Orange County Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog Bite Lawyer, Orange County, CA

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million people suffer from dog bites each year. These victims not only endure severe physical and emotional injuries but experience the burden of medical treatment and hospital bills. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Orange County, CA, contact an experienced dog bite lawyer at the Khalil Law Group today by calling (714) 617-7870 for your free case consultation.

Orange County Dog Bite Statute

California Civil Code 3342(a) says a dog owner may be liable for damages if their canine bites another person or dog in a public place or when that person is lawfully at a private residence. The codes don’t make exceptions for well-behaved dogs, nor do they recognize the one-bite rule. The uncompromising liability makes California one of the strictest states in the United States for dog bites, as stringent as Canada.

Civil code 3342.5 says dog owners must actively avoid causing personal injury to other individuals. If their canine attacks multiple people or other dogs, the local law enforcement agency may evaluate the dog’s psychological condition. Some agencies may take the dog from the owner after several incidents.

Determining Liability in an Orange County Dog Bite Claim

Orange County dog bite law holds owners to a strict liability standard. It imposes a legal duty on the dog owner for damages and injuries. That applies even if the person did not act with negligence or fault.

Animal bites to people who are lawfully on private property are the exception to the rule. For you not to be liable for a dog bite, the victim must have illegally come onto your property before the attack. Mail carriers and meter readers have exemptions because they need to access private residences to complete their jobs.

Strict liability only applies to the owner. If a dog attack happens while the animal is with a sitter or trainer, that person doesn’t bear complete responsibility for the attack. Some dog bite victims might prefer suing someone other than the owner to deter future dog bite cases.

Showing Negligence in an Orange County Dog Bite Case

Negligence occurs when someone does not exercise proper care toward another person. A law firm must establish what a reasonable person would do in the same situation and prove that the defendant did not demonstrate this behavior. Dog bite lawyers must show four elements to prove negligence in California.

Law firms must establish a duty of care, also known as a standard of care. This legal principle says that a person should use reasonable caution and judgment. For example, owners should use a leash to restrain their dog so that it doesn’t bite other people.

Once a dog bite lawyer proves that the defendant owned the dog and exercised a duty of care, an Orange County dog bite attorney seeks to show a breach of duty. It involves failing to act reasonably. If a dog with a history of biting doesn’t have a leash and then attacks someone, that would constitute a breach of duty.

Causation means that the negligent actions caused the dog bite injuries. Not all types of causation are equal. In California, a firm must show a direct link between the owner’s actions and the damages. This process is also known as proximate cause.

The final step requires law offices to demonstrate damages and is among the most challenging components to prove. A dog bite lawyer must connect the owner’s action with the injuries caused by the attack. We need to show that the victim suffered a financial loss through medical bills, lost wages, property damage, or rehabilitation.

Orange County, California, has several laws that aim to reduce the chances of dog bites. Code Section 4-1-45 requires owners to restrain their dog with a leash, chain, or fence. Law enforcement agencies may also detain an animal for being “vicious” or “dangerous” if it demonstrates aggressive behavior.

Common Dog Bite Injuries

It’s essential to remember that dogs are animals with instincts and powerful physical attributes. This is especially true when it comes to their jaws. Certain breeds are particularly renowned for their biting strength. These breeds can exert an astounding force of more than 550 psi per bite. This is considerably stronger than a human’s bite, which clocks in at a relatively meager 162 psi.

The disparity in bite strength is significant and can lead to severe injuries if a dog were to bite a person. Some of the most commonly reported injuries from dog bites include:

  • Puncture wounds: These can be deep and are at risk of infection if not treated properly.
  • Scars and lacerations: Apart from the physical pain, they can leave lasting marks, reminding victims of the traumatic event.
  • Broken bones: Especially in the case of larger breeds, the force can be enough to break or fracture bones.
  • Nerve damage: Deep bites can affect the nerves, leading to lasting pain or numbness.
  • Emotional suffering: Beyond physical injuries, victims often grapple with trauma and fear of dogs after a biting incident.
  • Eye, mouth, and nose injuries: These are particularly sensitive areas that, when injured, can lead to long-term complications or require cosmetic surgeries.
  • Disfigurement: In extreme cases, a dog bite can lead to significant disfigurement, requiring reconstructive surgeries and long-term medical care.

It’s worth noting that not all injuries stem directly from a dog’s bite. In some situations, individuals might try to flee from a threatening dog, and in their haste, trip or fall, leading to additional injuries. This kind of scenario still ties the dog’s aggressiveness to the person’s injuries, making a viable claim for seeking compensation.

In such circumstances, victims must seek the guidance and expertise of professionals familiar with these cases. An Orange County dog bite lawyer, for instance, would be adept at connecting a victim’s injuries to the actions of the dog and ensuring that they receive fair compensation. A legal professional in this field can guide victims through the intricacies of the law and help them navigate the often complex pathway to justice. The importance of seeking expert legal advice cannot be overstated, whether the injuries come directly from the bite or indirectly from the dog’s aggressive behavior.

Dog Breeds That Attack

Dogs, irrespective of their breed, have the potential to be gentle, loyal companions. However, due to their physical strength and sometimes aggressive tendencies, certain breeds have unfortunately been involved in more serious incidents, leading to fatalities.

One breed that frequently tops the list when it comes to dog bite-related fatalities is the pit bull. While many pit bulls are affectionate and display a docile nature, it is undeniable that they contribute to many severe dog bite incidents. As stated by the Canine Journal, from 2005 to 2017, pit bulls were implicated in a staggering 284 deaths. This alarming number makes up 65.6% of all canine-related fatalities during this period. This statistic is not meant to demonize the breed but to shed light on the importance of responsible dog ownership and awareness.

