Experiencing a dog bite attack is a distressing and unforgettable event. Unfortunately, many of these attacks happen unprovoked when out in public places. A dog attack could even happen by a dog with whom you are acquainted. Dog bites have the potential to be severe and cause permanent injury, as well as cause serious infections. It’s vital to seek medical treatment immediately to avoid further complications. If you suffered injuries due to a dog bite, you may wonder what rights you have to pursue compensation from the dog owner. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and the emotional distress caused by such an experience. Learn more about dog bites and how a Glendale dog bite attorney can help you get financial relief.
What are California’s Dog Bite Laws?
Many states operate under a “one bite rule” where a dog owner is not responsible for their dog’s behavior if the dog has no history of violence. In California, most dog bite claims follow the doctrine of strict liability. In cases where a dog bites a person, the dog owner is liable for any injuries and damages if the attack happened in a public place or while the victim was legally on private property.
When a dog injures a person but does not bite them, the victim must prove negligence to succeed in their claim. A successful negligence claim requires establishing the following elements:
- Duty. The dog owner must act as a reasonable person to prevent the dog from causing injury to others.
- Breach. The dog owner did not control their dog, and it caused your injury by jumping on you or knocking you over.
- Causation. When the dog jumped on you or knocked you over, it caused your injuries.
- Damages. As a result of the dog attack, you suffered injuries or losses.
Succeeding on a negligence claim is much more complex than succeeding on a strict liability claim for a dog bite. However, it’s important to explore your options for recovering compensation for your injuries and losses, even if your attack did not result in a bite. A dog bite lawyer in Glendale can analyze the details of your case to explore your options for pursuing a claim against the dog owner.
Exceptions to Strict Liability Law
There are exceptions to the strict liability law applied to dog bites in California. The most significant exception to the strict liability law is when a dog does not bite a victim but causes injuries in another way, such as by jumping on a victim and causing them to fall. Other exceptions include these specific scenarios:
- The dog bite occurred by the victim was trespassing;
- The dog is a service animal protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act;
- The victim teased, taunted, or purposely upset the dog before the attack; and
- The dog was performing military work or was a law enforcement dog at the time of the attack.
An experienced dog bite injury attorney anticipates these defenses to prevent disruption to your case and your path to compensation.
Types of Dog Bite Injuries
An experienced Glendale dog bite attorney has seen it all. While dog bites affect each victim differently, the most common types of dog bite injuries sustained in these types of attacks include the following:
- Lacerations and cuts,
- Puncture wounds,
- Nerve damage,
- Emotional distress,
- Facial injuries,
- Dislocations, and
The severity of a dog attack often depends on the type of breed and victim. Severe dog bites may require multiple surgeries that can leave permanent scarring. Getting the compensation you need and deserve after such a jarring and unforgettable experience is vital. Speak with a dog bite attorney in Glendale to explore your options for financial relief.
In addition to your injuries, dog bites can also cause severe infections to victims due to the bacteria inside a dog’s mouth. The risk of infection increases depending on the severity of the bite and whether the victim has a weakened immune system. Glendale dog bite attorneys understand the fear and stress you may be experiencing after an attack, especially an attack with complications such as a severe infection.
Dog Bite Levels in California
California categorizes dog bites into six levels based on a dog’s behavior and the severity of the bite. The six levels are identified as follows:
- Level 1. The dog is aggressive but makes no skin contact with its teeth. No medical attention is required.
- Level 2. The dog makes skin contact but does not puncture the skin. There may be slight blood, but no medical attention is needed.
- Level 3. The dog causes a single bite with one to four punctures from the teeth, causing a shallow wound.
- Level 4. The dog causes a single bite with one to four punctures from the teeth, resulting in a deeper wound that may require stitches.
- Level 5. This type of bite results in deep wounds and may cause severe bleeding and permanent scarring even after the victim has recovered.
- Level 6. The attack is fatal.
All dog bites in California must be reported. After a reported dog bite, the dog must be quarantined for at least ten days to determine that the dog does not have the rabies virus. If the dog is positive for rabies, the authorities will euthanize it to protect the public from the virus.
A level 6 dog bite also requires the euthanization of the animal. Dog bites at lower levels may be subject to euthanization if the dog cannot be rehabilitated and remains a danger to the public.
What Can I Recover in Damages
California law permits victims injured in a dog bite attack to recover compensatory compensatory damages in the form of economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages represent direct financial losses resulting from your injuries. These damages include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and
- Property damage.
A dog bite attorney in Glendale gathers documentation like receipts, invoices, bills, and pay stubs to calculate the value of your economic losses and support your demand for compensation.
Noneconomic losses include intangible harm caused by your injuries. These losses are usually related to the psychological and emotional effects of your dog bite and include the following:
- Emotional distress,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of consortium,
- Permanent injury or disability, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Due to their subjective nature, recovering noneconomic damages is challenging without a Glendale dog bite attorney on your side. However, recovering these damages is vital to helping you and your family move forward positively after such a traumatic experience.
Contact a Glendale Dog Bite Attorney at Our Firm Today to Discuss Your Rights.
At the Weinberg Law Offices, we work tirelessly to ensure you get the compensation you’re legally entitled to receive. Our legal team communicates with you throughout the process to ensure you never feel in the dark about your situation. Our mission is founded on the belief that we are here to help our community. We believe there is no such thing as a small case and will always fight for our clients, regardless of their background. We are skilled negotiators in guiding our clients toward a favorable settlement. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, we have no qualms about proceeding to litigation if needed. Contact us by phone or email today for a free case consultation and learn how we can help you.