Bakersfield Dog Bite Lawyers
Traumatic Animal Attacks Can Leave Deep Scars
Dog Bite Injuries | Being attacked by an animal is a terrifying experience, and wounds from even small pets can cause extensive injuries requiring lengthy rehabilitation and significant medical care. Damage from an animal bite can affect muscle and tissue and cause permanent damage. And a child who endured an attack may be emotionally scarred by the event. The animal’s owner may be legally responsible for your injuries.
Dog Owners are Responsible for the Actions of Their Animals
California statutes impose “strict liability” on dog owners for injuries caused by their pets. This means that, in certain situations, an owner is legally responsible for a dog attack even if the animal was provoked or startled. California Civil Code Section 3342 holds an owner liable:
- If the person bit was in a public place or lawfully in a private place
- Even if the dog was not vicious in the past
- Even if the owner was not aware of the dog’s past behavior
There are a few exceptions. Criminal trespassers cannot recover for damages caused by a property owner’s dog. And the statute does not apply to dogs being used by police, military or government agencies in the course of their duties. If a dog bit someone in the past, that animal’s owner has a duty to take reasonable steps to remove any danger the animal presents to other people. Also, family members of someone who died as a result of a dog attack may have a valid claim for wrongful death.
Why do Dogs Attack?
A dog’s aggressive behavior can stem from many factors:
- The animal is startled or frightened
- The dog was trained to protect the owner’s property
- The dog was improperly trained
- The dog lacks exposure to humans
- The dog is suffering from an injury or disease
- The dog was protecting its family or owner
- The animal was somehow provoked
Whatever the reason, an owner is liable for a bite victim’s injuries if the person was in a public place or legally in a private place.
You can Take Steps to Prevent Dog Bites
There are several precautions that a dog owner or passerby can take to prevent a dog attack:
- Maintain adequate fencing or boundaries — Dogs need exercise and time outdoors. Ensuring that their area is restricted prevents attacks on people beyond the property.
- Get training — A course on canine obedience or discipline is beneficial for both the animal and the owner.
- Make routine veterinary appointments — Dogs often attack people when they are suffering from an illness or injury. Medical checkups can detect problems before they lead to aggressive behavior.
A person who encounters an unfamiliar dog should:
- Be aware of the dog’s body language — A stiff body, raised tail or ears pulled back are signs that a dog may be reacting aggressively to a nearby source.
- Stand still and remain calm — A dog may instinctively chase a fleeing person.
- Avoid direct eye contact — Direct and prolonged eye contact is a sign of aggression in dogs and other animals.
GET A FREE CONSULTATION IF YOU WERE ATTACKED BY A DOG
Injuries from dog bites often leave severe scars and damage to muscle and tissue. Young children are likely to be traumatized by the experience. Young Wooldridge, LLP provides legal advice and representation for people attacked by domestic animals. Schedule a free initial consultation at the Bakersfield office by contacting the firm at 661.578.6556 or online.