Have you, your child or a relative been attacked by a dog or other domestic animal in San Diego County, California? Did the attack cause serious injuries and lasting effects such as scarring or disfigurement? Will there be lasting emotional and psychological scars such as anxiety and fear? If so, you need to consult with our skilled El Cajon Dog Bite Lawyers regarding any rights you have and how to protect them.
The El Cajon dog bite lawyers at the Law Offices of Howard Kitay have been representing victims of dog attacks, dog bites and dog maulings for more than 20 years in the San Diego, El Cajon and Chula Vista areas. In that time we have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and jury verdicts for clients injured by the dog bites and other serious injuries caused by the negligence of others.
An attack by a dog is a frightening experience that can cause serious, long term physical and emotional trauma and may sometimes result in the victim’s death. A dog’s owner bears the responsibility for the animal’s acts, and when an attack occurs, the victim has the right to claim compensation for a range of financial, medical, and psychological damages and losses in various aspects of the quality of life.
Pet Owner’s Responsibility
Most dogs make pleasant and affectionate companions, but any animal can be unpredictable. Anyone in El Cajon or La Mesa who chooses to keep a dog has a duty to train and socialize it and keep it from harming others. Dogs that have been properly trained and socialized are less likely to injure a person. In addition to obedience training, a dog owner should expose the pet to people of all ages, genders, and races. Even if the dog has been well socialized, it needs to be leashed when away from the owner’s property and confined inside the home or in a securely fenced outdoor area.
It is especially important to restrain a dog when a service technician or the mail carrier is expected, and no dog should be allowed around children without close adult supervision.
California Law Holds Pet Owners Strictly Liable for Dog Bites
The law in California applies the doctrine of strict liability to dog bites. If a dog bites you, the dog’s owner, or the owner of the property if the dog is owned by a tenant, is automatically liable for your damages and will be required to pay for all current and future medical bills and other economic and non-economic damages, even if the animal has never bitten anyone before or shown the propensity to be dangerous.
When you’ve been attacked by a dog, your El Cajon dog bite lawyer will need to prove two things:
- You were lawfully on the property when the dog attacked you.
- You were injured by the dog bite and suffered damages.
When these two things have been proven, dog’s owner is held strictly liable for your damages in your La Mesa dog bite law suit.
The Facts about Dog Bites in El Cajon and La Mesa
- California and North Carolina led the nation in dog attack fatalities in 2012. Each state reported four deaths that year.
- Seventy-five percent of the dog bite deaths in California were in San Diego County. Pit bulls were responsible for 88 percent of dog attack deaths.
- The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that victims of dog attacks nationwide suffer over $1 billion and likely as much as $2 billion every year in financial losses alone.
- The average expense for a dog bite-related hospital admission in the U.S. was found to be $18,200 in a 2010 study, which is roughly 50 percent more than the average hospital stay for other injuries.
- Half of all dog bite victims are children.
Dog Bites In Children
- 70% of dog bite fatalities involve children under 10 years old
- 50% of dog attacks involve children under 12 years old
- 82% of dog bites requiring treatment in the emergency room involve children under the age of 15
- 65% of dog bites in children are to the head or neck
- Unsupervised infants are nearly 370 times more likely than an adult to be attacked and killed by a dog
Damages from Dog Bite Injuries
The damages you may pursue in a dog bite lawsuit include the following:
- Medical expenses, including emergency room, hospitalization, and follow-up
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery
- Psychological therapy to treat emotional trauma
- Lost wages and reduced present and future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and disability
- Diminished quality of life
- Wrongful death
If the victim is a child and a parent or other family member observed the attack and suffered consequent psychological trauma, that person may also have a claim.
Homeowner’s Insurance and Dog Bites
Homeowner’s insurance policies generally cover dog bites. The Insurance Information Institute reports that dog-attack-related claims make up about a third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims. A single homeowner’s insurance provider reported paying out in excess of $136 million dollars in one calendar year to settle close to 4,500 dog bite injury claims.
That said, insurance companies are in the business of making money, and they don’t pay dog bite claims without a fight. It is essential to have an experienced personal injury lawyer representing you when you’ve been attacked by a dog. A lawyer who practices personal injury law exclusively and deals with insurance companies regularly is usually better able to negotiate with an insurance company. A skilled El Cajon dog bite lawyer has the negotiating and courtroom skills to maximize the money you recover for your injury. A good lawyer will almost always get you more money than if you attempt to settle on your own.
El Cajon Dog Bite Attorneys with the Experience You Need
At the law offices of Howard Kitay, we are usually able to settle dog bite cases without the necessity of a trial. But the key to obtaining the best possible settlement is to prepare each case for trial and to be ready to proceed if an appropriate settlement is not offered. At the Kitay law firm, every case is meticulously prepared for trial, and the insurance companies know it; consequently, most of our clients are able to obtain a maximum settlement without having to go to court.
Howard Kitay and his staff of highly skilled and experienced personal injury attorneys have assisted thousands of personal injury accident victims in La Mesa, El Cajon, and the surrounding area since 1989. Our dog bite attorneys have represented clients who have suffered from dog bite attacks in diverse circumstances recover substantial monetary awards.
If you have been the victim of a dog attack in San Diego County, California, you will need representation by an experienced El Cajon personal injury attorney with a proven record of success handling dog bite and animal attack injuries. Contact the law offices of Howard Kitay as soon as possible to speak with our seasoned El Cajon dog bite lawyers about your legal options.
California places time limits on filing a personal injury lawsuit, so don’t delay in scheduling a complimentary consultation. You will never pay any expenses or legal fees until you receive your award.