Ventura, CA Dog Bite Lawyer

Dogs are America’s most popular pet – there are nearly 90 million pet dogs in the United States. And yet while dogs may eat at our tables and sleep in our beds–quite literally, in many cases–dogs are also sometimes territorial, protective, and aggressive. What’s more, these creatures can cause serious harm when they feel threatened. At the law office of Fisher & Talwar, our Ventura, CA dog bite lawyers are here to support you if you’ve been bitten by a dog. For a free consultation with our Ventura, CA dog bite lawyers, call our law office today.

Top Causes of Dog Bites

Most dogs are friendly, and will only snap or snarl if they feel especially frightened or scared. Sometimes, though, even the best dog will bite if it feels threatened. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) explains that dogs typically bite as a reaction to something – for example, if a dog finds itself in a stressful situation, it may bite or attack in order to protect its territory. Dogs may also bite to defend puppies, others in its home (such as the humans who care for it), or its food or toys. Sometimes, a dog will attack because it is scared, or because it doesn’t feel well.

The best way to avoid a dog bite is to never approach an unfamiliar dog, and to leave a dog–especially one that you don’t know–alone when it is eating or sleeping. Talk to small children about approaching dogs. 

If a dog is growling at you, never make eye contact, which can seem threatening to a dog. Instead, keep your head down and back away very slowly. 

Injuries Caused By a Dog Attack

When a dog attacks, the injuries can range from mild to severe. Some complications and potential injuries from a dog attack include:

  • Severe bleeding;
  • Scarring and disfigurement;
  • Infection;
  • Bone fractures;
  • Damaged soft tissues;
  • Bruises;
  • Traumatic brain injuries (from falling as a result of the attack); and
  • More.

One long-term complication of a dog attack is the potential for the victim to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or a fear of dogs. 

Who’s Liable for a Dog Bite?

If you’re bitten by someone else’s dog and the dog bite causes damages or results in any costs (such as medical costs and lost wages), you deserve to be compensated in full for the harm you’ve suffered. In California, there is a strict liability statute in place for dog bites. This means that if one person’s dog bites another person, then the owner of the dog is liable for any damages incurred by the other person if:

  • The damages directly result from the dog bite; and
  • The person was in a public place or lawfully in a private place at the time of the bite. 

The owner can be held liable for injuries caused by their dog regardless of the owner’s previous knowledge of the dog’s viciousness. While a dog owner can be held strictly liable for damages that result directly from a dog bite, there are a few defenses to liability. For example, the dog owner may state that the individual who was bitten was trespassing at the time of attack; or, the dog owner could allege that the individual was harassing or provoking the dog at the time of attack. 

Negligence Theory of Liability

In some cases, a person who is injured as a result of a dog may also bring forth a negligence-based claim against the dog owner. Under the theory of negligence, the victim alleges that the dog owner failed to exercise the proper degree of care for the given situation. For example, if an unleashed dog jumps up on someone and knocks them down, and the person breaks their elbow, they could bring a claim against the dog owner alleging that the dog owner was negligent by failing to keep the dog on a leash. 

Statute of Limitations on Dog Bite Claims

If a person is bitten by a dog in California, they only have so much time to bring forth a claim against the dog’s owner. In California, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the dog bite. If a person waits longer than two years, they can be permanently barred from recovery.

Call Fisher & Talwar Today

If you’ve been bitten by a dog, our lawyers want to help you recover the compensation that you deserve. For a free consultation with our Ventura, CA dog bite lawyers, please call us directly or send us a message at your convenience. 

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Examples: Elderly Woman Attacked by Dog

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.