The recent incident involving a toddler and Harambe the Gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo has brought the issue of animal ‘attacks’ into the national spotlight. Every year, thousands of Americans are bitten by animals — most often dogs. Many of these dog bite victims have a legal right to recover damages from the animal’s owner or another responsible party.
If A Vicious Dog Bites You
If you are bitten by a dog, the first thing you need to do is write down the name and phone number of the dog’s owner or the name of a witness who can provide you with that crucial information. Next, and without delay, seek immediate medical attention. An untreated animal bite, especially from a rabid dog, can lead to serious injury, infection, and even death. You can bring your medical evaluation and reports to an experienced dog bite attorney who will be able to tell you whether you have a legal claim, and how much financial compensation you may be able to recover.
It is important to have the contact information of the dog’s owner, as you may want to file a claim against the owner with the help of an attorney.
Owner Liability for Dog/Animal Bites
When it comes to determining who is at fault in a dog bite accident case, the first question to ask is: who is the owner of the dog? Under California law, “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.” This means that even if the owner had no reason to know that his or her dog was dangerous, if the dog bit you, the owner is liable.
Who Else Can Be Held Responsible for a Dog Bite Attack?
Dog owners are not the only ones who can be held responsible for the vicious actions of their dogs and the harm these animals cause. Here are a few common examples of when someone other than the animal’s owner could be held liable for an animal bite:
Animal Keepers – Any person or business who is responsible for the care or custody of an animal may be considered an owner or keeper and can be held responsible for an animal bite.
Property Owners – A property owner can be liable for injuries caused by an animal that the property owner allowed onto his or her property.
What Damages Can You Recover?
Depending on the seriousness of your dog bite injuries, you may be entitled to recover for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
This list is not exhaustive. Discuss other damages you may be able to recover for, including punitive damages, with your dog bite lawyer.
For more information on how to file a dog bite claim and recover financial compensation for your injuries, contact dog bite attorney Barry P. Goldberg today.