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Dog Bites
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What To Do After A Dog Bite

According to Montebello Municipal Code, dog bites and dog attacks are required to be reported to Southeast Area Animal Control Authority (SEAACA). SEAACA reports that there are approximately 4.7 million dog bites per year in the United States and approximately 50% of those attacks involve children 12 years old and younger. Injuries as a result of a dog attack can be devastating and very costly for people of any age.

The Legal System Is Here To Protect You

California law provides for strict liability in dog bite cases meaning that the dog owner is liable for resulting injuries and damages under the following circumstances:

  • The victim was on public property or lawfully on private property when the dog attack occurred. Trespassers are generally prohibited from recovering, although there may be exceptions.
  • The victim sustained actual injuries as a result of the dog attack.
  • The victim did not provoke the dog prior to the attack. Provocation may include taunting, teasing or abusing a dog.
  • The dog was not a military or police dog.

Depending on the victim’s injuries, recoverable damages may include, but are not limited to, past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, and pain and suffering. When injuries are severe, multiple surgeries and substantial future medical care may be required to repair damage to skin, tendons, ligaments and muscles.

Bystander Recovery Is Possible

Under California law, in some dog attack cases, bystander witnesses to the dog attack may be entitled to recover for emotional distress that they have suffered as a result of witnessing the attack. A bystander may be entitled to recover when the following elements exist:

  • The plaintiff was present at the time of the dog attack.
  • The plaintiff was aware that the dog was attacking the victim.
  • The plaintiff and victim have a sufficiently close relationship, which generally means that they are related by blood or marriage.
  • The plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress as a result of being present and aware of the dog attack.

Insurance companies represent the defendant in the majority of dog bite claims. An insurance company’s single goal is to pay out as little as possible in exchange for a waiver of liability. It is important to consult with an attorney before accepting any settlement to make sure that you are being fully compensated for injuries and damages.

Understanding SEAACA Recommendations

In order to reduce instances of dog bites, SEAACA recommends dog owners take the following actions:

  • Spay or neuter dogs to reduce aggression.
  • Restrain dogs in the yard or on a leash when off the owners’ property. Twenty-four percent of dog bites occur when dogs are off-leash and off the owners’ property.
  • Socialize and train dogs. Training should be done when a puppy is between eight and 16 weeks.

Our attorneys are experienced insurance negotiators and trial attorneys who will advocate for a full and fair recovery for you and your family.

Call Today To Schedule A Consultation

For your convenience, we have provided a list of common questions that you can reference on our dog bite FAQ page. To talk to an attorney about your legal situation, email us or call The Hayes Law Firm at 323-693-1052.