Dogs are among the most popular pets in the United States, with statistics indicating that tens of millions of dogs are owned as pets in the country. While dogs can be excellent companions and even perform certain practical functions, they are also capable of severely injuring human beings. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that almost 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually, and that half of dog bite victims are children. In addition, 20 percent of all dog bites are severe enough to require that victims receive medical attention.
Dog bites are capable of causing extremely serious injuries, including those that may leave victims with long-term complications or permanent scarring. Fortunately, California law recognizes the danger that dogs can pose, and allows victims of dog bites to recover for their injuries and other losses. Dog bite cases can be complicated, however, so it is highly advisable for people injured by dog bites to discuss their case with an experienced Orange County dog bite lawyer.
Injuries Caused by Dog Bites
The severity of injuries caused by a dog bite will depend on a number of factors, including the location of the bite, the duration of the attack, the strength of the dog, as well as the characteristics of the victim. Dog bite injuries can be caused by small dogs and large dogs alike, and by dogs of varying breeds. Some of the more common injuries caused by dog bites include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Nerve damage
- Loss of extremities
- Emotional trauma
- Muscle tears
In addition to these initial injuries, dog bites are also capable of causing serious infections. While popular belief is that dog mouths are relatively clean, the reality is that their mouths harbor millions of harmful bacteria. If these bacteria enter an open wound, victims may develop serious infections that may even result in the loss of limbs in certain cases.
California Dog Bite Law
While common law principles allow for recovery from dog bites, California is one of the states that has a statute specifically authorizing recovery for victims who are bitten by dogs. California Civil Code section 3342 imposes liability on dog owners for injuries caused by their dog, whether or not the owner knew the dog may be vicious. This is significantly different from the dog bite laws in several other states, which operate under a “one bite” rule. In those states, the dog’s owner is shielded from liability from the first harm that a dog causes.
In California, owners are held liable for bites that take place on public property and on private property, so long as the victim was lawfully present on that property.
Contact a California Dog Bite Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
Dog bite victims and their families may be able to obtain compensation for losses such as medical expenses, lost income, disfigurement, pain and suffering, and more. Suliman Jamal is an experienced California personal injury lawyer who is committed to helping dog bite victims fully recover. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at (714) 907-1021.