In September of 2008, five-year-old Katya Todesco of Simi Valley, California was playing in her back yard when a neighbor's pit bull viciously attacked her. After her mother pried the jaws of the dog off of her daughter's face and neck, Katya was rushed to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where she died of massive head wounds four days later. It was one of 23 fatal dog attacks that year.
Although dog bite fatalities are thankfully rare, a study published in JAMA reports that an estimated 800,000 dog bites a year are severe enough to require professional medical attention. Often, dog attack victims are left with nerve damage, scarring, infections, emotional trauma, lacerations, puncture wounds, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Sixty-five percent of dog attacks of children involve face and neck mauling, resulting in permanent disfigurement and often requiring multiple reconstructive surgeries.
It is easy to say that dogs are animals and that you can't expect a dog to be responsible for its aggressive or dangerous behavior. However, the dog's owner has a legal responsibility to keep their pets from harming others. California's strict liability dog bite 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. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.
Under the strict liability law, it doesn't matter whether or not the dog that bit you has displayed aggressive behavior in the past; in California, a dog's owner is responsible for the harmful or vicious actions of his or her dog, regardless of past behavior or location.
A Community Dog Bite Attorney That Understands California Dog Bite Law
At the Inland Empire Law Group, we take California's strict liability dog bite law seriously. As a longtime member of the Rancho Cucamonga community, I know how important it is for my four children to be able to play safely in their own backyard without coming to harm. Almost half of dog bite attacks happen to children under 14 — and about 500 children visit hospital emergency rooms each day seeking medical attention for dog mauling injuries.
If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog in San Bernardino County or Riverside County, we will assemble a team to take on your serious injury case. Our teams, which consist of an experienced personal injury lawyer, a highly trained paralegal, and a skilled administrative assistant, will work together with you to formulate a plan of action. We welcome questions, involvement, and honesty — qualities that have earned Inland Empire Law Group the respect of the community and other legal professionals alike over the last two decades.
Negligent dog owners who do not restrain or fence their dogs are not just "careless" or "bad pet owners" — they are making our backyards, playgrounds, and communities less safe for others. More than that, they are breaking the law and are responsible for the damages that their animal caused to you or your child.
Contact Us Today To Discuss Your Dog Bite Case
Dog bites can have serious mental and physical repercussions, especially in children. If the owner of the dog that attacked you or a loved one was negligent, then they are responsible for your medical bills, the continuing cost of chronic conditions such as PTSD, and your pain and suffering.
How do you know if your dog bite case holds water? Call the offices of the Inland Empire Law Group today. We will sit down with you in full confidence to discuss your case and your options moving forward. Our free, no-obligation consultations can either give you a plan or of action or simply the peace of mind that you fully explored your dog attack legal options. Contact our Rancho Cucamonga dog bite injury lawyer by filling out the short form on this page or by calling us at (909) 481-0100.