CALIFORNIA DOG BITE INJURY ATTORNEY
MICHAEL REHM - (800) 978-0754
Your dog might be your best friend, but another person's dog might view you as an enemy. Dog owners have a responsibility to control their dogs. When dog owners fail to prevent a dog from biting an innocent victim, a claim for compensation can be made against the owner and his or her homeowner's insurance company.
Dog owners and politicians debate whether certain breeds are more dangerous than others. In California, the question is academic. Under most circumstances, dog owners are responsible when their dog bites another person, regardless of the breed's reputation for biting. Even owners of dogs that are bred to be gentle companions can be held responsible when their dogs react to a situation with unexpected violence.
California Dog Bite Statistics
While estimates vary, at least a third of California families, and perhaps as many as 40%, own at last one dog. California has the second largest number of owned dogs in the United States, trailing only Texas. There are more than 1.1 million privately owned dogs in Los Angeles County alone.
The CDC estimates that 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States each year. More than 800,000 of those require medical care. Dog bites are the 13th leading cause of Emergency Room visits in the US.
Children are among the most frequent victims of serious dog bites. About half of all children under 12 have been bitten by a dog. Dog bites are the second most common injury for which children are treated in Emergency Rooms. Since dogs can more easily reach the face of a small child than an adult, bites to the face are much more common among children than adults.
The insurance industry pays out more than $850 million each year for dog bite claims. The Insurance Information Institute reported that insurance companies paid more than $135 million in 2020 to resolve 2,103 dog bite claims in California.
California Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can cause physical and emotional scars. Savage bites can lead to permanent disfigurement. The experience of being bitten might lead to a lifetime fear of dogs that will impair the victim's ability to take a peaceful walk in an ordinary residential neighborhood.
Apart from pain, emotional distress, and disfigurement, bites can cause life-threatening infections. Almost 20% of dog bites become infected. Most infections are caused by Pasteurella bacteria. Some bite victims develop a serious disease after exposure to Pasteurella bacteria. The disease can cause swollen joints and as a loss of mobility.
Tetanus and a Staph infection known as MRSA can also result from dog bites. MRSA can have deadly consequences. The infection typically affects the skin, lungs, and urinary tract.
California Dog Bite Liability
The phrase “every dog is entitled to one bite” is no longer the law in California. In some states, the law does not hold an owner responsible for the dog's behavior until the dog has demonstrated a tendency to bite or attack. In California, dog owners are always liable for a dog's bite, even if the dog has never bitten someone before.
California makes dog owners liable when their dogs bite a victim in a public place (such as a park or sidewalk), or when the victim is lawfully in a private place. If the victim has been invited into the dog owner's home or yard, the victim is lawfully in the place and the dog owner is responsible if the victim is bitten.
California Dog Bite Lawyer
Fortunately, California law is favorable to victims of dog bites. Maximizing a recovery, however, depends on taking prompt action to preserve evidence and investigate the dog owner's insurance coverage. California Dog Bite Lawyer Michael Rehm can advise dog bite victims about the action they should take to protect their rights. For information, and for a free, confidential consultation, call (800) 978-0754 to speak directly to Attorney Michael Rehm.