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Everything You Need to Know About a Dog Bite Case

The city of Bakersfield abides by strict liability laws when it comes to dog bites. In other words, a dog owner cannot escape liability for a dog bite even if they didn’t know their dog was capable of behaving aggressively. According to California’s strict liability law, dog owners are completely responsible for damages caused by a dog bite, even if the dog had previously bitten someone or not.

If you suffered a dog bite in Bakersfield and want to sue for the recovery of damages, all you need to prove is that the bite occurred in a public place or while lawfully on someone else’s private property. As it relates to dog bites, you are not required to show that the dog owner was negligent or didn’t take reasonable care.

At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our experienced Bakersfield dog bite attorneys will help you acquire economic and non-economic damages caused by the attack. Recoverable compensation may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Please don’t hesitate to contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (661) 299-7554 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at our Bakersfield personal injury law firm.

Suing for a Dog Bite

Unfortunately, there are many people who choose to treat their dogs poorly by neglecting or abusing them. This can cause animals to become aggressive. Kern County Animal Services serves the Bakersfield area and protects the health and safety of all its residents and animals.

Bakersfield dog owners are legally required to respect the safety of their residents by acting responsibly and preventing their dogs from causing injuries to others or from creating a nuisance. California Civil Code section 3342 is the state’s primary civil dog bite statute. According to CC 3342, a dog owner will automatically be held liable for injuries caused to others if the dog bite victim did not provoke the dog into biting, and if the victim was bitten in a public place or on private property

However, the following information is very important. Dog bite victims are not usually entitled to damages in California when:

  • Trespassing on private property
  • Deliberately provoking the dog
  • The dog was protecting its owner or someone else according to California’s self-defense laws
  • The dog was engaged in military/police work

What About the Dog That Bit Me?

According to California dog bite quarantine laws, dogs who have bitten someone must be quarantined for 10 days. This time is necessary to ensure the animal is not carrying rabies. These dogs will be allowed to remain on the owner’s property during this 10-day period. Once the dog is healthy, it will officially be released back into the owner’s care.

Dogs who bite people are not usually euthanized. Euthanasia is only permitted for dogs who bite if the dog had already bitten someone on two separate occasions; or if the dog was trained to attack, kill, or bit once, and that bite caused serious physical injury.

Dogs who meet these requirements can be taken away from their owners and euthanized after a hearing. A hearing process can be brought forth by any individual, the dog bite victim, a member of the community, or a government official.

Dog Bite Injuries

This is a superficial injury that does not go past the epidermis. Abrasions from dog bites do not cause much bleeding, and only result in scarring in the very worst cases. Victims who suffer abrasion injuries can often treat these injuries on their own. However, medical attention is usually recommended to make sure you don’t have an infection.

Lacerations are deep cuts or tears in the skin. Lacerations go beyond the epidermis and can penetrate through bones, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. These injuries are characterized by “zig-zig” type patterns and heavy bleeding. Dog bite lacerations require medical attention, and stitches are often necessary. Attempting to close a laceration wound on your own is not recommended as this can lock in infection and create more serious complications.

These wounds occur when a dog’s teeth completely puncture through a victim’s skin. Puncture wounds are not as big as lacerations, but they are deeper and increase the risk of infection. You must always seek medical attention to treat this type of injury.

Treating a Dog Bite Wound

After the dog has released its fangs from your skin, you should immediately wash the wound by using soap and warm water for 5 to 10 minutes. Once you have completed this step, you should get a clean cloth and place it over the bitten area to slow down the bleeding. Next, you should apply antibiotic cream over the wound and have it wrapped in a sterile bandage. The final step would be to contact your doctor and set up an appointment to have your wound examined. The doctor will run tests to determine whether you have any serious skin damage or infections. If your bite is unbearable to handle until your doctor’s appointment, you should visit the ER as soon as possible. The doctor will diagnose your condition right away and create a treatment plan that will help with your recovery.

Statute of Limitations

A dog bite claim is considered a personal injury claim. California’s statute of limitations on a personal injury case is two years starting from the initial date of the incident. There are some exceptions that may apply for an extension. The plaintiff must be:

  • A minor
  • Incarcerated
  • Out-of-state
  • Legally insane
  • Incapacitated

Available Damages

Damages are a monetary award that is determined by a court to compensate a dog bite victim for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of a dog bite. It is intended to compensate an aggrieved individual for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to.

Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses a dog bite victim has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries, such as loss of earning capacity, medical bills, and lost wages.

Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Always Here to Help

If you have suffered a dog bite injury, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible for your losses. A Bakersfield dog bite attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for your losses.

To schedule a free consultation at our Bakersfield personal injury law firm, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (661) 299-7554 or emailing [email protected].

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