Dogs are widely known as lovable, loyal members of the family in many American households. However, unlike the humans they interact with who can use common sense and decision-making skills, dogs rely almost solely on instinct. This means even the gentlest, most docile dog can bite if it feels threatened. Because of this, dog owners have a responsibility to keep them away from situations where they might end up biting a victim. If you were injured by a dog bite, contact a Perris Dog Bite Attorney to see if you could be entitled to compensation.
Perris Dog Bite Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports near 4.8 million Americans suffer dog bites annually, and nearly one in five sustains injuries requiring medical attention. The CDC also points out the children are most at risk for dog bite injuries and dogs kept indoors are more likely to bite when they co-inhabit the house with humans.
California holds the distinction of being the state with the most dog bites – 14 percent of the country’s bites occur here. Perris, as a rapidly growing town of over 79,000, is no stranger to dog bite incidents. Just this year, a dog at a rescue center in an unincorporated area near Perris bit a 7-year-old girl in the face – and this kennel has had at least 5 other serious bites since 2013. The town’s warm, dry climate encourages people and their four-legged friends to get outdoors on city streets, hiking trails, and soon at the city’s first dog park being constructed at Rider Street and Old Evans Road. All these opportunities for dogs to interact with people only increases the chance of an encounter turning unfriendly and injuries or worse from a dog bite resulting.
Are Owners Responsible When Their Dog Bites?
Usually, all California dog owners are strictly liable for a victim’s injuries in their dog bites and an injury or fatality results. This is a strict standard of liability and means the owner may still owe damages when:
- They themselves were not negligent;
- Their dog has no history of vicious behavior; and
- Their dog has never demonstrated dangerous or aggressive tendencies.
How Do I Win My Perris Dog Bite Case?
Dog bite victims can sue the dog’s owner for their damages. Depending on the circumstances, victims may make several different arguments to establish liability. If a victim proves elements required by their argument, the owner is liable for their damages unless the owner has a valid legal defense like the victim’s provocation of the dog.
Most dog bite victims assert a strict liability argument to recover compensation. For strict liability, the victim must only prove the dog accused of the injuring bite was owned by the defendant and that a bite took place. The victim can only assert this argument if they were on public property or lawfully present on private property at the time of the bite – this means no trespassers. Also, strict liability is unavailable for someone bitten by a police or military dog during the performance of its official duties.
If strict liability does not apply, a dog bite victim can argue the dog’s owner is liable because of their negligent behavior. To establish negligence, a victim must show the defendant owed them a legal duty of care, breached their duty by acting or else failing to act when they should have, and the breach caused them injury. If the victim can establish these elements, the dog’s owner is liable for their damages unless they can raise a valid legal defense.
Negligence can also be established if the victim can show the dog owner’s actions violated a law, statute, or regulation at the local, state, or federal level. Known as negligence per se, the owner would be presumed negligent for breaking a law. For example, an owner allowing their dog to walk off-leash in a city with leash laws would be negligent per se if their dog bit and injured someone.
The One Bite Rule
Dog bite victims in Perris can also argue the owner is liable under California’s “one bite rule.” Under this rule, a dog owner who knew or should have known their dog was aggressive or had dangerous tendencies before their dog bit the victim can be liable for their injuries.
How Much Can I Recover?
Once a dog owner is liable for a victim’s injuries under strict liability, negligence per se, or negligence, they are responsible for the damages a victim can prove in court. Compensatory damages reimburse victims for their harms. They can be economic in nature and compensate for quantifiable injuries like medical expenses or lost wages, but they can also compensate for more abstract injuries such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium (companionship). In some cases, a dog owner may be liable for additional damages – these situations are limited, however, and best approached with help from an experienced Perris Dog Bite Lawyer.
What Should I Do?
Being injured by a dog bite can be a scary, traumatizing experience, so it’s understandable that acting immediately seems overwhelming and very unappealing. However, the benefit that taking a few simple steps can have on your health and your legal claim should outweigh your reluctance. It’s important to:
- Seek immediate medical attention,
- Get a rabies test,
- Collect information on the dog and, if possible, the owner,
- Report the bite to law enforcement and animal control,
- Photograph the dog, the accident scene, and your injuries if possible,
- Keep records of all medical records and the expenses you incur from your injuries, and
- Contact a Dog Bite Attorney.
Speak to a Perris Dog Bite Attorney
If you were injured by a dog bite, contact the knowledgeable Perris Dog Bite Attorneys at Walton Law today. Our dedicated attorneys have spent years delivering tailored, skilled representation for dog bite victims in the Perris area and recovering millions of dollars for our clients. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866)-338-7079 or complete our online Contact Page to schedule your free, no-risk initial case consultation today. You pay nothing until we win your case. Let our experienced attorneys evaluate your case, answer your questions, and work to get you the maximum possible recovery starting today.