Dog Bites / Dog Attacks
Dogs are typically known as ‘man’s best friend’, and are generally friendly, loyal, loving and devoted animals. However, some dogs can be violent or aggressive, unfortunately, which can lead to attacks, and dog bites that cause injuries to people can come from dogs who are not necessarily violent or aggressive, in any way. Small children interacting with strange dogs can pose different risk scenarios. For example, a small child, reaching out to a dog may evoke a bite as a defensive response from the dog. In other instances, a dog simply playing with a child may result in a bite to the child’s face or hand.
Many states hold dog owners “strictly liable” for dog bites. This means that if a person is bitten by a dog, the owner of the dog is responsible for the costs and damages their dog causes, regardless of the dog's propensity to attack, and there is no need to prove that the owner was negligent (no need to show duty, breach of duty, causation of injury and damages). In states that do not recognize strict liability, a dog owner may still be deemed liable when their dog bites a person. California Civil Code Section 3342 states that “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.” California Civil Code Section 3342.5 imposes a duty on the owner of a dog that has bitten a human being to take reasonable steps to remove any danger presented to other people from bites by that dog. Furthermore, according to California law, if a dog has bitten a human being on at least two separate occasions, any person, a city attorney or district attorney may bring a lawsuit against the owner to determine whether or not the danger to others has been removed with respect to the dog.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and that approximately eight hundred thousand (800,000) Americans seek out medical attention for dog bites on an annual basis. Of the total population seeking medical attention as a result of a dog bite, nearly four hundred thousand (400,000) require emergency room treatment, and approximately sixteen (16) people die each year as a result of dog attacks.
Half of the reported dog bite cases involve children as victims, according to the CDC. The American Humane Association reports that fifty percent (50%) of dog attacks involve children under twelve years of age, and that eighty-two percent (82%) of all dog bites treated in emergency rooms involved children under the age of fifteen (15). The American Humane Association further reports that approximately two-thirds of all dog bites occurred on the property of the victim, or very close to the property, and that many dog bite victims actually knew the dog that bit them. Some of the most alarming and horrifying statistics from the American Humane Association are that seventy percent (75) of all dog bite fatalities occurred among children under ten years old, and that unsupervised newborn children were three-hundred seventy (370) times more likely to be killed by a dog than an adult.
Dog bites can cause a wide variety of injuries ranging from the fear and anxiety caused by a small nip or scratches, to scarring, disfigurement, nerve damage, victim and infections.
Having an attorney to properly present your dog bite case to an insurance company can be indispensable. At Willoughby Brod, LLP, we have handled many types of dog bite and dog attack cases, several of which have involved young children as victims. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite or dog attack, Willoughby Brod, LLP can help. Greg Brod has extensive experience handling dog bite cases, including obtaining a jury verdict in the amount of four hundred thousand dollars ($400,000) in 2001 on behalf of a young child who was attacked by a dog in Contra Costa County. At Willoughby Brod, LLP, we can help the victims of dog bites and dog attacks receive the compensation that those victims deserve. Contact us online or call us at (800) 427-7020 for a free case evaluation, today.