Other breeds, while responsible for fewer incidents, have also been involved in fatal attacks. Here’s a breakdown of some of the notable breeds and their associated fatalities:

  • Rottweilers: Known for their strength and guarding instincts, they were responsible for 45 deaths, accounting for 10.4% of the recorded cases.
  • German Shepherds: Often used as police and guard dogs due to their intelligence and loyalty, they accounted for 20 deaths or 4.6% of cases.
  • Mixed-breed: These dogs, representing a variety of genetic backgrounds, were responsible for 17 deaths, making up 3.9% of cases.
  • American Bulldogs: With their muscular build and protective nature, they contributed to 15 deaths, or 3.5% of total cases.
  • Mastiffs and Bullmastiffs: These giant breeds, known for their protective instincts, were involved in 14 fatalities, or 3.2% of the cases.
  • Huskies: Renowned for their endurance and wolf-like appearance, they caused 13 deaths, 3% of the recorded cases.

It’s vital to remember that breed alone doesn’t dictate a dog’s behavior. Training, socialization, environment, and an owner’s responsibility play pivotal roles in shaping a dog’s demeanor. If, however, an unfortunate incident does occur, it’s essential for victims and their families to seek guidance on their legal rights and the next steps.

An experienced Orange County dog bite lawyer from the Khalil Law Group can provide invaluable assistance in such cases, helping to navigate the complexities of liability, dog owner responsibilities, and potential compensations. They will offer a deeper understanding of the local laws and regulations surrounding dog attacks, ensuring that victims have the support and expertise they need during these challenging times.

What to Do After a Dog Attack

Get medical attention right away after a California dog bite attack. Even if you don’t think the injuries are severe, we highly recommend visiting your local hospital or healthcare clinic. Dog bites can pass along diseases, such as rabies, that can cause complications.

If you can, write down the owner’s contact information and your recollection of the attack. Take pictures and videos of the dog bites, too. You can use this evidence to build your case and receive compensation from insurance companies or the owner.

Why You Need the Khalil Law Group

If you have a California dog bite case, the Khalil Law Group can help. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience you need to swiftly and amicably resolve the incident. We will work with you every step of the way and fight for your rights inside and outside the courtroom.

Dog bites are one of our foremost practice areas. Our team has assisted individuals across Orange County to get the representation they need. Make sure to start your intake process within two years of the attack to satisfy the statute of limitations for dog bite claims. Call (714) 617-7870 right now for your no-obligation consultation with our dog bite injury lawyer today.

Dog Bite Law: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the statute of limitations for dog bite claims?

The statute of limitations for dog bite claims varies by state. Generally, victims have a specific period, often one to three years from the date of the bite, to file a lawsuit. In California, the statute of limitations is typically two years. It’s essential to consult local statutes or an attorney familiar with your jurisdiction to understand the exact timeframe available for your claim.

Does homeowner's insurance typically cover dog bite incidents?

Yes, many homeowner’s insurance policies cover dog bite incidents, often under the insurance company’s policy’s liability portion. However, some insurance companies may exclude certain breeds or require higher premiums for coverage. 

If the dog that bit me belongs to a friend or family member, can I still file a claim?

Yes, you can. While it may be emotionally challenging to file a claim against someone you know, it’s crucial to remember that compensation often comes directly from the insurance company (homeowner’s policy), not their pockets. Your well-being and medical costs should be a priority, and most insurance policies are in place for such situations.

Do I have a case if I was bitten by a dog on public property?

Generally, you likely have a valid claim if you were legally on public property and were bitten by a dog without provocation. California dog bite laws state that the dog’s owner is typically held responsible, irrespective of the location of the incident, as long as you weren’t trespassing or provoking the dog.

How does a "one-bite" rule impact my case?

The “one-bite” rule, adopted by some states, suggests that dog owners are only liable for injuries if they were aware of their dog’s aggressive tendencies, often from a previous bite. If your state follows this rule, you may need to prove the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s behavior to establish liability. California does not abide by the one-bite rule.

If a dog didn't bite me but caused injury in another way (e.g., knocking me down), do I have a claim?

Yes. Dog owners are generally responsible for any aggressive or unruly behavior exhibited by their pets that leads to injury, not just bites. If a dog knocked you over, leading to injury, you can pursue a claim for damages.

How much compensation can I expect from a dog bite injury claim?

As a dog bite victim, compensation varies based on the severity of injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other factors. Consulting with a dog bite lawyer can provide a clearer estimate tailored to your case.

What if I was partially at fault for the incident (e.g., teasing the dog)?

In California, if you’re found partially at fault, your compensation may be reduced proportionally. This concept, known as comparative or contributory negligence, considers the victim’s role in the incident

How long does a typical dog bite claim take to resolve?

The duration of a dog bite claim can vary based on the case’s complexity, the parties involved, and the amount of negotiation required. Some cases settle quickly, while others may take months or even years, especially if they go to trial. During your free consultation, we will cover your case’s length expectations.

If the dog's owner claims their pet is a "service" or "emotional support" animal, does it affect my claim?

While service and emotional support animals have specific rights, owners are still generally liable for any injuries their animals cause. The designation might affect certain aspects of the case, but it does not absolve the owner of responsibility.

Get a Free Consultation Today

If you or a family member has been a victim of a dog, be sure to get the representation you need with a call to the Khalil Law Group today. Join other victims from Orange County, CA, that trust our dog bite attorneys when they need help most. You can reach us at (714) 617-7870 or by email at to schedule your free consultation.

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