Dogs are often considered to be man’s best friends, but there are cases where a dog can be man’s— or anyone’s— worst enemy. That can happen when a dog attacks or bites an innocent person without provocation. Dog attacks are not that common, but when they occur, they can cause serious injuries to the victim. The size of the dog does not matter because a dog bite can cause severe damage to a person no matter how large or small the animal may be. One of the reasons is that even minor dog bite injuries can cause an infection that can make even a small wound much worse.
When a dog that is owned by someone attacks an innocent person, then the dog owner is the one who is held responsible because they should know whether their dog regularly exhibits aggressive behavior towards strangers. That means the injured person can get compensation from the dog owner to take care of the medical treatment needed for the injuries caused by the dog attack. However, they will need the aid of a dog bite lawyer if they want to get that compensation. That is why anyone who was the victim of a dog attack in Orange County should contact Timothy J. Ryan and Associates to get the help they need.
Timothy J. Ryan has over forty years of experience helping residents of Orange County with their personal injury cases, so he has the knowledge and expertise you need to help you with your dog bite case. He can prove that the dog owner was being negligent when the accident happened, which gives victims the best chance of getting fair compensation for their dog bite injuries. So, if you were bitten by a dog that was not properly restrained by its owner, then get in touch with Orange County dog bite attorney Timothy J. Ryan to get a free consultation about your case.
The Injuries Caused By a Dog Bite
Dog bite injuries can be very serious and even life-threatening because they can cause heavy bleeding and infection, among other problems. The bigger and more powerful the dog, the worse the injuries can be. The following are the injuries that can be caused by a dog attack:
These injuries are deep cuts in the skin that can cause excessive bleeding. They will usually need to be treated using stitches.
This type of dog bite injury happens when the dog’s teeth pierce the skin. They are similar to lacerations but are usually smaller, nevertheless, they can be serious enough to require medical treatment.
Large dogs with powerful jaws can actually break the bones in the limb that is being bitten. In addition to the broken bones, the dog can cause injuries to the soft tissue and muscles as well.
These are some of the most serious kinds of dog bite injuries because they involve the dog ripping out a part of the victim’s body. That could be a piece of skin or even an ear. These types of injuries require serious medical treatment and could cause permanent scarring.
Sometimes a dog bite is deep enough to injure the nerves of a body part. That could lead to a temporary or permanent loss of function in that body part.
Any kind of wound caused by a dog bite is susceptible to infection if the dog had infectious bacteria in its saliva. Rabies is the most well-known infection that is caused by a dog bite, but they can cause tetanus as well.
Should I Get an Orange County Dog Bite Lawyer?
The answer is yes because even though a dog bite case seems straightforward, there can be complications that could potentially derail your case if you do not have an experienced attorney to help you. One reason that an attorney is necessary for a dog bite case is that they know about the various laws involving dog bites and how they can help or hinder your case.
The first thing that your dog bite attorney will do is make sure that your case gets filed on time; all personal injuries have a statute of limitations, which is a time limit in which the case has to be filed. In Orange County and the rest of California, personal injury victims, which includes dog bite victims, have a two-year limit from the time of the injury to file a claim or lawsuit against the party responsible for the dog bite incident.
The Dog Bite Statute of California
An Orange County dog bite lawyer will also have knowledge of California’s strict liability statute, which determines the dog owner’s liability for the dog bite. The statute states that a dog owner is liable for the injuries caused by the dog bite in the following situations:
- If the damages were caused by the dog bite.
- If the dog bite occurred in a public place or in a private place where the victim was invited. A public place would be a location like a park or a sidewalk.
The California statute only applies to injuries that were directly caused by the bite rather than any other behavior of the dog. For example, if a dog chases a cyclist who falls off their bicycle and gets injured, then the California statute does not apply, though the negligence rules still do, meaning that the victim can still make a case against the owner of the dog. The California statute does not apply to dog bites caused by an animal that is performing police or military duty.
The Strict Liability Statute of California
When it comes to dog bites, Orange County and the rest of California follow the doctrine of strict liability. That means that the owner is liable for an attack whether or not they knew that their animal was aggressive. Even if the dog had never bitten someone before, the owner is still responsible for all the damages caused by the bite.
