Over the years, we have generally seen three types of factual situations with dog bite injuries in San Diego. Each fact pattern presents different legal strategies in order to secure success in legal outcomes. The following is what we have seen:
1. "Clear cut" dog bite injuries;
2. Dog bite injuries involving children; and,
3. Not so "clear cut" dog bite injuries.
First, "clear cut" dog bite injuries means the facts of what occurred are straight forward, and unambiguous. We have a dog owner that clearly violated the safety rules for not controlling their dog, and it in fact bites someone. The bite is strong enough to break the skin. In these cases, we go after the dog owner personally, and that usually involves obtaining the home owner's insurance information, or if they are a renter, their renter liability coverage, if any.
Dog Bites Can Happen Anywhere
We see these types of cases occurring in different settings such as a local outdoor park, beach, hiking trail, inside a home, or in a residential street or public mall. Here, California law is most clear: The law applies a strict liability standard which simply means the injured person does not have to prove negligence, or legal fault, just that the dog owner did not safely control his or her dog, and a bite, which broke the skin, occurred.
Second, dog bite injuries involving children are usually under reported because the dog owner is usually a family member. For whatever reason, the parents of the injured child do not want to force the issue in a legal setting. The same type of insurance would be involved, either homeowner's insurance, or a renter liability insurance policy, if one exists.
Animal Bite Injuries in Children
We have found these types of cases usually occur inside or close to someone's home. For example, we have had cases where a person lets out caged pit bull roam around in the family living room and then bites a child. Because the person bit is either a family member or knows the dog owner, they elect to forgo legal action. This is sad, as the child has a legal remedy against the at-fault dog owner that never gets realized. Thankfully, there are strong parents who do not let this stop them and move forward with legal action to secure a settlement for their child.
Children are attractive victims to dogs that bite them because children are small, and usually approach the dog to pet it triggering instincts inside the dog to sometimes attack or bite.
Third, not so "clear cut" dog bite injuries are the ones where there is usually more than one dog involved, and there was a dog fight going on before a person gets bit. As with the above two examples, the same pursuit of either homeowner's insurance, or a renter liability insurance policy is vital.
We usually see these types of cases in a park or where someone is walking their dog down the street and another person is doing the same thing. Then, a scuffle between the dogs occurs, and each owner tries their best to break up the scuffle between each dog. In the process, invariably a person gets bit. The legal issue is always which dog bit? The person's own dog, or the other person's dog? Also, did the person bit do anything to provoke the dog in the scuffle? We call these apportionments of fault defense arguments. A skilled lawyer is needed in order to find witnesses, or other facts to support what in fact occurred in the confusion of these dog bite injuries.
If You Have Been Injured, Download Our Free Dog Bite Attack Guide
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a California dog bite attack, first download my free injury guidebook. The book will let you know about what you can expect, your legal rights, and if you even need a lawyer for your dog bite.
Our San Diego Dog Bite Injury Attorneys Are Here To Help
If you have further questions or concerns, and you would like to speak to me for free, you can call me direct at (619) 813-7955. I will be more than happy to point you in the right direction for your injury case. Stay strong, Attorney Mark Blane.