DOG BITE LAWS IN CALIFORNIACalifornia Civil Code, Section 3342, says the burden of dog ownership falls solely on the owner. If a bite occurs, it is most likely the fault of the dog owner. It is the dog owner’s full responsibility to make sure the animal is safe and capable of restraint amongst the public. If you have been bitten by an animal, chances are you have a strong case against the responsible party. Whether the bite occurred in a public or private place, that burden of ownership still applies. In other words, even if the dog bite occurred on the owner’s property, you may still have a case. It does not matter whether or not the dog has a history of viciousness or not—you are entitled to file a claim against the responsible party in the event of a bite.
TYPICAL LOCATIONS OF DOG ATTACKSMost commonly, we help people who have been bitten in these circumstances:
DOG BITES IN PUBLIC PLACESDog bites often occur in public places. We have helped individuals who have been bitten at the beach, park, or even in retail stores where pets are often brought. Usually, it doesn’t matter if you approached the animal to pet it. If the dog attacked, you may have a case against the responsible party.
DOG BITES IN DOG PARKSDog bites commonly occur in dog parks, especially when two animals get into a fight and the owner attempts to break it up. Sometimes, the other animal may attack the individual attempting to break up the dog fight. In many cases, the other person’s dog may have been aggressor.
DOG BITES IN RESIDENTIAL AREASIf your dog bite occurred at the home of another individual, you may have a case against the dog owner. These types of cases occur frequently. Usually, attacks are sudden and unexpected. Sometimes, dog bites occur because an animal has escaped out of their yard. Again, the most likely cause of these types of attacks is the loss of restraint over the dog.
TYPES OF INJURIES REPORTED IN DOG BITE ACCIDENTSDog bites can result in a range of catastrophic injury and sometimes even wrongful death. Commonly, we’ve helped people who have been injured by:
INFECTIONMany dog bites result in infection. A dog’s mouth is filled with potentially harmful bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus, Pastuerella and Capnocytophaga bacteria. Staphylococcus aureus can lead to MRSA which can lead to death if not appropriately treated. An infection due to Pastuerella is “potentially dangerous and can cause a chronic local infection of deep tissues and osteomyelitis” according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Capnocytophaga bacteria can infect bites and cause redness, swelling and pain. Injured people often report treatment with antibiotics or other active prophylaxis to recover from the bite. Sometimes, booster shots are given to injured people to help prevent tetanus. Rarely are rabies vaccinations administered according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but in some cases, it is necessary due to the type of bite and the animal in question.
PUNCTURE WOUNDSInjured people often report puncture wounds following a dog attack. Puncture wounds may or may not require stitches. They may require some hospitalization, whether the person is ultimately admitted or not. Puncture wounds most frequently occur on the hands, arms and legs but in more severe attacks, wounds can occur on the trunk of the body and even the face, neck and head.
PERMANENT SCARRINGMany people who have been bitten by a dog report permanent scarring. The emotional weight of permanent scarring can last a lifetime as well. And when scarring occurs on the face, the stakes are even higher.
NERVE DAMAGEDog bites can often be deep and therefore affect the nerves. Loss of feeling in the area around the bite can last a lifetime in the most severe cases. Nerve damage may result in physical or occupational therapy if a loss of function is experienced in the extremities.
BONE DAMAGESevere dog bite accidents can result in deep bone damage. These are bites that usually occur with larger dogs, especially Rottweiler, German shepherd, pit bull, or Staffordshire terrier breeds whose jaws are all extremely strong.
DISFIGUREMENTSDog bites commonly result in disfigurements. The uneven, jagged tearing that occurs as a result of dog bites can even lead to surgery. Whether the disfigurement is a scar or an amputation, the implications of a disfigurement injury can last a lifetime.
BREEDS MOST LIKELY TO BITEAlthough any dog can bite – whether large or small – some breeds are more prone to attacking. Tragically, over 1.4 million dog bites are reported each year. According to the most recent data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other nonprofits, the most common breeds that attack include:
PIT BULLSPit bulls are by far the most dangerous type of dog according to the most recent aggregated data collected from 2005 to 2017. About 66 percent of all fatal attacks are caused by pit bull breeds. Countless headlines make the news each year for pit bulls responsible for attacks leading to wrongful death. Children are also dramatically affected by pit bull attacks, accounting for more than half of all bites.
ROTTWEILERSRottweilers are the second-most common breed responsible for attacks. Rottweilers are aggressive dogs with a strong desire to protect. About 10 percent of all fatalities occurred as a result of Rottweiler attacks.
GERMAN SHEPHERDThe German shepherd is a natural defender of its territory. It comes as no surprise then to learn that it is the third-most likely breed to attack. About 5 percent of all fatalities occur due to German shepherd attacks.
MIXED BREEDOf the mixed-breed dogs, most likely to attack are the mixed terrier types such as mixed pit bull or Staffordshire terriers and other aggressive terrier breeds. Mixed breed attacks account for 4 percent of all bite-related fatalities.
OTHER BREEDS KNOWN FOR BITES AND ATTACKSAccording to the most recent data available, other common breeds responsible for dog attacks include:
- American bulldog
- Labrador retriever
- Doberman pinscher
- Golden retriever
- Heeler/Australian cattle dog
- Australian shepherd
- Chow chow
- Wolf hybrid
- Boston terrier
- Australian shepherd
- Belgian malinois
- Border collie
- Great dane
- Great pyrenees
- Jack Russell terrier
- Welsh corgi
- Shar pei