Dog bites are on the rise across the United States and particularly in California according to some recent research. The Insurance Information Institute revealed that a third of claims against homeowners’ insurance last year were due to dog bites.
In 2016, the total amount paid out to dog bite victims was approximate $600 million. This shocking figure was in part due to the fact that medial costs have skyrocketed, resulting in thousands or even tens of thousands in medical expenses over a serious bite.
How can you protect your family from these increasingly common lawsuits?
5 Ways to Avoid a Dog Bite on Your Property
Here are 5 things you can do to protect yourself:
- Get the right breed. – A professional can help you to select a breed of dog that should be able to interact with your family and others in your neighborhood peacefully.
- Avoid dogs with a history of aggression.
- Spay or neuter your dog. – According to researchers, a dog that has not been neutered is 3 times as likely to attack.
- Don’t allow children to bother an eating or sleeping dog.
- Keep dogs social. – If your dog is isolated from people other than your immediate family, it may be particularly wary of strangers and not understand how to interact properly.
If a Member of Your Family Has Been Injured by a Dog Bite
Unfortunately, not everyone is this conscientious about their pets. If you or a member of your family has been bitten by a dog, what can you do? First of all, see a doctor immediately to have the injury evaluated. Then contact Petrov Law Firm so we can help you to receive the proper settlement of your case. The average dog bite settlement in the US was over $33,000 in 2016, but insurance companies won’t shell out that kind of money automatically. Call 619-344-0360 to get your claim started today.
In 2006, about 27,000 people sought emergency room care for dog bites. In 2015, that number was up to 39,000, a shocking increase of 44%. In that same time period, the number of people seeking treatment for dog bites who had to be admitted for care increased from 800 to 1,400 – a 75% increase. Not only are dog bites an increasingly common problem in California, but it seems the severity of the attacks has grown worse as well.
California Dog Bite Statistics
One of the reasons dog bites are becoming a bigger issue in the state is the trend toward getting larger dogs. Pit bulls and pit bull mixes are far more likely to bite and do damage than many of the smaller breeds of dog.
The age groups that are most at risk are the very young and the very old. In fact, about one-quarter of dog attack deaths in the state involve children under the age of 10. The most common age group for dog bites is 5 to 9, and the second most common age range is 0 to 4. This should impress upon parents and dog owners of the need to be careful when it comes to having children near a dog.
Getting Help After a Dog Bite
Medical attention is vital after being bit by any type of animal. Unfortunately, medical bills resulting from a dog attack can reach into the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. In many cases, liability may be on the part of the owner. After receiving any emergency medical care that is needed, your next call should be to Petrov Law Firm. Our personal injury attorneys can help you to determine if you are deserving of compensation. Call 619-344-0360 to get a free consultation.Read More
In California, the owner of a dog is responsible for damages caused by dog bites, even if the dog has no history of violence. A few exceptions to this rule exist when it comes to trespassing on private property or provocation of the animal. However, there are further laws that dictate matters when a child is involved.
When a Child Is Bitten by a Dog
First of all, age is an important factor. Children under the age of five do not have the capacity to understand that hurting a dog can cause it to defend itself. Legally, provocation is the equivalent of negligence, and a child that young cannot be declared negligent. Therefore, the owner is still at fault.
Also, any minor who is following the express instructions of his or her parents cannot be considered negligent in behavior. Therefore, a minor who is bitten by a dog while following parental instructions cannot be considered to be provoking the animal.
Another factor that comes into play is when a dog bites a child who is at daycare. Now the matter becomes a case of negligence against the defendant. Even in some cases where the daycare owners required parents to sign a release, the daycare was still held accountable for the bite.
If Your Child Has Been Attacked by a Dog
The Petrov Law Firm has a great deal of experience when it comes to dog bite law in California. We are willing to offer a free consultation if you or a loved one have become a victim of such an unfortunate experience. In addition, we may be able to recommend a medical professional who can offer appropriate dog bite care.Read More
If you live in Orange County California, there are numerous animal control laws in effect that should prevent things like dog bites from occurring. Consider some of the following laws.
