Animal Attack and Dog Bite ATTORNEYS
Dogs and other animals are a beloved source of companionship and comfort for many. But the reality is that thousands of people are seriously injured by dog bites and attacks by other animals every year. The injuries resulting from an animal attack can be severe, requiring one or more surgeries, skin grafts, physical rehabilitation, and other medical interventions. Throughout all of this, it can be difficult or impossible to work and provide for the needs of your family.
That’s why the attorneys of Penney & Associates, who have litigated hundreds of animal attack cases, are here for you. We will advocate for you, and hold those responsible accountable for their actions, so that you can focus on caring for your family, recovering your health, and reestablishing your sense of wellbeing.
While walking in a public park, Christina Khang was bitten by a Rottweiler. The defendant’s young son was holding the leash of the dog, but unfortunately, the boy did not have the strength to stop the dog, which pursued Ms. Khang and bit her without provocation.
Ms. Khang suffered bites to her arms and the top of her head. The defendant’s homeowner’s insurance provider agreed to pay the policy limit of $300,000, negating the need for litigation. Stewart P. Galbraith of Penney & Associates represented Ms. Khang.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAVE BEENBITTEN BY A DOGOR OTHERWISE ATTACKED?
- Immediately seek medical attention. Your health must be your first concern, especially given the secondary infections and other complications common with dog bites. Retain copies of all medical paperwork, and carefully follow the advice of your doctor or emergency room staff.
- Take photographs of the bite(s) and any other injuries incurred during the attack.
- If possible, determine the identity of the dog’s owner. If the attack did not occur on the owner’s property, seek out witnesses and potential sources of information.
- Report the attack to your local animal control office, or the relevant municipal agency. In Sacramento County, you can report an attack by calling (916) 368-7387. Provide as much of the below information as possible:
- When and where the attack occurred, with street names and addresses if possible.
- A description of the dog.
- Details of the attack.
- All available identifying information about the dog’s owner—name, address, vehicle license plate, etc.
- Contact Penney & Associates for assistance in litigating your animal attack case.
CALIFORNIA LAW HOLDSDOG OWNERSFULLY ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF THEIR PETS.
According to California Civil Code § 3342 (a):
The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.
The law is quite strict when it comes to damage and injuries inflicted by a dog upon an unsuspecting victim. Whether you are in a public place or step onto someone’s property for lawful purposes—delivering mail or packages, making a sales call, introducing yourself to a neighbor—a dog’s owner is fully liable for any bite injuries and resulting complications.
There may be additional municipal regulations to consider, depending on your location. For instance, in Sacramento County, dogs are almost always required to be leashed. Thus, attacks that occur involving unleashed animals are automatically considered to be the result of negligence, potentially imposing even greater liability upon a dog’s owner.
The law is also quite forgiving when it comes to the time afforded to a victim to file lawsuit. Under current California law, you have 2 years from the date on which the bite is inflicted to file a lawsuit against a dog’s owner. It is wise to act as soon as possible, however, as you may wish to negotiate a settlement with the dog’s owner outside of court. If these negotiations fail, you must still be within the 2-year statute of limitations to press your case in court.
While the law holds owners accountable for their dog’s actions regardless of the breed, some breeds are considered particularly dangerous.
Dogs of any size, disposition, and breed can inflict serious bite injuries. But some dog breeds are considered to be particularly dangerous due to their involvement in a statistically significant number of incidents. This leads many insurance companies to either blacklist certain breeds or require a higher premium and level of coverage.