The American Humane organization says that more than four million dog bite instances are reported annually in the country. To understand how serious dog bite can be, one just has to look at the related statistics.
- The vast majority of dog bite victims are kids.
- Annually, more than 800,000 victims visit emergency rooms.
When Dog Bites Somebody, is the Dog Owner Responsible for Damages?
In some states, legal responsibility for dog bites can be assigned only to its owner if he or she had prior knowledge of the dog’s aggressive tendencies. California does not belong to those states, and that is a good thing for victims of a dog bite. It also means that dog owners in California have to understand their duties as well as responsibilities.
What Exactly is “Strict Liability?”
California is a strict liability state. In other words, it holds a dog owner “strictly liable”. Dog owners are responsible for injuries their dog cause sans regard to the extent of their negligence, fault, or knowledge.
If you are a tenant and own a dog, then consider renter’s insurance including dog bite liability, since you will be responsible in the event your dog injures somebody or damages property. As any expert dog attack lawyer would suggest, you also have to understand that it might just be tough to find a renter’s policy that will cover German shepherd, Rottweiler, pit bull, and many other aggressive breeds.
What Should Landlord Know about Dog and Dog Bite?
A landlord has to decide whether to let tenants own dogs. Landlords have to understand that if their tenant lacks adequate insurance coverage, then an injured party in a dog bite could name them in a personal injury suit as a defendant. The courts have also assigned responsibility to landlords in many dog bite cases.
If a landlord knew the canine was aggressive, and still chose to allow it on their property, they could be required to pay compensation for damages depending upon the other facts in the case. If a landlord also takes upon a role as the canine’s caregiver, then they will have the same responsibility as its owner.
Landlords should have clearly articulated pet policies as well as enforceable leases that reflect them. Landlords require adequate liability insurance as well.
The Signs of an Imminent Dog Bite
It is also important to know the indications that it is just going to bite. Before it, a dog might bark or growl in a menacing way, lift the lips and bare the teeth. The body of a dog can stiffen or freeze, and hackles might just rise upon its back and neck.
Although this describes most dogs that bite, some dogs actually bite without warning. That is why everyone has to learn and follow basic rules to meet a dog they do not know.
- Avoid touching or trying to pet the canine
- Avoid making eye contact with it or approach it
- Avoid screaming or running from it – instead, stay still and calm
Teach kids to keep away from unfamiliar dogs, ask for the permission of a dog owner to either approach or pet the canine, and remember that even familiar ones can be provoked to bite if you are not careful.
Dog Owner’s Obligation
Dog owners are required to keep their dog from hurting other people, and California’s strict liability encourages them to take responsible steps to keep it from biting. Yet dog bites are not just sudden but also unexpected. At times, it does not matter how responsible a dog owner is or how careful the victim was. Sometimes, some dogs are just bound to bite somebody.
What to Do When a Dog Bites you
When a dog bites, a person has to get medical treatment right away. Some dog bite victims necessitate extensive surgery, even multiple surgeries at times, followed by long-term therapy. The doctor, in some cases, may decide whether rabies vaccinations are required.
After ensuring proper medical treatment, try to get names and contact information of the witnesses, if there were people who saw it happening. Their statements or testimony may be vital later.
When that is covered, take photos of the injuries, and if possible, that of the dog as well. Moreover, make it a point to keep all the medical, insurance, and legal documents related to the incident at hand.
Once you have been attended by a medical professional, also discuss your case, legal rights, and options, with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your dog attack lawyer will do negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company on your behalf, while you focus upon recovering your health.
Do not agree to any settlement amount or sign insurance document before getting legal advice. Do not let the other party tempt you into agreeing a significantly lower amount than what your injury claim is actually worth. If an adequate and just dog bite settlement is not offered, your lawyer may recommend taking the case to trial, and you may initiate a personal injury lawsuit sooner rather than later.