The statute states quite clearly that the owner of the animal is liable “regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.” That means victims only need to prove that the bite occurred in a public place or lawfully in a private place. The victim does not need to prove that the owner knew about the dog’s viciousness or that they failed to properly restrain the animal.
How Much is a Dog Bite Lawsuit Worth?
The worth of a lawsuit differs from state to state but as of 2019, California ranked in the top ten of states with the highest average dog bite claims at $51,264. California also had one of the highest numbers of dog bite claims with 2396. The high number of claims and the high payout means that the total claim payout for dog attacks in 2019 was $123 million.
Will a Dog Get Put Down For Biting Someone?
Under California law regarding dangerous dogs, there are a few scenarios where they can be put down though there are sometimes other alternatives available. State law requires that owners take reasonable steps to eliminate the danger of future attacks if their dog has bitten someone before. If a dog has previously bitten a human twice in separate incidents, then the law states that a civil suit can be brought against the owner of the animal. The same goes for when a trained attack dog bites a person even once. In either case, the court can order the owner to take measures that prevent future attacks, which includes removing the dog from the area or having it destroyed.
The state also has a different legal process for controlling dangerous animals. If animal control or a law enforcement officer believes that an animal is a threat, then they can file a petition for a hearing to determine if the animal is dangerous. If the court decides that the dog is dangerous, then they will rule that it must be kept indoors, kept in a fenced yard that keeps children out, or kept on a leash that is held by a responsible adult. If a dog is deemed to be a threat to the public, then animal control could have it destroyed. However, the court could also impose strict conditions on controlling the dog to protect the public, and if those conditions are violated, then the owner will be fined. In cases where a dog is vicious enough that it needs to be put down, the courts will prohibit the owner from getting another dog for up to three years.
Under California law a dog is considered to be potentially dangerous if it has done any of the following:
- If it has forced people to defend themselves against aggressive and unprovoked behavior away from the owner’s property in at least two incidents in the last three years.
- If it has bitten someone without provocation and caused an injury that was not severe.
- If it has killed or injured another domestic animal without being provoked, at least twice in the last three years.
An animal is considered vicious by the law if it has done any of the following:
- It killed or injured someone without provocation.
- It was already deemed to be potentially dangerous by the courts and the dangerous behavior continued, or the owner did not meet the restrictions imposed on the animal.
Dog Bite FAQs
Q. What should I do after I have been bitten by a dog?
You should seek medical attention if the bite broke the skin since even minor dog bites could cause an infection. You should also report the attack to law enforcement so that they have a record of the incident, the dog, and its owner. That way you will know how to contact the owner if you need to file an injury claim or plan to pursue further legal action.
Q. Are any dog breeds outlawed in California?
First-generation wolf hybrids cannot be kept as pets, but otherwise, standards are decided by communities but not the state. For example, Pitbulls and Rottweilers are banned in some communities, but not by the state.
Q. Is there insurance that covers a dog bite injury?
Insurance companies do not specifically cover dog bite injuries, but some homeowner’s insurance policies will cover dog bites that occur on the owner’s property. However, some insurance companies will not cover certain breeds if they are deemed to be dangerous.
Contact Us If You Were Injured By a Dog Bite
Dog bites of all kinds can cause serious injuries and infections, but the trauma of the bite does not end with the injury. It could cause extreme pain and suffering as well as emotional and psychological problems. That is why the victims of dog bites will need compensation to cover the expenses caused by the attack, and they will need a personal injury attorney to help them get the compensation they need. Specifically, they will need a personal injury attorney who is experienced with dog bite cases.
Timothy J. Ryan is an Orange County dog bite lawyer who has over forty years of experience. That means he can help dog bite victims get the justice and compensation they deserve. He can help prove the owner’s negligence and will negotiate with their insurance company to make sure that they give you a fair settlement. The insurance company will always try to offer the lowest amount, which is why dog bite attorneys should be the ones to deal with them.
So contact Timothy J. Ryan and Associates if you were attacked by a dog or if you suffered any other kind of personal injury. Whether you were in a car accident or you were bitten by a dog, we will offer you a free consultation of your case and fight to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve.