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California Dog on Dog Attack Liability

Who Is Liable in a Dog on Dog Attack?

California’s dog bite law clearly dictates that, in most cases, the owner of the dog is responsible when their dog bites a human. However, these regulations do not apply when a dog bites another dog. So what do you do if your dog has been attacked by another canine? Below, our knowledgeable attorneys will discuss more about what you should do when your dog gets bit by another dog, along with the necessary steps to follow in the aftermath of the attack.

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What to Do When a Dog Bites Your Dog

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It is understandable to panic after witnessing your dog getting attacked by another dog. However, it is important to follow these steps in order to diffuse the situation and get your dog to safety.

  1. Remain calm. Try not to panic, as this will make your dog more afraid.
  2. Do not go in between the two dogs to try to break up the attack. You could get seriously injured.
  3. Either you or the other dog owner should distract the aggressive dog by making a loud noise, such as a clap.
  4. Do not yell at the other dog or make eye contact with it. This may trigger the other dog to feel more threatened.
  5. Once you have separated both dogs, you should ask the dog owner for their contact information and if their dog is up to date with shots.
  6. Take pictures of the injuries caused by the dog on dog attack. You should also photograph the location of where the attack took place.
  7. Once you and your dog are in a safe location, you should contact your vet immediately to get advice on how to take care of your dog’s wound and if it is necessary to make a trip to the animal emergency clinic for further medical attention.
  8. You should also call the police and report the incident, unless the bite caused very little damage that can be treated at home.

If you do take your dog to the vet, they will examine the wounded area and look for signs of injuries, such as fractured bones, nerve damage, and bleeding. As the vet concludes their inspection, they will offer you treatment plans to help your dog fully recover.

Taking Care of a Bite Wound 

If you are not able to drive straight to the vet after the attack, you will still need to clean the wound as soon as you possibly can to keep it from getting infected. Here are some helpful tips on how to properly clean a dog’s wound:

  1. Gently wash the injured area with soap and water. Make sure to pat it dry afterwards.
  2. Dab either hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine or betadine on the wound in order to kill germs. Hydrogen peroxide should not be used too often since it can obstruct the healing process.
  3. Place a clean gauze pad on the injured area and apply an antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin.

You should continue to check on the wounded area and clean it about 3 to 4 times a day. Make sure to reapply antibiotic ointment to prevent the dog from getting any infections. It is important to not allow your dog to lick the injured area, as this may affect the healing process. For this reason, you should have your dog wear a cone or donut collar, whichever one your pet finds more comfortable to use.

Who Is Liable in a Dog Attack?

According to California’s dog bite law, “The owner of any dog is liable for 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 rule explains that the dog owner is liable for the dog bite despite prior knowledge of dog aggression. To successfully prove your dog was harmed by another owner’s dog, the following criteria must be verified:

  • The other dog owner was aware of their dog’s aggressive behavior.
  • The other dog owner violated California’s leash law.
  • The victim and their dog were in a public place or privately owned property when the attack happened.
  • The victim and their dog did not provoke the other dog to attack.

In California, pet parents are liable for all of their pet’s actions, even if they bite another dog. Owners will be held liable for damages, including vet bills. This is because, under California law, pets are considered property, and property owners are responsible for the damage that their equity inflicts.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Limitations for Damages in California 
For the most part, there is no real cap on compensatory damages following a personal injury claim. This means that courts are able to award any amount they feel is appropriate and reasonable.

However, the only exception is regarding medical malpractice cases. In these cases, the limit for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses is $250,000.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If your dog has sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a dog bite, attack, or accident, our skilled personal injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including vet bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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