Dog Bites or Attacks

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bite 4.7 million Americans every year. Of the 800,000 people who seek medical care for their dog bites annually, half are children.

State laws and local ordinances hold the owners of pets responsible for controlling their animals, and also establish the liability of the owners of pets that bite or otherwise cause injury to persons. California law 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…”

San Diego County Code requires an owner, custodian, or any other person having control of a dog, to exercise ordinary care to prevent the dog from attacking, biting, or causing injury to any person engaged in a lawful act, or from interfering with a person or animal legally using public or private property. This duty to exercise ordinary care can also extend to persons having control of potentially dangerous animals, other than dogs.

If you are the victim of a dog bite or attack, there are steps that you should take to minimize your exposure to disease or infection, and to protect your right to compensation for your injury:

  1. Dog Bites or AttacksIdentify the animal. If the owner is present, ask for his or her name and contact information. Request the dog’s immunization records, or get the name of its veterinarian.
  2. Request contact information from any witnesses to the attack.
  3. Contact your doctor as soon as possible, or go to an emergency room.
  4. Report the incident to the police or animal control. The San Diego County Code requires all persons who are bitten, the parents or guardians of minor children who are bitten, and the owners or custodians of an animal that bites a person, to make a report to the Department of Animal Services, so the animal can be isolated and observed for rabies.
  5. Take pictures of your injuries.
  6. If you are contacted by the dog owner’s insurance carrier, do not discuss settlement, do not give a statement, and do not sign anything before speaking with an attorney at the Law Offices of Catharine Kroger-Diamond.

If you have been injured by a dog bite, or if you have been attacked by a dog or other animal, call the Law Offices of Catharine Kroger-Diamond as soon as possible to arrange a consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer.