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Foothill Farms Dog Bite Lawyer

dog bite

Dogs can be an excellent addition to a family.  They combat loneliness by offering their owners unconditional love, and some dogs are beneficial for home protection purposes. While the canine companion is the most popular pet in the United States, the flip side is that they are sometimes responsible for causing injuries and trauma.  Any dog can potentially bite a human, and sometimes those bites result in severe injuries and scarring.  

If you have been bitten by a dog and feel you may need the services of a Foothill Farms dog bite lawyer, call our legal team at AutoAccident.com for a free no-obligation consultation. When you call (916) 921-6400, our injury lawyers will answer your questions and discuss your legal options.

Bites are Potentially Serious Injuries

Dog bites range in severity. Even a “nip” can result in infection, but more violent biting, tearing, or mauling can cause disabling and disfiguring injuries.  A vicious dog can inflict a fatal attack in the most horrifying scenarios.

Dog Bite Epidemic

Each year, nearly five million people are bitten by dogs in the United States.  California has a proportionately high rate of dog bites, perhaps due to its pleasant weather, which leads to more people pursuing outdoor activities and often bringing their dogs. Approximately a fifth of dog bites results in injuries severe enough to warrant medical treatment. Treatment can range from a one-time visit for cleaning and antibiotics to months of care involving dressing changes, surgeries, and reconstructive procedures.

Which Dogs Bite and Who Gets Bitten

Unless it has no teeth, any dog can bite, but some breeds are represented in the statistics for dog bite injuries more than others.  Bulldog breeds (pit bulls) account for more bites requiring medical treatment. They are also responsible for the majority of fatal dog attacks.  Other breeds that bite more often are rottweilers, German shepherds, and hunting breeds.  

Male dogs are significantly more likely to bite than female dogs.  Intact males are more likely to bite than those that have been neutered.  A higher percentage of dog bite victims are 14 or younger, and boys are likelier to be bitten than girls.

Why Dogs Bite

Understanding the reasons that a dog may bite is an essential part of preventing the bite in the first place.  Here are some of the traits that may trigger a dog’s bite instincts:

  • Fear – If they get startled or feel threatened.
  • Possessiveness – Some dogs are very protective over a person, home, or even a bone or toy.  
  • Pain –  If a dog is injured, ill, or otherwise in pain, this may cause the animal to bite
  • Maternal protection – A female dog may protect her puppies with aggressive behavior.
  • Prey/chase instincts – Hunting dogs or dogs bred for fighting may be more prone to prey behavior, such as chasing.  Sometimes a jogger passing the dog will trigger this instinct.

Get tips for handling aggressive dogs in this video:

Preventing Dog Bites

Though not all bites can be prevented, there are ways to avoid putting oneself at greater risk of a dog bite.

  • Owners should take care to socialize their dogs and provide basic training.  Owning a dog means you are responsible to the public that your pet will not cause harm.
  • If you see an unknown stray dog in your neighborhood, report it to animal control.

Teach children the following dog safety rules:

  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Never pet a dog without first asking the owner’s permission.
  • If you receive permission to pet the dog, ensure it sees you first and allows it to sniff you.
  • If approached by an unfamiliar dog, remain still. Do not run or scream.
  • Leave a dog who is eating or sleeping alone.
  • If a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball and remain still.
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite

Sometimes despite best efforts, a dog bite may occur.  After being bitten, several essential steps are needed to protect yourself.

  • First, seek medical treatment.  Dog bites commonly cause secondary infection, and a healthcare provider will be able to thoroughly irrigate and clean the wounds to lessen the chance of infection.  You will likely also be prescribed preventative antibiotics.  Less likely, but still possible, if the rabies vaccination series is warranted, it can be started.
  • If possible, before you leave the scene to seek medical attention, have someone get the name, phone number, and address of the owner of the dog.  This information will be crucial if any legal action needs to be taken.
  • Report the bite to Sacramento Animal Control.
  • Take pictures of all visible injuries.  Continue to take photos daily through the healing process and after any subsequent medical procedures.  Get good-quality pictures of any scars remaining after the wounds have healed.
  • Contact an experienced Foothill Farms dog bite attorney through the online chat at autoaccident.com or (916) 921-6400.  Consultation is free of charge.
California Dog Bite Law

Dog owners in California are strictly liable for any damages caused to a person bitten by their dog. This liability is regardless of negligence and does not matter where the bite occurred.  Some exceptions include if the person bitten was trespassing on the owner’s property or was provoking the animal. In most cases, however, if your dog bites someone, you are responsible for the injured person’s damages.  The primary statute setting out the dog owner’s responsibility can be found in Civil Code Section 3342.  

If the dog owner owns a home, a claim against the homeowner’s insurance can be made, even if the bite occurred somewhere other than the dog owner’s house.  

If the dog owner rents his or her living space, there may be a liability on the part of the landlord.  However, it is not as easy to assign responsibility to a landlord- no strict liability statute is in place for someone who rents a home to a dog owner.  For a landlord to be held responsible if their tenant’s dog bites someone, they must have prior knowledge of the dog’s viciousness.  

Types of Injuries

Dog attacks usually result in puncture wounds.  More severe attacks can also involve the tearing of the skin and muscle.  Nerves can be damaged, resulting in permanent numbness or dysfunction. Often, dog bites result in scarring and disfigurement.  These are just some injuries that can occur during relatively minor dog attacks. The severity of injuries can increase from there, including death. 

In addition to the physical injuries caused by dog attacks, psychological damage is often done as well. Especially in younger victims, the attack may result in a life-long fear of dogs.  It is crucial to start therapy for PTSD soon after the traumatic event to mitigate the effects. Some of the symptoms to look out for after a traumatic incident such as a dog attack is:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Nightmares
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty at school
  • Diminished appetite
  • Increased startle response

Quickly addressing the physical and psychological damages associated with the dog attack can result in better outcomes for the person bitten.  An experienced injury attorney can protect your legal rights and help you get the medical care you need.

Foothill Farms Dog Bite Lawyer

If you or someone you care about has been injured due to a dog attack, call me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

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Editor’s Note: updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 6.26.23] Photo by Pixabay mm cha [cs 1279]