Dog owners are responsible for injuries that are a result of their pets actions
The Khalil Law Group family loves and cherishes all animals. Without question, that fact applies to our own pets. Dogs, Cats, birds, ferrets, you name it, someone in this office owns it. Part of caring and loving our pets is making sure that we are responsible owners and caretakers.
According to some insurance statistics, California residents account for more dog bites than any other state in the country. With a statistic like that, Khalil Law Group wants to make sure that we are providing as much information as possible to dog owners and everyday consumers about some of the legal responsibilities that come with owning a dog and the best ways to prevent your dog from causing harm to others.
When it comes to dog bites, California imposes “strict liability.” Meaning, the owner of a dog is responsible for injuries that are sustained by another person as a result of a dog bite. Whether or not the dog has bitten anyone does not matter. If your dog bites someone and they sustain an injury, you are likely liable for compensatory damages that include medical bills, pain and suffering, future medical care, cosmetic surgeries and pain and suffering.
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES FOR THE OWNER
So what can a dog owner do to protect themselves? While there are no steadfast rules to protecting yourself from dog bite claims, we have found that the following list of proactive steps should be taken by all dog owners:
- Keep your dog on a leash
- Make sure that your backyard fencing and gates are of proper height.
- Do not allow others to pet your dog if your dog displays any signs of frustration, aggression or irritation.
- Study your dog’s moods and learn why or when they may bite.
- Always supervise your dog
- Get regular checkups for your dog with a veterinarian.
- Hire a professional to train your dog
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES FOR DOG LOVERS
If, like us, you are a dog lover. There are various ways that you can reduce the risk that you will be bitten by a dog. A good list of preventive measures is below:
- Always ask the dog’s owner before approaching or petting the dog
- Approach dogs slowly and calmly
- Allow the dog to sniff your hand and become familiar with you.
- Do not approach a stray dog
- Do not run away from a dog.
- Do not make loud noises around a dog.
- Do not play with a dog in an aggressive manner.
- Avoid direct eye contact with the dog.
- Avoid panicking if the dog is overly excited or aggressive.
We cannot overstress the fact that dogs and all animals are meant to be loved and cherished. However, that doesn’t mean that we should assume that our pets will always react to us and everyone else in a manner that we like or are accustomed to. For this reason, it is important that we understand the risks of pet ownership and being around often unpredictable, furry little friends.
What do I do if I am bitten by a dog?
California Civil Code Section 3342 states that “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.”
As you can see, the strict liability guidelines make virtually any dog bite compensable under California law. For this reason, serious precautions should be taken by dog owners, dog lovers and everyday residents alike. If you are bitten by a dog, seek medical care immediately. Like other personal injury claims, medical care is of paramount importance. Once your injuries are stable, make sure to keep a log of exactly what happened, where it happened, whether or not anyone witnessed the incident, photos, and video of the location of the incident and your injuries, etc. Thereafter, we always recommend that you contact a personal injury lawyer for further information regarding your rights and responsibilities.
Again, Khalil Law Group would like nothing more than to never have to deal with dog bites and the ramifications of those injuries. However, the facts and the statistics show that these types of incidents are extremely common and can have an extremely negative impact on a person’s life.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us 24/7.
Khalil Law Group, APC is here to help. 714-617-5189.