Sixty-five million dogs live in the United States, and on the average, 5 million people are bitten by dogs annually, 800,000 requiring medical care. Half of all dog bite victims are children. Some dog attacks are fatal: in 2012, California tied with North Carolina for the largest number of dog bite fatalities.
PET OWNERS’ LIABILITY
In California law, the doctrine of strict liability applies to dog bites. This means that the owner is automatically liable for the dog’s attack, regardless of whether the dog has ever shown an indication of the potential to be dangerous.
Owning a dog is a serious responsibility. While dogs are mostly docile and affectionate, they can be unpredictable, especially if they have not been properly trained and socialized. Well-trained and well-socialized dogs usually don’t bite. It is a part of responsible dog ownership to provide obedience training and expose dogs to a variety of people of all ages. Dogs should be leashed when in public and confined to a fenced area when outdoors at home.
When the mail carrier or repair technician is expected, it is especially important to keep a dog restrained. Sacramento made the list of the top 10 American cities for mail carriers bitten by dogs—29 in 2012. Across the country, 5,879 postal workers were bitten.
Many dog bites occur when someone is trying to break up a dog fight. It is important for dog owners to know how to properly stop a dog fight as well.
All dogs—regardless of their gentle nature, socialization, and training—need to be supervised when young children are around.
WHAT TO DO WHEN A DOG BITE OCCURS
Anyone who has been bitten by a dog should visit a doctor promptly for appropriate medical treatment. It is also important to report the bite to animal control services. An animal control officer will investigate to ensure that the dog has been vaccinated for rabies. If the dog’s vaccination is not current, animal services will usually quarantine the dog for ten days to make sure it has not been exposed to the deadly disease.
SACRAMENTO DOG BITE LAWYERS
In the event of a serious dog bite, you should consult a Sacramento personal injury attorney. Dog bites are covered under homeowner’s insurance policies. In fact, dog bites account for approximately a third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. One homeowner’s insurance company reports that they paid out more than $136 million dollars in a single year on nearly 4,500 dog bite claims!
However, insurance companies don’t pay these claims without a fight. That’s why it’s always better to have an experienced personal injury attorney working for you when claiming damages following a dog bite injury. Attorneys who deal with insurance companies regularly have the negotiating skills and insurance industry knowledge to get you more money for your injury than you’re likely to be able to negotiate on your own.
Kenneth Shepard and Ronald Haven of the Shepard & Haven law firm in Sacramento have each practiced law for more than 35 years, and both are former insurance defense lawyers. We know the tactics insurance companies use to try to diminish or deny a claim and are able to overcome them and negotiate a fair settlement sufficient to cover all of your damages. Not only should you recover medical expenses and time lost from work, you deserve to be compensated for pain, suffering, and any emotional trauma caused by the attack. We will go after a full recovery for you.
Call Shepard & Haven for top-of-the-line legal representation in your dog bite claim. You have a limited time to file, so call now. We accept dog bite cases on a contingency fee arrangement: there is no cost unless we recover money for you.