Dog Bites

  • “Dog Bite Statute”

Civil Code Section 3342 provides that the owner of a dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while the person is in a public area or lawfully in a private area.

Under this statute, the vicious character of the dog, or the owner's knowledge of such character, is irrelevant.  One bite is enough to support liability against the dog's owner.  To successfully win a dog bite case, one must prove the following:

  • The dog was owned by the Defendant;
  • The injured person was bitten by the dog;
  • The dog bite caused injury; and
  • The injured person was in a public place, or lawfully on the premises where the bite occurred.

The most recent statistical analysis of dog bite injuries generated some staggering results.  Below are some of the results:

  • 77 million dogs were pets in the United States.
  • 4.5 million victims were treated for dog bite injuries in the United States.
  • 51% of dog bites occur in children 14 years of age or younger.
  • Over the last 15 years, on average, 35 people per year have been killed in dog attacks.
  • Rottweilers and Pit Bulls accounted for 60% of those fatalities.
  • California is ranked first in the United States in fatal dog attacks.
  • 4.5 million people (about 2% of the American population) are bitten by dogs each year.
  • The most dangerous breeds (as related to dog attack fatalities) are Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes. Of those, Pit Bulls were responsible for twice as many fatal attacks as any other breed, followed by the Rottweiler.

Often times within the first days after an attack, important physical evidence can be lost and/or witnesses may become hard to find or forgetful.  At Duvel Law, APC., we will promptly investigate an attack to assess and determine who owns the dog, obtain photographs of the dog, and get the County Animal Control involved to ensure the dog has had the requisite rabies shots.  We will analyze all the evidence and speak to witnesses while their recollection is still fresh. 

If you have been attacked by a dog, you may have suffered painful injuries.  The most common injuries in dog bite cases are puncture wounds, loss of fingers or toes, and debilitating flesh wounds leaving unsightly scars.  Treatment often times requires skin grafting or scar revision treatment.  These treatments can be lengthy and expensive.  If you have suffered any injuries from a dog attack, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover the costs involved to pay for your medical bills, any lost earnings or other pain, disfigurement, emotional distress or permanent physical disability you have suffered.