PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
California Dog Bites Lawyer
If a person is injured as a result of a dog bite, he or she may be entitled to two types of damages:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages (or general damages)
Economic damages are usually quantifiable. They include expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and other tangible costs expected with care and recovery.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are harder to measure. They are meant to compensate a person for any loss in life quality, emotional anguish from permanent disfigurement, physical pain, and more.
Every specific case is different and contacting a qualified attorney who has handled dog bite cases can help you assess damages in your specific case.
What can I sue for?
Even if a dog grabs a person with its teeth but doesn’t break the skin, it could still be considered a bite. The owner could not only be responsible for the actual dog bite, but also for injuries caused as a result of the dog bite. For example, in one example, the owner was held liable where a worker fell from his ladder after the dog closed its jaw on his pants.
What is considered a dog bite?
California laws make a pet owner “strictly liable” for dog-bite injuries. When a victim sues for damages from a dog bite, it doesn’t matter whether the owner knew their dogs had never been vicious before. That means, that a dog owner cannot argue that they didn’t know their dog could be dangerous. However, there are some exceptions as to when a dog owner can be held with strict liability.
An owner is strictly liable only if the injured person was:
- Bitten, and
- Was in a public place or was lawfully in a private place when the bite happened.
That means that if the person was trespassing on private property when bit, then the owner would not be strictly liable.
Criminal and Civil Liability?
In some instances, criminal charges may be filed if a dog bites a person. Criminal charges apply when a dog owner knew that their dog was prone to “mischievous” behavior, but did not control their dog, and their dog injured or killed a person.
Even if criminal charges are filed, the injured person may nevertheless sue the owner for damages. The civil suit must generally be filed within two years after the injury.
Defenses in Dog-Bite Lawsuits
An Advocate You Can Trust
Whether your dog caused another person injury with a bite, or if you were the person injured by a dog bite, you should consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer. If you were injured, experienced personal injury lawyer Christopher Kreeger can help you understand how California’s law applies to your situation, what damages you may be entitled to, and when to file your claim. If your dog injured another, we will advise you as to what defenses may be available to you.
To schedule your consultation today, contact us at (916) 782-8400.