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You Got Bit? Don't Get Burned by Ignoring California's Dog Bite Law

Friday, March 18, 2016

Dogs are wonderful companions, but when poorly trained by their masters and under limited supervision, they can be a threat to the community. If you or someone you know has been attacked by an unsupervised dog, California's Dog Bite Law states that the owner of the animal must be held responsible for the actions of their pet. Before paying for hefty medical bills, be sure to understand that you may be able to take legal action against the dog owner to make sure that the fault of their actions doesn't have to come out of your wallet.

California Civil Code Section 3342 states, in its simplest terms, that the owner of any dog is held liable for damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog on either public or private property, which includes the dog owner's home. This also holds true regardless of whether or not this was the dog's first display of viciousness. The only exceptions to the law is if the dog bite victim was provoking the animal, trespassing, or in the process of committing a crime.

When to Seek Legal Representation?

If you were the victim of a dog bite that resulted in either physical injury or documented emotional trauma, you are eligible for litigation against the dog owner. With strong evidence of the event, you can also seek to any damages caused by the traumatic event.

Claim damages can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Surgeries
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

Were you or a loved one bit by a dog in California and forced to pay your own legal expenses? We can help. Contact us for a free consultation, we can make sure that you can win your court case before paying a penny in legal fees.

Bitten by a Dog in California? Things You Should Know

Friday, February 19, 2016

Dogs are wonderful, loyal creatures, but not all of their owners are. Sometimes, their owners let their loyalty stray, or misguide it. A dog with the wrong master can become a real menace. On the occasion that a dog bites a human, that dog's owner must be held responsible. Fortunately, California law reflects this.

In plain English, the law has several points that are worth noting:

  • Lawsuits against owners are either dismissed or damage amounts are reduced if the victim was found to be provoking the dog.
  • A defense of provocation is not applicable if the victim is under five years old.
  • Dog bite lawsuits apply strictly to an act of biting, not ramming or knocking-down.
  • If the victim is the dog owner's landlord, lawsuits can be filed on the grounds of negligence.
  • If the victim is an employee of the dog owner and the bite took place on company property, the lawsuit falls under labor action instead of dog bites.
  • People eligible for lawsuits are those who are bitten when invited onto the dog owner's property, or who are permitted by law to enter someone's property in the line of work, such as mail carriers, firefighters, or police officers.

If you or anyone you know falls under any of the above criteria, you may be entitled to a settlement. Freeman and Freeman represent all personal injury cases, including dog bites. Feel free to contact us or visit our website for more info or to see if you are eligible for our services.

Banning Dog Breeds May Not Help Lower Bite Risks

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Several California cities are experimenting with banning specific breeds of dogs like Rottweilers, to reduce the risk of dog bites. However, an interesting new study that was conducted in Ireland after breed-specific legislation was enacted in that country, found that banning specific breeds doesn't necessarily keep people safer.

The study specifically focused on whether people were safer from dog bites in Ireland after that country passed a special law that imposed restrictions on owning certain types of breeds. As many as 11 breeds were included in the regulation, and owners faced strong restrictions on the handling of these dogs. For instance, these dogs were required to be muzzled every time they were walked.

However, the researchers found that during the period of time after the breed-specific legislation was enacted, there was no corresponding decline in the number of dog bites that were recorded in the country. On the contrary, there was actually a slight increase in the number of dog bites.

The researchers speculate that focusing on banning breeds, as the sole solution to the problem of dog bites, is the wrong approach to take. They believe that it actually lulls people into a false sense of complacency and security. People may start believing that they are now much safer when they are around dogs because certain dangerous breeds have been banned. That could cause them to lower their guard and behave in a threatening manner around a dog. That obviously increases the risk of a dog bite, even if the breed in question is not one that has been restricted. In fact, researchers found an increase in the number of serious dog bites after the law was passed.

To Identify Aggressive Dogs, Look at Owners

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Many breeds of dogs including Rottweilers and pit bulls get a bad rep for being aggressive. However as any dog bite lawyer knows, not all dogs belonging to these breeds are involved in attacks. Often, it is the owner of the dog whose negligence contributes to aggression and a vicious attack by the dog.

There is no denying that breed does have some effect on the dog's temperament and personality. Some breeds of dogs including the above-mentioned Rottweilers and pit bulls, do have a tendency to get more aggressive. However, breed may not be the main effect of factor influencing the dog’s aggression. In fact, it is the owner's temperament that can more strongly determine aggressive traits or his likelihood of being involved in a dog bite incident, than the breed.

Researchers recently sent out 15,000 questionnaires to owners of dogs, and based on the 4000 replies they received, they found that certain owner traits were much more likely to contribute to aggressive qualities. For instance, when dogs were owned by persons below the age of 25, they were approximately twice as likely to display aggressive tendencies, compared to dogs of owners above the age of 40.

Dogs that were enrolled in dog-training classes were approximately 50% as likely to display aggressive tendencies, compared to animals that did not attend such training classes. Dogs that were sourced from rescue centers were also much more likely to display aggressive tendencies, compared to animals that were purchased from a breeder.

Apart from these factors, the owner's methods of training their dogs, and the level of overall care of the dogs also played a major factor in determining aggressive traits. For instance, dogs that were trained using methods like punishment and negative reinforcement, were as much as twice as likely to display different aggressive behaviors, and were three times as likely to attack members of the family.

Cat Bites Found to Be More Dangerous Than Dog Bites

Saturday, February 15, 2014

More than 4 million Americans every year fall victim to dog bites, most of them children below the age of five. However, while dog bites, especially those involving mail carriers and children make headlines frequently, you don't hear as much about cat bites. That's in spite of the fact that cat bites, even though they are rarer than dog bites, can be just as, or even more dangerous.

According to new research that was conducted recently by Mayo Clinic, cat bites are much rarer than dog bites, but can be very dangerous. Feline jaws are smaller compared to dogs, and may not seem as powerful. The danger in a cat’s bite comes from those tiny teeth. According to Mayo Clinic researchers, those teeth can release bacteria deep into your body, affecting tissue quickly, and creating breeding grounds for an infection.

Cat bites very often result in infections, and according to the researchers, compared to dog bites, cat bites, although they are much less common, are much more likely to result in hospitalization. According to the Mayo Clinic study, which was conducted over a period of three years, one out of every three patients who suffered a cat bite actually had to be admitted into the hospital. Approximately 2/3rd of hospitalized patients who were injured after a cat bite, needed surgery as part of their treatment.

The study also found a difference in the profile of victims of cat bites, compared to dog bites. Middle-aged women were found to be much more likely to be bitten by a cat, compared to other age groups.

According to the researchers, it is not as if cats pack more bacteria in their mouths which cause infections. It is that they have much sharper teeth that can quickly inject the bacteria deep into your body tissue, resulting in infections spreading much more quickly than in the case of a dog bite.

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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.