Orange County Dog Bites and How to Assess Liability
Although any dog has the potential to bite, it is packs of dogs either wild or tame that do often dogs that haven’t been neutered, closely follow the most violent and aggressive. Certain breeds have been bred to be aggressive, such as German Shepherds, Rottweillers, Pit Bulls, and Chows, whilst others have been trained to attack if someone enters their property or ventures too closely to their owners.
Dog injuries can be terrifying and cause long term emotional distress and serious physical injuries. Out of an estimated 4.5 million Americans who are bitten annually, 17% of these bites were severe enough to require medical treatment and included nerve damage, scarring, broken bones and physical disfigurements, even death. If you have been bitten or injured by a dog, it is important that you immediately contact an Orange County lawyer who is there to help document your injuries and file any claims for damages.
Dog bite injuries are some of the most controversial personal injury claims because of the emotional attachment to the dog in question. Dog bite laws vary enormously from state to state so it is vital that you seek the services of an Orange county attorney who specializes in this field.
Dog bite injury law is split into two categories: One Bite Rule and Strict Liability Rule. The One Bite Rule means that an owner is not legally liable for an injury caused to a person by their dog’s first bite provided they have exercised reasonable control over their dog. This rule does not apply if the owner was aware that their dog was inclined to snap, or usually wore a muzzle and was not doing so on this occasion.
After the first bite, any further injuries or bites from the same dog are assessed under Strict Liability Rule. This rule is termed as a Scienter Law that legally means there is an awareness or knowledge that the dog can be dangerous. However, even if the owner is aware that their dog has bitten before, they may not be prosecuted if, for example, their dog was provoked by the victim, the victim was a trespasser on the owner’s property, or if the dog bit a veterinarian during treatment.
Other factors that can change a dog bite claim can also include whether there were any warning signs posted and whether the injuries were non-bite related. Because assessing a dog bite claim can be very complex, this is another reason why if you or a loved one have been involved in a dog bite claim, you should seek the services of a Orange County attorney.
You may be reluctant to file a claim against a family member or friend whose dog has bitten you for fear their dog may be put down. However, it is worth remembering the ‘one bite rule’ and also the fact that in the majority of cases, any compensation will be paid from the insurance carrier. So don’t suffer in silence, contact an Orange County lawyer who will deal with your case with compassion and clarity.