Suffering from a dog bite can be a very traumatic experience. The inflicted injuries can range from minor, requiring no medical intervention, to extremely serious, perhaps requiring surgery or more. Rehabilitation often follows when doctors deem surgery necessary, while in other unfortunate and extreme cases, dog bites result in death. The following list of frequently asked questions below will shed more light on this sensitive subject.
Frequently Asked Questions about Riverside Dog Bites
Can You Sue for a Dog Bite in California?
Yes. Read on for further details.
What is the Dog Bite Law in California?
California Civil Code Section 3342 states the strict liability laws governing dog bites. Pet owners are liable for the injuries sustained to someone resulting from an attack by their dog. The strict liability laws come into play if the injured person, adult, or child, got bitten when lawfully present on private property or in a public space. The law applies even if the owner did not know their dog was prone to bite or if they could not control their pet. However, these laws do not apply to bites incurred by law enforcement or military dogs performing their job, or if defending themselves.
Under California’s self-defense laws, any dog protecting its owner or someone else thereby releases its owners from liability. Civil liability goes into effect if a dog’s bite did not break the skin when the dog grabbed someone with its teeth, or if additional injuries occurred such as someone falling to the ground after a dog grabbed their clothing.
Are There Circumstances When You Cannot Sue?
When someone trespasses on private property during the commission of a crime, and a dog attacks, recovering damages is not an option. However, if the owner or handler trained the dog to attack, the court may award damages to the trespasser. A victim cannot sue if they deliberately provoked the animal, or if they attempted to escape a dog that did not bite them. On the other hands, a dog owner can be held responsible if they did not attempt to control their animal.
Classifications of Dog Bites
California’s personal injury law states that if a dog has attacked another human or animal twice within three years, they are considered potentially dangerous. If the dog bites without provocation and causes minor injuries, it falls on the shoulders of the dog’s owners to keep it indoors and within a fenced enclosure.
However, the classification of bites becomes vicious if the animal has severely injured or killed a human without provocation. The animal’s owner must then attend a court hearing to determine if the animal should be moved to animal control to be euthanized in the interest of public safety.
Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites
Under California Civil Code 335.1, a lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of injury. The right to damages would otherwise be forfeited because dog bite lawsuits are regarded as personal injury claims due to someone’s negligence or wrongful act. The Civil Code 335.1 begins the moment the dog bites, so it is important to act quickly, as it may take time to find the animal’s owner. If the victim is a minor, the statute of limitations does not begin until age 18. They will then have till the age of 20 to instigate a lawsuit.
Reported Injuries from Dog Bites
In Riverside, a 12-year-old boy was attacked by a dog in September of 2020. He was in his own yard and had played with the dog in question previously. Witnesses reported they heard sounds resembling a squealing pig. They went to investigate and found a 10-year-old female pit bull gripping the boy’s right arm. One of the witnesses reached over the fence to grab the dog’s hind legs, while the other witness put his arms around the dog’s neck, forcing the dog to release the boy.
Law enforcement officials stated that the witnesses probably saved the boy’s life. One witness said the attack was so violent that it appeared the dog was attempting to eat the boy. He was taken to a hospital where he was treated for severe bites on his right arm and right leg. The dog’s owner was not home at the time of the attack. The dog was not spayed, so criminal charges—if any—remain not only uncertain, but also unclear as authorities continue to investigate the attack.
In December of 2018, as a 54- year-old woman hung her laundry in the yard of her rural Anza home, three pit bulls severely attacked her. An emergency medical team airlifted the woman to a trauma center, where she was placed on life support, only to die two months later.
According to Riverside County Animal Services, the dogs who attacked the woman above were pit bulls or pit bull mixes. The authorities confiscated the animals and sought a destruction order. The three dogs were subsequently euthanized, and the owner of the dogs was arrested and booked on an outstanding felony warrant.
In an unrelated incident, the mauling death of a two-year-old boy by an un-neutered pit bull occurred in mid-July. Officials clearly noticed the attacking dog had previous taser marks on his backside and the left side of his neck. The boy and his mother were visitors at the residence where the attack took place, and the four-year-old pit bull was subsequently euthanized.
What Can A Riverside Dog Bite Lawyer Do for You?
A dog bite lawyer is a type of personal injury lawyer who assists in seeking compensation for your injuries.
Once the attorney determines who is liable for injuries, he or she must prove the dog had vicious or aggressive tendencies, as well as prove the defendant knew about the dog’s violent nature, realizing it made it a dangerous pet, and is thereby liable for the injuries inflicted by his or her dog. In addition, if the owner’s negligent or neglect caused the dog to bite, the owner is held liable.
If you find yourself in need of a Riverside dog bite lawyer, please contact TorkLaw at 888.845.9696 today for a free consultation.