Laws Involving Leashes and Public Property
Basically, the only times an owner can have a dog off the leash in Orange County is at home or at a dog park that allows off-the-leash pets. In fact, leashes or chains need to be 6 feet in length or shorter to ensure that the person in charge can get control of the dog quickly.
The person holding the leash has to be competent to take care of the dog. If a 5-year-old girl loses control of a 150-pound dog, that’s no real surprise. An adult needs to be holding the leash.
Also, unless the dog is a service dog or guide dog (or if you have a special permit), you have to avoid public schools, public beaches, and public parks that are not intended for pets. If a dog were to be on public school property and hurt a child, that would be a big problem because dogs are not even allowed on school property except in the special circumstances noted above.
Finally, an owner cannot intentionally or through inability to control the animal allow a dog to trespass on private property without consent from the property owner.
Dog Bite Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, whether the owner was abiding by the laws noted above or not, the owner owes you damages. The Petrov Law Firm offers free consultations to dog bite victims. Contact us today at 619-344-0360.
Obviously, it is always better to avoid a dog attack than to have to seek compensation, so let’s start by giving you a few tips on how to protect yourself if you come face to face with an angry canine.
Unfortunately, this a very common issue in the US with about 4.5 million Americans being bit annually (according to the CDC). Add to this the fact that approximately 1 in 5 dog bites gets infected and you have the recipe for some serious injuries and major medical bills.
The Dos and Don’ts of Encountering a Dog
First of all, it is important to stay calm. You may have surprised the dog just as much as it surprised you. Gruffly telling a dog to sit may worry it even more and result in unpredictable behavior. While your first instinct may be to grab and toss a stick, the dog may see you reaching for something on the ground as a sign of aggression. You’re better offer keeping your distance and encouraging the dog to view you as a friend by saying things like “good dog” or other phrases owners often use as encouragement.
What to Do if a Dog Attacks
If a dog catches you off guard or comes at you despite your best efforts, you need to remember a few things. First, protect your neck. Dogs will go for soft tissue areas. You’ll take a lot less damage from a leg bite. Second, if a dog locks its jaw on you, pulling away will only tear the flesh and do more damage.
Another important thing to remember is to see a doctor immediately as you may require shots, especially if rabies is a concern. Then the next professional visit to make is to a lawyer. You need to know your legal options when it comes to recouping money on medical bills as well as the trauma of being placed in such a situation.Read More
More and more people in California are bringing companion animals with them everywhere they go. Unfortunately, not all of the animals that are classified as companion animals are equally trained, and some could still be likely to bite. If you’ve been bitten by an animal in public, make sure to collect the name of the owner along with the names of witnesses. Then contact a personal injury attorney to help you find out how you can proceed.
There are two classification of companion animals. The first are professionally trained, working animals. Professionally trained companion animals go through an extensive selection process to eliminate any animal that might be aggressive or uncooperative. Then, the animals that are selected for training spend years learning self control along with companion skills to finally reach certification. These animals can go anywhere the owner goes — from restaurants to airplanes. These animals are extremely intelligent and are very unlikely to bite anyone.
The second form of companion animals are emotional support animals. While dogs are the most common emotional support animal, cats, birds, and rabbits (among others) can also be considered as companions. These emotional support animals do not receive any training and are not able to self regulate their behavior any better than a common household pet. In addition, getting a doctor to say you need a companion animal is fairly easy and inexpensive.
In California, the law prevents most commercial establishments from demanding a form of proof for the companion animal. (Demanding proof can be seen as an act of discrimination.) Some consumers take advantage of this law and simply buy a companion animal vest, knowing that no one can demand proof. And while interpretations vary, the current laws might not even allow emotional support animals in eating establishments; but because of the discrimination laws, no one can ask for proof.
So because of the complex and conflicting laws, untrained dogs are everywhere. While many of those animals are legitimate, working dogs, some are not. So if you’ve been bitten by a stranger’s dog, consult a lawyer. The dog isn’t likely a true working animal, and you are well within your rights (and morals) to demand compensation for your injury.Read More
Perhaps the neighbor’s dog barks when you’re on your own lawn. Maybe the dog has a habit of chasing cars on the street. Or perhaps, the dog stands and growls at people walking by the house. If you feel your neighbor has a dangerous animal, there are several steps you can take to avoid problems while documenting the issues for future legal action.
