Every year, thousands of Americans are bitten by animals — most often dogs. In many cases, a person bitten by an animal may have a legal right to recover damages from the animal’s owner or another responsible party.

If An Animal Bites You

The first thing you should do if you are bitten by an animal is to seek medical attention immediately. If you are not treated, an animal bite can cause serious injury, infection, and even death if the animal was diseased. Once you have been medically evaluated, you should also consider consulting a lawyer with experience in animal bite cases. An attorney will be able to tell you whether you have a legal claim, and what damages you may be able to recover.
An attorney will ask you for detailed information about the circumstances surrounding your animal bite. At a minimum, you should provide the name and phone number of the animal’s owner. If you don’t have this information, a neighbor or a witness might be able to provide it to you. Also, if there were witnesses, you should get their names and contact information as well.

In deciding who is responsible for an animal bite, the first thing to determine is: who is the owner of the animal? In California, the owner of an animal can be held liable for the injuries it inflicts regardless of it’s past behavior.  It is not necessary to prove that the owner knew (or had reason to know) that the animal had “dangerous propensities.” California imposes what is known as “strict liability” upon animal owners whose animals bite or attack others. Under the theory of strict liability, an owner is legally responsible (“liable”) for an animal bite, regardless of whether the owner did anything wrong with respect to protecting others from attack. Under this theory, even if the owner had no reason to know that his or her animal was dangerous, if the animal bit someone, the owner would still be liable.

California has enacted laws that are collectively referred to as “dog-bite laws.” Dog-bite laws impose what is known as “strict liability” on dog owners for injuries caused by their dogs. Strict liability means that the dog owner is responsible for injuries caused by his or her dog, regardless of whether the owner was actually at fault. Dog-bite statutes provide a significant legal advantage to people injured by dogs. In states that do not have such laws, an injured person has the burden of proving that the dog owner knew (or should have known) that his/her dog was vicious and could injure someone. Under strict liability dog-bite law, however, an injured person only needs to show that the dog bit him or her, and the owner’s knowledge is not an issue.

The Law Offices of H.K. Graham was established with one thing in mind: to aggressively resolve your personal injury claim with maximum monetary recovery. Maximum monetary recovery only occurs after you have recovered fully both medically and emotionally.  Our job is to help you recover fully on all of these levels.  Call us at 831-457-2733 for a free consultation.