The Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel represents individuals who have been injured by dog bites or animal attacks in Oakland and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Dog bites and animal attacks are traumatizing events with lasting physical and psychological damage. While an attack by an animal can result in serious and permanent injuries or even death, the impact of such an attack on a child can be devastating. Small children are especially vulnerable to animal attacks due to their size and their limited capacity to appreciate the risk involved when around an animal. Regardless of the age or sophistication of the victim, the animal’s owner owes a strict duty to prevent the animal from injuring others.
Dog bites frequently occur when an owner has failed to secure the dog in a fenced yard or otherwise allows the dog to walk or roam while unleashed. Dog bites also commonly occur when the owner walks the dog on a harness or on a retractable leash which offers little control over a larger animal, attempts to walk two or more dogs at the same time, or lacks the physical strength and capability to control the animal.
Physical Injuries Caused by Dog Bites
Physical injuries can be much worse than lacerations and puncture wounds. Large animals can inflict serious bone fractures, permanent nerve damage, or deep lacerations that result in loss of limbs. Brain and spinal cord injuries can occur from the force of being knocked down to the pavement by a large animal. Depending upon the size of the animal and the size of the victim, death can result as well, particularly when the encounter is between a small child and a vicious dog. Even where the physical injury initially appears to be relatively minor, the risk of serious infections requires that the injury be taken very seriously and followed up with the appropriate medical treatment.
Emotional Trauma Caused by Dog Bites
Severe and lasting psychological trauma can result from a dog or animal attack. Facial scarring or other disfigurements can result in long-term or permanent humiliation, as well as causing life-long pain or physical disability. Victims can become afraid of dogs after an attack, hampering their ability to interact in social situations and interfering with their ability to be outdoors without fear of further attacks. This fear, or accompanying depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may take long-term psychological therapy or psychiatric care to resolve. These effects can be even more pronounced, and more tragic, when the victim is a small child.
California Law Regarding Dog Bites
California is a strict liability state, meaning that if a dog attacks someone, the dog owner is liable for the injuries, even if the owner did not know the dog was vicious and the dog had never attacked anyone previously. The injured victim does not have to prove that the owner was negligent or at fault. However, the bite or attack must have occurred either in a public place or while the victim was lawfully present in a private place (such as the dog owner’s property).
Recoverable Damages in a Dog Bite Case
If you have been injured by a dog bite or other animal attack, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages to compensate you for your injuries, including medical bills and pain and suffering. If you suffered from any kind of disfigurement, you may be entitled to reimbursement for plastic or reconstructive surgery.
Experienced Legal Representation in Dog Bite Cases
If you or a loved one has suffered from a bite from a pit bull or any breed of dog, or from an attack by any type of animal, seek advice from a personal injury lawyer with experience handling dog and animal attack cases. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, contact the Law Offices of Baron J. Drexel today.