Personal injury cases depend on someone’s negligence. Homeowners, business owners, pet owners… someone needs to be responsible — or the injury is just an accident. If you think your neighbor is ignoring the fact that his or her animal is dangerous, then you have the start of a personal injury case.
Typically, evidence of negligence has to collected after the accident has already occurred. For example, if you trip and fall because of a loose step on the front door of a business, then you would have to document the problem after the accident. But in many cases, the person responsible for the accident quickly fixes such a problem.
With an animal, you might have time to observe and document problems before they turn into injuries. Photographs of the dog on the street without a leash, copies of police records indicating the dog’s threatening behavior, notes from any conversations about the animal… these are examples of documentation you and your lawyer can use if the animal eventually bites or hurts someone.
Of course, by talking to the neighbor or contacting the police prior to a problem you could significantly reduce the likelihood of an incident. If you think you have a dangerous animal in the neighborhood, start communicating with the police immediately and document every step you take. Any evidence you have will be invaluable if the dog causes an injury.Read More
If you hit a dog or cat on the street with your car, the pet’s owner probably won’t win if they try to sue you. (But it doesn’t mean the owner won’t try.) And if you own the pet that’s been hit, in general the courts will determine that you should have had full control over the animal if it was on public property.
There are some exceptions — such as someone deliberately trying to injure your pet or an injury happening on private land. These exceptions, however, are rare and would likely end with the courts still insisting that animal owners should control their animals.
There isn’t much to recover in these cases anyway. Pets are considered property, and the fair market price for an animal is generally lower than $500. Medical bills and pain and suffering aren’t considered recoverable damages by the courts in property cases.
Lastly, injury TO animals is not covered in auto or home insurance policies. Because the vast majority of injury cases are settled by well-endowed insurance companies, an animal injury case comes without the kind of financial backing that attracts most plaintiffs.
If you have been injured BY an animal, contact a lawyer immediately. Similarly, if your pet has injured someone, you will need a lawyer to guide you through personal injury court proceedings.Read More
If your dog bites someone but has not been vaccinated for rabies, you might have to put the animal in supervised quarantine. Your dog is not likely to be put down (destroyed) simply because he or she bit someone.
Generally, you will have to pay a veterinarian to quarantine and supervise your dog for ten days after he or she bites someone. If the animal does not display any signs of unusual behavior after ten days, then the dog does not have rabies.
However, if the animal is at risk for having rabies (frequent contact with wild animals or other dogs) then the bite victim might have to go through preventive care while your dog is in quarantine. And as the owner of the dog, you’re probably going to have to pay for the victim’s medical treatments while the dog is under supervision.
In addition, the dog’s overall behavior will come under scrutiny (as will yours) to determine the general safety of the dog. Regardless of rabies, a dog that is prone to biting could be sentenced to death by a judge. A first time offence will probably not mean a death sentence for the dog, but once the dog is known for violence, as the owner you should take some preventative steps to help keep your dog alive.
Because a dog bite can mean expensive medical bills, quarantine, fear of rabies, and future scrutiny, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to give you direction as to how to proceed. In addition, your lawyer can go through your home or renters insurance policy to see if some or all of these associated costs will be covered with the policy’s liability clause.Read More
If your pet has been injured, intentionally or unintentionally, you can sue the person who harmed your animal. There are several factors that the legal system will take into account such as the circumstances surrounding the injury and any negligence by the person you are suing. Because pets are technically property, you won’t always be able to claim emotional distress, however, you can still recover some costs through a lawsuit.
For example, if your small dog runs out of the house and into the neighbor’s yard, your neighbor has very little cause for shooting the dog in self defence. However, if your dog is a pit bull that charges into the neighbor’s house barking louding and baring his teeth, your neighbor will have a better case for self defense.
If your neighbor is driving twice the speed limit and hits your dog in the street, you can probably make a good case for negligence. However, in such an instance, you will be held partially responsible for allowing your dog to roam free.
Through a lawsuit, you might be able to recover the cost of buying the animal, training and behaviour classes, and any veterinary bills for the pet’s recovery. If your animal has been injured, contact a personal injury attorney to go over your options.Read More