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Dog bites are more common than we realize and anyone can fall victim to a vicious dog attack. The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs yearly in the United States. About 800,000 of those people require medical attention, and about 50% of them are children. Additionally, 386,000 out of those victims are admitted into emergency rooms because their bites are so severe. As a personal injury attorney, I understand the physical, mental, and emotional anguish that can arise out of an unexpected and sudden event like a car accident or dog attack. No one ever plans for these events. We hear about them in the news, but a dog attack is one of the most surprising and sudden shocks that person can experience.
Dog Owners are Responsible for the Actions of their Pets
As human beings, we have a special and unique relationship with dogs. They are our pets, “man’s best friend,” and members of our own family. So when a dog hurts another human being, it’s difficult to comprehend, and it leaves the victim feeling lost, hopeless, confused, and even betrayed. How can a creature who gives so many love, comfort, and support hurt someone else?
The fact of the matter is no matter how tame or trained they may be, dogs still have their wild and animal instincts intact. If they perceive a threat, they will defend themselves and attack if necessary. The problem with domesticated dogs is that they are the product of their owners’ actions. And if an owner is negligent and irresponsible with his pet, then that dog’s behavior falls under the responsibility of its human caretaker.
Dog attacks happen frequently and regularly. If you have been the victim of a dog bite, our Pasadena law firm is prepared to seek recovery for your damages including medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
The responsibility falls on the dog owner’s negligence. Take action and contact an experienced Pasadena dog bite attorney who can fight aggressively on your behalf and get you the monetary compensation you deserve. You don’t pay a dime unless we get you a settlement.
Call us now for a free and confidential consultation.
Types of Dog Bites
Dog bites range in severity and are categorized by level. The first two levels occur the most frequently, and fortunately, are the least serious, rarely requiring any form of medical treatment.
Level 1 Bite
This usually starts with a dog that feels threatened by another animal or person and responds by lightly nudging its teeth against the perceived threat. There is no skin contact from its teeth, and this type of bite usually requires no medical treatment.
Level 2 Bite
A level 2 bite occurs when the dog responds with more aggression. The dog’s teeth make contact with the victim’s skin, but they do not penetrate deeply enough to make a puncture.
Level 3 Bite: To be categorized as a level 3 dog bite, the puncture wound must not be any thicker than 1/2 length of the dog’s tooth. Level 3 bites occur when a dog uses at least one of its teeth to puncture through the victim’s skin. Any dog that inflicts this type of injury poses a serious risk to its environment.
Level 4 Bite
If the victim’s puncture wound measures deeper than the length of the dog’s tooth then it’s categorized as level 4. This type of bite can injure a person in several parts of the body. In addition, a victim can experience severe bruising in and around the injured area. Bruising results from the dog’s violent shaking of its head during the attack. These types of dogs should be kept away from people altogether.
Level 5 Bite
A level 5 dog bite has the same consequences as a level 4 with the difference being that the victim suffers multiple wounds throughout the body. These types of dogs pose an immediate danger to society and are frequently euthanized.
Level 6 Bite
Deaths from dog attack are rare, though you do hear about them in the news from time to time. A level 6 occurs when a dog attack results in the death of its victim.
Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries can range from mild to severe, depending on the type of dog and its level of aggressiveness. These injuries can be temporary or permanent. Some typical examples of dog bite injuries include:
Face and eye injuries
Virus infections, including rabies
Mental and Emotional Effects after a Dog Attack
It’s not just physical injuries that may arise after a person suffers a dog attack. There is also the emotional and psychological trauma that comes after such a horrific event, such as:
Victims may not want to leave their homes for fear they will be attacked again.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Reliving the dog attack again
Sleep problems and nightmares
Developing an intense fear of dogs
Lower self-esteem as a result of injuries that result in disfigurement
Common Emotional Effects on Children After a Dog Attack
Children and especially vulnerable to the emotional effects of dog attacks. If you have a child that has been bitten by a dog you may observe the following behaviors:
Unusually aggressive behavior
Sleep disturbances and nightmares
Problems at school
Your child may display other signs not covered on this list as well, however, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your child and talk to them about how they’re feeling. An event like this can certainly alter their life well into adulthood. Make sure that they receive all the support they can get and seek professional help if your child is experiencing any symptoms.
California Dog Bite Laws
In California, dog owners are held liable for dog bites. It’s one of the few states to hold pet owners accountable for the actions of their animals. A pet owner cannot say that they were unaware that their dog was capable of hurting someone else. This claim cannot be used as a legitimate argument in court, and it won’t save the pet owner from any wrongdoing. Whether the owner was aware or unaware is beside the point.
However, to have a credible case, the attack must have occurred either on public or private property, with the knowledge and permission of the owner. For example, someone who trespasses onto private property without the property owner’s permission and suffers a dog attack wouldn’t be able to sue. Also, someone who gets attacked by a law enforcement dog while doing its job cannot sue the police department. For the dog attack victims, the burden is on them to prove that their injuries are a result of the dog owner’s negligence.
How a Dog Bite Attorney can Help
If you’ve been the victim of a dog attack, an attorney can help you seek recovery for your damages. The first step is to seek medical care if your injuries are serious. However, don’t put off speaking with an attorney. If the dog owner has property insurance that protects him from lawsuits, the insurer will do their investigation and look for weaknesses and inconsistencies in your case. They will look at the amount of time it took you to seek medical help and seek legal counsel. Any delay in time jeopardizes the chances of having a successful case.
Don’t wait long, and certainly, don’t attempt to settle a dog bite claim on your own. Going up against a large institution like an insurance company is too much of a risk. Get in touch with a dog bite attorney who can apply the law and win in your favor.
The actions of a negligent and irresponsible dog owner shouldn’t ruin your life. Seek justice and get compensated for what you deserve. Contact our law offices for a free consultation.