San Francisco Dog Bite Attorney
Whether for protection or companionship, dogs tend to play a big role in the typical American family. With over 43 million Americans owning dogs, it’s no wonder why you see a dog in just about every other yard.
San Francisco just so happens to be the place to live for doting dog lovers. With luxury dog hotels, rooftop cocktail dog parties, dog massages, and even pet cemeteries, San Francisco is virtually a canine’s paradise.
Although dogs are touted as “man’s best friend,” it is important to be aware that a dog attack can happen at any time, with little to no warning, and for no real reason. Now, that doesn’t mean that all dogs are vicious animals, but sometimes even the smallest emotion of excitement can be overwhelming and cause a dog to lash out and bite a person. Regardless of the situation, if you have suffered from a dog bite, there is good news for you.
California Dog Owner’s Can Be Held Liable for Dog Bites
Owners of dogs have a certain responsibility that they are held to in regard to that ownership, and it just so happens that California has some of the toughest dog bite laws in the United States.
California Civil Code § 3342 states “The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
According to this statute, an owner is liable in almost every instance where a dog bites another person. This means that the owner can be sued by the dog bite victim for damages such as medical expenses and lost wages. Of course, there are some limitations to this law. The “strict liability” statute states that the owner will be held responsible if the injured person was:
- bit by a dog
- was on public property
- was lawfully on private property
In addition to owners being held liable for dog bites, California also has laws on how a dog should be handled after the attack. After assessing the situation, law enforcement or animal control may file a petition for a hearing in court if they think the dog is vicious. At the court hearing, it will be decided whether the animal should be deemed a threat. If the court determines that the dog is potentially dangerous, then the owner must meet certain conditions, such as:
- Keeping the dog on a leash.
- Keeping the dog indoors.
- Keeping the dog in a fenced in yard.
If the owner violates these court-ordered conditions, they could be fined.
What to do if you’ve been bit by a dog?
Experiencing a dog bite is both a painful and scary encounter. It’s also probably something that you would ever expect to experience in your lifetime. Even though you may be in a state of shock after getting bit by a dog, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Regardless of whether skin was broken or not, you can still sustain injuries. Any medical records can then be used to help build your case if you decide to seek legal action.
One of the most difficult things to do in a dog bite case is locating the owner and proving ownership. So, if the owner of the dog is present, it is in your best interest to obtain their contact information. If there were any other witnesses around when the attack occurred, be sure to try and gather their contact information as well. Eye-witness testimony coupled with accurate police reports and other accounts can do nothing but help strengthen your case and increase your odds of reaching a fair settlement.
FAQ Regarding Dog Bite Law
Question: Is it true that I can collect compensation for a dog bite?
Answer: If you have been bit by a dog, you may be able to collect compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Question: What if I was bitten by a friend or neighbor’s dog?
Answer: Getting bit by a pet you know can put you in a tough situation. You may be worried about suing someone that you know, but still need money to cover your medical expenses. Fortunately, most dog bite cases are filed against the owner’s renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, rather than the owners themselves.
Question: Should I talk to the dog owner about my injuries?
Answer: It’s best not to talk to anyone about your injuries other than an experienced dog bite lawyer. Do not sign anything as it could be used against you.
What if I was bitten while working at someone’s home?
Answer: If you have been hired to work on the property, it’s the owner’s responsibility to make it a safe place. If you were bit by their dog while working, be sure to contact an experienced dog bite attorney. In addition to your dog bite claim, you may have a workers’ compensation case as well.
Contact a Dog Bite Attorney
If you have been bit by a dog in San Francisco, it is important contact a dog bite attorney as soon as possible. An experienced dog bite lawyer knows all of the possible defenses that owners may use to relieve themselves from the case.
If you are looking for an experienced dog bite lawyer, contact Rizio Liberty Lipinsky today. We can help get you get the compensation you deserve.
- This article should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney in your community.