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Dog Bites and Other Animal Accidents

Approximately 4.5 million people get bitten every year by the approximately 78 million plus dogs in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Children are particularly vulnerable to dog attacks because they are closer to the ground and cannot take effective action to ward off attacks.

California leash laws and local playground fencing ordinances have done a great deal to lower risk. However, irresponsible owners still abound. Some breeds are particularly prone to violence. Pit bull terriers, pit bull mix breeds, other mixed breeds, rottweilers, mastiffs, bull mastiffs, and German shepherds tend to be at the top of the list for violent dog attacks. In 2018, only 6% of fatal dog attacks led to serious criminal charges.

This is where a qualified personal injury attorney who handles dog bite cases comes in. We do not let the perpetrators of negligent dog handling go scot-free. Call us for a free consultation to see whether the dog bite you or someone you know suffered is ripe for action. California has a 2-year statute of limitations for dog bite injuries. If the dog bite was from a police dog, the victim only has 6 months to file the appropriate claim form with the proper entities.

Victims can often obtain compensation from an insurance company if the owner of the dog, or other dangerous animal, has homeowner’s insurance. We have successfully collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for victims of dog bites in this manner. However, the case has to have the right facts and extensive medical damages and/or lost wages to get that type of result. The following are some examples of dog bite and other animal injuries for your consideration:

Example 1: A father and his four-year-old son are at one of the local parks surrounding Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. A pit bull terrier owner takes his dog off leash and starts throwing a tennis ball for the dog to fetch. The ball lands near the young boy, who, of course, reaches for the ball. Dog bites the boy’s arm then drives the young child to the ground and starts thrashing the kid from side to side. The young boy is entitled to pain and suffering damages, past and future medical care damages, and emotional distress damages. The father is likely entitled to emotional distress damages for eye-witnessing the event, as well as lost wages for having to take unpaid leave to care for his child.

Example 2: A woman and her friend are walking through a neighborhood in San Francisco on their way home from a college class. A dog starts barking from behind a fence. One woman takes a stick and starts poking at the dog through the fence and yelling at it to “shut up”. The dog reacts violently, pulls the stick towards the fence and bites the woman’s finger. Woman is unlikely to recover in a dog bite lawsuit because she unreasonably antagonized the animal and assumed the risk associated with her behavior.

Example 3: A husband and wife live in an apartment complex. They leave their door open for ventilation. Neighbor’s German Shepherd runs into their apartment. The dog charges the woman, who kicks at the dog right as the dog jumps into the air towards her in an aggressive manner. Woman’s calf muscle is ripped open causing major disfigurement. Woman is a competitive triathlete who can no longer race for her adult life. Woman is highly likely to obtain significant pain and suffering damages, past and future medical treatment compensation, emotional distress damages, and loss of enjoyment of life activities damages for having to give up her hobby of competitive racing.

Example 4: A mother brings her daughter to an equestrian event where children are allowed to ride ponies. Daughter is put on a pony that is old and disturbed from years of confinement. One child on another pony starts yelling and crying which causes the pony to buck the daughter onto her head, paralyzing the young girl for life. Daughter and mother are entitled to substantial damages for the harm caused by the equestrian center’s failure to prevent the foreseeable harm.

These are just several of the many ways in which dogs and other potentially dangerous animals can lead to injury. We love pets at Spencer Young Law PC. We do not have mercy for irresponsible pet owners. Call now for a free consultation regarding your animal attack case.

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