Dog Bite Lawyers serving all of Sonoma County
Dog Bite Laws in California
Dog bites happen with alarming frequency in the United States. Last year, 42 people were killed in dog bite attacks, and hundreds more were severely injured. Despite ongoing regulations, pit bulls continue to be the most dangerous dogs, contributing to 64% of dog bite fatalities.Of the 42 dog bite fatalities, females and children made up the majority of the percentage. The most disconcerting fact is that a large number of the attacks happened on the dog owner’s property, perhaps indicating negligence on the owner’s part. Dog bites can be traumatic not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, contact our skilled Santa Rosa dog bite lawyer today.
Liability for Dog Bite Attacks
Individual states differ in how they treat liability in a dog bite attack. More than half of the states make owners liable, regardless of whether they knew the dog to be dangerous or not. This is called “strict liability,” and it covers injuries other than bites.
Other states, like California, only cover dog bites. That is, if you are knocked down by another person’s dog, any injury you sustain would not qualify for a dog bite claim. California still holds the owner liable, even if the dog wasn’t known to be dangerous, but only for dog bites, our Santa Rosa dog bite attorneys are well versed in the CA law and can help answer questions about liability in each case. There are a few cases where the owner may not be held liable, such as:
- Someone else had control of and was taking care of the dog.
- The dog’s owner is under the age of 18.
- The owner was a tenant of a rented property; the landlord knew the dog was dangerous and didn’t do anything about it.
- The dog was on someone else’s property, and the property owner failed to remove it.
If you are bitten by a dog and injured, you usually do not have to prove negligence under California dog bite statutes. Anyone who shelters and owns a dog is expected to be responsible for the dog’s behavior. If the dog bites someone, whether or not it has a history of aggressiveness, the owner will be held liable. Likewise, someone who is taking care of the dog, even if he or she does not own it, will be held liable if it injures a person.
Damages in a Dog Bite Claim
There are several damages you can claim in a dog bite case. Damages are divided into two separate categories. Economic damages are tangible and can be calculated by looking at things like bills and receipts. Non-economic damages are less tangible and must be calculated using a formula.
- Medical expenses stemming from the attack, including medical bills, prescriptions, physical therapy, etc.
- Lost wages accrued from missing work for treatment of the injury. This can also include future lost wages if your ability to work is permanently altered.
- Property damage to personal or real property.
- Physical pain and suffering from the injury. This is calculated based on your total economic damages, multiplied by a “pain number” between 1.5 and 5.
- Emotional suffering like PTSD, anxiety, depression, or other mental condition.
- Loss of consortium if your loved one was injured and lost his or her ability to have a physical or mental relationship.
- Punitive damages in cases where the dog’s owner acted in an extremely negligent manner.
By claiming these damages, you can recover the costs of financial expenses arising from the accident. Those whose loved ones suffered a death from a dog bite attack may be able to file a wrongful death claim with a Santa Rosa wrongful death lawyer, which would include some of these damages and additional damage types.
The Experienced Santa Rosa Dog Bite Lawyers
Contact North Bay Legal today to understand your rights after an injury from a dog bite attack. We serve residents of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, and the surrounding areas. Our Sonoma County Personal Injury Lawyers take pride in our honesty, integrity, and aggressive approach to personal injury cases. We will get you the money you deserve.