Dog Bites: Physical and Emotional Devastation
Published On: February 23, 2008
Being bitten or attacked by a dog can prove to be one of the most devastating experiences of a person’s life. You may find that, after being bitten, the love that you once had for dogs suddenly turns to fear and mistrust. The emotional and physical scarring that result from a dog bite oftentimes requires extensive medical treatment, scar removal or reduction and psychological counseling to restore you to the person that you were before this unsettling event.
There are nearly 5 million Americans that are bitten each year by dogs with almost one million causing injuries which require medical attention.
In California, if you are the victim of a dog bite or attack, you are entitled to compensation for your hospital and medical expenses (past, present and future), loss of earnings (past, present and future) and the pain, suffering, fear, embarrassment and humiliation that you may have experienced as a result of this unfortunate and often life-altering experience. It is our job, as your attorney, to find the responsible party or parties and seek out the available insurance coverage which is available to compensate you. It is not uncommon for a dog owner to deny insurance coverage for the devastation that his or her dog has inflicted upon you. It is also not uncommon for that denial of insurance coverage to be false for a variety of reasons.
It is our experience at the Law Offices of Lowell Steiger that many dog owners initially deny (1) that their dog even bit or attacked the person and/or (2) that they have an insurance policy that covers the event. However, aggressive representation of clients in such situations uncovers the truth and affords you the justice to which you are entitled.
In California, there are special laws that protect the victims of dog bite attacks. Contrary to popular belief, there is no “one free bite” doctrine in California. In particular, California Civil Code §3342(a) 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.