through rescue organizations.
While a majority of dogs rescued make wonderful animal companions, this is not always the case. When a San Diego family adopted a dog from Labrador and Friends, disaster soon struck. Shortly after bringing the dog home, it attacked their 21-year old son, biting him so severely his nose was nearly ripped off his face. Although the organization gave the family information about the dog, its history, chip, and veterinary records, they failed to disclose that the dog had, in fact, attacked a woman a month earlier, inflicting a severe bite that almost took her finger off.
Dog bite injuries are not uncommon. Every year in the U.S. approximately 885,000 bites occur, almost 20 percent requiring medical attention. California has the most bites of any state.
California Dog Bite Laws
Handling of dog bite cases varies from state to state, California has some of the most comprehensive laws regarding dog bites.
The “strict liability” rule in place here means dog owners cannot escape liability by claiming they had no knowledge that the dog would be aggressive. Owners are responsible for damages for dog bites if the person was bitten in public or in a lawfully private space.
In California, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases, which puts a deadline on lawsuits filed with the civil court, is two years. This deadline applies to dog bite cases and a court would usually throw out a claim if it was filed outside of this period.
Owners would not, however, be liable if the person attacked did so while trespassing or in circumstances where the injury was not caused by the bite. For instance, if you were injured because a dog knocked you over. In situations such as these, California negligence rules would apply instead.
What To Do If You Think A Dog Might Attack
There are many circumstances where you might be confronted by an aggressive dog, whether you are out for a jog or a bike ride.
If you suspect a dog might attack you, it is important to stay calm and avoid making eye contact. Place whatever object you have in reach between you and the dog to make yourself appear larger and in command of your space. This could be anything from an umbrella to a purse or backpack.
Contact an Attorney
If you are a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you may be able to claim damages. Contact a dog bite attorney at The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We will fight for you to get the best results and collect the most damages for your dog bite injury. Our offices are located in Temecula, Oceanside, Escondido, and San Diego.