San Diego Dog Bite Lawyers
Animal Attack Injury Attorneys in San Diego and Southern California
If you or your child has been attacked by a dog or other domesticated animal and sustained serious injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. In California, owners are held strictly liable for the injuries their pets inflict on others. At Martinez & Schill LLP, our San Diego dog bite lawyers have the knowledge and experience to assist animal attack victims in pursuing a personal injury claim. We understand the physical, emotional and financial impact a serious injury can have and we aggressively pursue maximum compensation in all of the personal injury cases we take.
Dog Bite Injuries in California
While the law applying to animal attacks in California extends to all types of animals, dog bites are the most common animal-related injury. Unlike some states that have a one-bite rule, which exempts an owner from responsibility if the animal has never attacked before, Californian dog owners are liable for the injuries their dogs inflict even if there has been no previous warning of dangerous behavior. The only viable defenses against liability for a dog attack are that the victim was trespassing (with the intention of committing a crime), the victim was provoking the dog, or that the victim knew there was a risk of getting bitten and ignored the risk.
Dog bites can cause very serious injuries and even deaths. When dogs attack children, as is often the case, the injuries sustained can be catastrophic and life-threatening. Many of these injuries require surgery and can leave disfiguring scars.
If a dog bite happens to you or your child, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical bills and your pain and suffering. Our dog bite attorneys are prepared to assist you with your cases. We have more than 37 years of combined legal experience and a long track record of successful resolutions in personal injury claims.
Types of Dog Bite Injuries
Dogs are powerful animals and can cause significant injuries, substantial blood loss and nerve damage. Dogs are more likely to attack children because of their small size, and most commonly attack a child’s face, head and neck. Injuries might include:
- Puncture wounds and severe lacerations
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Infections resulting for dog bites
- Emotional distress
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Fractures and broken bones
Statistics Relating to Dog Bite Injuries
- Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
- Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
- 800,000 bites a year are severe enough to require medical treatment, while 1 to 2 million go unreported.
- Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.
- Each day, about 1,000 people in the United States require emergency care treatment for dog bite injury.
What are the Dog Bite Laws in San Diego County?
Each year thousands of San Diego area residents are bitten or attacked by dogs according to San Diego Department of Animal Control. Many of the victims of dog bites are seriously injured and children are the victims the majority of the time. As a result, dog owners are subject to criminal and civil liability when their dog attacks.
San Diego dog owners are responsible for protecting the public by ensuring their animals do no harm other people or animals. Pursuant to San Diego County Code Section 62.669.1, any person owning or having custody or control of a dog must at all times prevent the dog from attacking, biting, or injuring any person engaged in a lawful act, and from damaging or interfering with the lawful use of property.
San Diego County Leash Law. Code section 62.669; California Penal Code Section 597
San Diego County has also instituted a leash law to help prevent dog bites and the serious injuries associated with dog bites. The public policy behind this law is that proper restraint of dogs will prevent them from harming or interfering with other animals or people. The leash law requires San Diego dog owners to restrain their dog by a hand held leash, not longer than 6 feet in length, when they walk or bring their dogs in public. A dog owner also must effectively control their dog by voice or physically restrain them by leash, fence or other enclosure at their home. These laws help to protect the public from encounters with unknown dogs and keep dogs free from harm.
(a) Any person owning or having custody or control of a dog shall at all times prevent the dog from being “At Large” and from being in violation of other provisions of law. However, dogs may be unrestrained by a “Leash” while assisting their owners in legal hunting, in the herding of livestock as permitted by law, or on public property with the written permission of, and for purposes authorized by, the agency responsible for regulating the use of such property; so long as such dogs are under direct and effective voice control to ensure that they are not in violation of any other provision of law. This section does not apply to dogs assisting peace officers while performing law enforcement duties. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Any person owning or having custody or control of a dog that is lawfully on any private property, shall keep the dog either on a leash or tether, under direct and effective control by voice or electronic pet containment system, or in a building or enclosure that is adequate to ensure the physical confinement of the dog and meet humane standards. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to provide impoundment authority.
Contact a Skilled Dog Bite Lawyer at Martinez & Schill LLP
To learn more about how our attorneys can help you with your dog bite or animal attack case, contact us to schedule a free consultation. Our offices are located in downtown San Diego, and we work with clients throughout Southern California. We handle all dog bite and personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means you do not pay us until we win your case.