San Diego Dog Bite Lawyers
Many dogs are great pets and loving family members, but some are vicious to strangers. Aggressive dogs can cause serious injuries, particularly when they attack children. If you or your child has been injured in a dog or animal attack, speak with an experienced lawyer. You may have a personal injury claim for compensation.
In California, dog owners may be held strictly liable when their dogs bite someone, even if the dog has never bitten before. You can sue the dog owner, or the party who has care, control, or custody of the animal, provided the following elements of strict liability exist in your case:
- The defendant is the owner (or had control, care, or custody) of the dog that bit you or your child.
- You or your child were bitten while on public property or lawfully on private property.
- You or your child suffered harm or injury.
- The defendant’s dog was a substantial factor in causing your injury.
You are lawfully on private property if you were expressly or impliedly invited onto the premises, or if you are there to perform a specific duty such as:
- Delivering the mail
- Reading a meter
- Taking a census
- Law enforcement
- Contractor work
Depending on the size and breed, dogs can cause severe injuries to victims, particularly small children. A dog that attacks can injure a person in several different ways, including:
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Facial injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Eye injuries
- Emotional trauma
Dogs need not even bite to cause harm. People can be injured when they are knocked down by or running away from aggressive dogs.
If you or your child has been attacked by a vicious dog, you may have legal grounds for a claim for compensation. Depending on the circumstances, damages you may be entitled to claim may include:
- Medical expenses, past and future
- Lost wages or earnings
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Permanent disfigurement
- Emotional trauma
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium (claimed by a spouse)
In some instances, you may also be able to claim punitive damages, a special type of damages designed to punish the defendant and deter similar actions in the future. Punitive damages are only awarded for dog bites if you can show that the dog owner’s conduct was particularly egregious or despicable, or that it constituted malice, fraud, or oppression. To recover punitive damages, you must show that:
- The dog was vicious or dangerous, based on past behavior.
- The incident in which your injuries occurred was foreseeable.
- The dog owner’s standard of care for the animal was substantially below that of a reasonable owner.
If the dog has a history of previous attacks against people, the owner has a heightened standard of care to protect others. A dog owner may be subject to punitive damages if the dog was a trained attack dog or had a history of aggressiveness, and the owner allowed the dog to escape and injure others.
After serious dog bite injuries, an experienced attorney can protect your rights and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Our San Diego personal injury lawyer can:
- Investigate the incident to determine fault and liability
- Collect and preserve evidence to support your claim
- Assess the full extent of your losses and the damages you can claim
- Negotiate skillfully with the other side on your behalf
- Fight for your rights in court, if necessary
Attorney James N. Dicks, the founder of jD LAW, is a former Los Angeles Police Department investigator who can build a strong case based on the facts and will fight for full and fair compensation. We offer a free initial consultation and have Spanish-speaking attorneys and staff. Call us today at (760) 630-2000 for dedicated legal representation after a dog or animal attack.
- Dog Walker Safety Tips
- Civil Code Section 3342
- Pet Ownership Laws | County of San Diego Department of Animal Services
Don’t Wait A Second Longer
When you have been injured, or a loved one has been killed due to the negligence of another, you need legal help. Contact jD LAW, today to get the justice you deserve.