Riverside is a dog-friendly city. With our many green spaces and pet-friendly businesses, there’s no shortage of places to take your canine companion for a day out. But without proper precautions or training, even the friendliest dog can bite or attack.

If you or someone you love has suffered a dog bite or attack in Riverside, you should speak to the Riverside personal injury attorneys at OnderLaw about filing a claim or a lawsuit for compensation. Since 2002, we’ve helped clients all over the country to get the compensation they deserve after a dog bite accident, and we’re happy to help you and your family to do the same. Call today for a free consultation, and let us help you get on the road to recovery after a dog bite. Call today.

How Dog Bites Occur

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are approximately 85 million dogs in the United States, spread over about one third of American households. Dogs provide many benefits for their owners, including companionship, emotional support, protection, stress relief, or plain enjoyment.

The high number of dogs in American households inevitably leads to dog bites. Per the CDC, there are more than 4.5 million dog bites in this country every year, with almost 800,000 of those requiring medical treatment. Someone is bitten by a dog every 36 seconds in America.

The vast majority of dog bite victims are children, and over 25 percent of children bitten by dogs require medical attention. The age group most affected is children ages four to nine, and boys are far more likely to be bitten than girls. The injuries suffered by children bitten by dogs also tend to be more severe than those of adults, as small children are closer to the height of a dog’s head and mouth. Over 65 percent of dog bite injuries to children less than four years old are to the face and neck. Dog bites are the second leading cause of emergency room visits for young children in the country.

Also startling is the fact that 80 percent of dog bites occur at home, with the bite coming from the family pet, and the second most likely place is in the home of a friend or relative, with the bite coming from their pet. Most dog bites come from pets that the victim knows and is familiar with.

Dogs bite for many reasons. They bite out of fear, when they are startled, nervous, or anxious, when they feel threatened, when they are protecting something, when they are in pain, or when they are playing. All dogs have the potential to bite under the right circumstances, regardless of breed, size, or disposition. Children tend to be bitten more than adults for various reasons, including the inability to distinguish body language in an anxious dog, the lack of restraint when interacting physically with a dog, and the fact that a dog might see a small child as competition rather than as a master or companion.

It’s important to note that despite the large number of dog bites every year, there were only 46 fatal dog bites in all of 2020. Fatalities by dog bite are exceedingly rare.

Common Injuries Suffered in Dog Attacks

The injuries sustained during dog attacks are usually tied to the age of the victim. The younger the victim, the more severe the injuries tend to be, as younger children are physically closer in size to a dog. Adults tend to be bitten more in the extremities like the leg or hand, while young children tend to suffer bites on the face, head, and neck.

Some injuries common to dog bites include the following:

  • Puncture wounds
  • Abrasions
  • Lacerations
  • Avulsion
  • Face and neck injuries
  • Crushing injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Eye injuries
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Infections
  • Nerve damage

Dog Laws and Regulations in California

California has some of the strictest laws in the country regarding dog ownership because California has the highest number of dog bite injuries in the country. Dogs are required to be microchipped, and the owner of a dog bears ‘strict liability’ for any actions the dog performs. This means that the owner of a dog is responsible for any injuries the dog creates on public or private property, regardless of whether the dog has a previous record of vicious behavior.

Riverside County has its own laws regarding dogs as well, including a law requiring that all pit bulls in the county be spayed or neutered once they reach four months of age and a law preventing anyone from selling or giving away dogs in a public place.

Compensation for Dog Bites in California

Because California is a strict liability state, you’re not required to prove that the owner of a dog behaved negligently to obtain compensation for a dog bite injury, only that you were on public property or lawfully on private property, and the bite occurred. The owner cannot escape liability just because they didn’t know the dog would bite someone, or even if the dog was properly secured behind a fence or on a leash.

You can be compensated for any losses or damages you suffered as a result of the dog bite. This can include material losses, such as medical bills or property damage, and non-material losses, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.

The actual material losses with a financial cost are referred to as economic damages. Some examples include the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Household expenses
  • Lost opportunity
  • Property damage

The immaterial losses, relating more to the experience of the injury, are called noneconomic damages. There are several types, such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

As most dog bites take place inside or near the home and most often the family pet is responsible, it’s important to note that you are not demanding compensation directly from the responsible party but from the responsible party’s insurance company. Dog bites are covered under most homeowners’ insurance policies, so you won’t be going directly after a friend or relative’s finances. You’ll just be filing a claim with their insurance provider.

Statute of Limitations on Dog Bite Claims

California has a limit on the amount of time an injury victim has to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Under most circumstances, the limit is two years from the date of the injury. If the injury was not discovered immediately, then the limit is one year from the date of the discovery. If you attempt to file a suit for compensation after the time limit has expired, a judge will likely refuse to hear your case.

Why Choose OnderLaw to Represent Me?

There are many reasons why our clients choose us for quality legal counsel in Riverside.

First, because we have the experience to handle any and all types of personal injury claims. We’ve handled claims of all sizes, from simple slip and fall cases to multi-million dollar lawsuits against corporate giants like Johnson & Johnson. We’re not afraid to take on the big companies for our clients.

We also understand that we’re not dealing in cases and claims: we’re dealing in lives. The simple fact that you’re seeking legal representation means you’ve suffered an injury severe enough to warrant taking legal action, and we know how difficult that step can be, especially with regard to dog bites. We’ve helped thousands of injury victims get compensation, and we know what you’re going through. We provide more than top-tier legal counsel at OnderLaw . We provide support and reassurance when you need it most.

We don’t just provide support to our clients. We also support charitable causes and organizations all over the country, such as MADD, the Lupus Foundation of America, and Toys for Tots.

We know that not everyone can afford to pay a retainer for quality legal help, which is why we work on contingency. There are no upfront costs for our services, and we take payment out of any settlement or award we obtain for you. If we’re not successful in getting you the compensation you need, we don’t get paid.

We’ve received multiple accolades and awards for our work because we consistently get the results our clients deserve. We’ve successfully obtained more than $3.5 billion in compensation since our founding in 2002. We can’t guarantee a positive outcome for every claim we handle, but we will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you need to move on after a dog bite injury.

Call Today for a Free Consultation

If you or someone you love was bitten by a dog in California, don’t wait any longer to contact OnderLaw . We are standing by to take your call and review your case to determine whether you’re eligible for compensation. Call for a free, no-obligation consultation, and let us help you get the justice you deserve. Call today.