Most afternoons, 76-year-old Bruna Secco takes a two mile walk around her neighborhood to stay fit and healthy. It was on one of these walks in early March of 2013 that she endured a terrifying experience as the victim of a vicious dog attack. She described for reporters a feeling of “petrification” as the dog bit her more and more as she tried to push him away, at one point rolling her over on the ground and biting her all over the back of her body. She further described being so exhausted that she became too weak to fight the dog off, and thought that the attack would surely be her end.
Secco reported that she saw a teenage boy who appeared to be walking the dog, a pit bull, without a leash, shortly before the attack, and that the boy ran off when the attack started. The dog was eventually kept away from the woman by two men who were working nearby who used a baseball bat and a golf club to keep the dog at bay until authorities could arrive. The dog was taken into quarantine, but Secco suffered injuries to her ribs, tendons, arms, and legs and will need physical therapy in order to recover.
For reasons left unexplained by news reports, no charges are being sought against the owner of the dog, and the teenage boy who reportedly ran away from the scene does not appear to be a person of any interest to police in San Jacinto, CA, where the attack took place.
What’s a Victim to Do?
No matter whether or not a law enforcement agency or government prosecutor finds it worthwhile to pursue criminal charges, victims of dog bite injuries like Bruna Secco still have the right to seek compensation in civil court from anyone who may have been responsible for injuries sustained. The owner and anyone who the owner may have entrusted to watch the dog may be found civilly liable for Secco’s injuries. This means that the liable parties would be required to pay Secco financial compensation in the form of damages, which typically include pain and suffering and medical expenses. If a person is injured in a dog attack to the point where the person can’t work, damages for lost future earnings may also be awarded. In a case where the owner of a dog or other responsible party can’t be identified, an experienced dog bite attorney can help victims locate the responsible parties so that a case can proceed.
Let an Attorney Handle the Legal Charges
After a dog attack, victims are urged to focus on healing and to leave the work of bringing charges against responsible parties to an attorney. Victims might think that they can handle a case like this on their own, but dog bite claims are not always cut and dry. A victim is required to show certain facts in order to succeed in litigation, and not knowing how to present certain facts can be detrimental to a victim’s case, even when he or she is actually entitled to damages.