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Dog Bite Laws in San Diego, CA

San Diego is known for the perfect temperature it holds all year long. It has great beaches, restaurants, and other attractions, like the world-famous San Diego Zoo, which attracts tourists from all over the world. The residents of San Diego all wish to make the city a great and inclusive area. Some of these residents are dog owners and their dogs are like a part of their family. Unfortunately, some dogs do not receive proper training and sometimes bite people. Dog attacks are seriously scarring events that can cause severe injuries to both the body and mind. Dog bites are specifically addressed in laws across the United States, and in many cases, the owner has some, if not all, responsibility for the actions of the dog. The owner must do his best to argue the intentions of the dog, the reality of the situation, the actions of the victim, and more. Dog bite victims, on the other hand, have much less of a burden of proof – they usually only have to show that the dog acted in an aggressive manner and that the victim was not breaking any laws or violating any rules. At Normandie Law Firm, one of the top law groups in California, our experienced lawyers represent victims of dog bites and seek to bring them the compensation they deserve from these incidents. Our clients call us with requests for information about the legal process and their rights as victims, and we are happy to oblige them with answers. They ask us questions that include:

  • What are the dog bite laws in San Diego?
  • What can I do if a dog bites me?
  • Can I sue a dog owner if his dog bit me?

Strict Liability in California
Dog bite laws in San Diego are stricter than most laws around the country. Owners of dogs who have bitten people have strict liability with respect to the actions of the dog. This means that they can be held accountable for the actions of the animal despite a lack of negligence, fault, or intent. This law only pertains to owners of the dog, however.

This is important because there are multiple occasions and scenarios where dogs will be out of the control of their owners and will be in the hands of another; it is that person’s job to control the dog, but not his responsibility if the dog were to attack another individual. Some examples of these scenarios where a dog is not with his owner but still in public or exposed to other people is when a dog is being walked by a dog walker, is taken to a dog park by a dog sitter, is being groomed at a pet station, is being walked by a friend, or is in the care of a veterinarian after receiving treatment. If you are bitten by a dog who is not in the care of the owner, you cannot sue the person who was taking care of the animal, unless there was an outright intention to cause harm (as in a dog sitter egging a dog on to attack you).

A major difference between California and other states is the lack of the “one bite rule.” No dog in San Diego County gets a free pass on a bite; a dog owner can be held responsible for the dog’s actions even if it never displayed any previous aggression.

There are other exceptions to this liability, however. Police and attack dogs are not included under the dog bite laws, and thus, the police officers who own them are not able to be sued in the event a police dog harms a suspect. If a victim were trespassing on private property, he cannot file a lawsuit against the dog owner, as he was breaking the law and not in a public place at the time of the event. Additionally, if a victim were threatening the dog or acting in a provocative manner, he cannot claim negligence on the owner’s behalf if the dog attacks him. Animals do not understand reasoning to the same extent that humans do; they operate on instinct, and if a potential threat is advancing toward them, they either flee or attack.

To learn more about the different laws pertaining to animal owners, contact an accomplished attorney with expertise in dog bite injury lawsuits.

Injuries You May Receive
Dog bites can cause numerous injuries to victims. It is possible for a dog to bite down with enough force that it breaks a bone or punctures all the way through the flesh. These bites can require numerous stitches or even surgery to correct the damage, and if not properly medically treated, can become infected. A dog’s mouth is filled with bacteria that can slip into the wound and cause health problems; further, if an attack happened at an outdoor location, airborne and earthen bacteria could also enter the bitten area and infect it.

Victims who have been bitten by dogs may lose sensation in the affected area due to mangled or destroyed nerves. Dogs have a tendency to latch on to an object and not let go, often vigorously shaking their heads from side to side; this action can rip ligaments, muscle, and nerves in the body. It can be especially damaging to smaller, more fragile areas like the hands, shoulders, neck, and feet. Victims may be unable to move the area after the bite and require extensive medical treatment to heal.

An important aspect of filing a claim against an owner regarding a dog bite is the keyword: bite. You may be attacked by a dog that wrestles you, scratches you, and pushes you to the ground, but if you are not beaten, you cannot pursue a strict liability claim against the owner. These are the dog bite laws in San Diego County. If you need further assistance, reach out to a qualified attorney with experience in dog bite cases.

The Claim Process
You can file a personal injury claim against a dog owner if his dog bit you. Personal injury claims can be filed on the basis of negligence, which states that there is a care of duty owed (dog owner must protect people from any attacks the dog may carry out), a breach in the care of duty (the dog was not properly leashed, was allowed to roam free, or was allowed to interact with strangers), an accident resulting from that breach (the dog bit someone), and real physical harm occurred from that accident (the dog bite lead to a broken arm, for instance).

As with all personal injury claims, it is crucial that you have evidence for your case. You should have ample photo evidence of your injuries, statements from yourself and eyewitnesses, police records, hospital records and doctor’s notes, the dog owner’s information, and more. Anything relevant that can show that you were bitten by the dog will come in handy.

Keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations that must be adhered to when filing a personal injury claim. You have up to 2 years from the date of the injury to file a claim, or else it will likely be barred. Some exceptions to this include the departure of the defendant from the state for a period of time; the statute of limitations would be suspended while he is not present in the state and would resume when he returns. Additionally, a minor that was bitten by a dog can elect not to file a claim until his or her 18th birthday.

If you believe y0ou may be aligible for a tolling of the statute of limitations, call one of our skilled lawyers with experience handling dog bite claims.

What You’re Entitled To
As a victim of a dog bite, you are entitled to certain compensation as a result of the injuries.

  • Medical Expenses: Dog bites can cause severe injuries that can necessitate medical treatment. You may be reimbursed for hospitalization, surgery, medication, ambulance rides, and more. Further, any future costs are covered as well; these damages can pay for additional medical treatments, doctor’s visits, and physical therapy.
  • Lost Wages: If you were forced to miss work due to your injuries from a dog bite, you can sue for lost income. You may also collect future income that will be lost due to any scheduled surgery or treatment and the ensuing rest time.
  • Pain and Suffering: Emotional damage is common when dealing with dog bites. Many times, young children are bitten by dogs and develop a lifelong fear of the animal. This can also happen in adults who are attacked by a particularly vicious canine. You can collect compensation for psychological damage, intense fear, anxiety, PTSD, and mental scarring resulting from a dog bite.
  • Punitive Damages: If a dog owner acted with gross negligence (allowed a vicious dog to walk without a leash) or with intent to cause harm (sicked a dog on you), you may be able to collect punitive damages. Punitive damages are just more money taken from a defendant in order to punish him and make sure he does not commit the same action again. Punitive damages are difficult to argue for, as they are often viewed as excessive. Only an expert attorney who has experience in dog bite injury cases can net them for you.

Normandie’s Role in Your Case
By choosing the top-rated Normandie Law Firm, you are selecting a group of lawyers that has ample experience in dog bite cases. We are empathetic to our clients and aggressive when it comes to insurance agencies – we will not stop fighting until we bring you a settlement you deserve. An experienced attorney will always be available to talk with you.

FREE CONSULTATION: All of our clients are given a zero fee guarantee on their cases – we do not receive any payment until we win your case, and our fees come from the settlement itself. This is to ensure you do not pay any out of pocket expenses for legal representation. If we lose, we receive no money whatsoever.

Call us today to receive a free consultation with a lawyer experienced in dog bite cases and to discuss your claim, as well as San Diego County dog bite laws.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

© 2017Normandie Law Firm