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Personal Injury Firm in Los Angeles

Irvine Dog Bite Attorney

Dog Bite Laws Explained

For many of us, dogs can really become a part of the family. We include them in family photographs and reward them with love, companionship, affection and care. Unfortunately, some people do not treat their animals with kindness, even neglecting or abusing them, which can lead to aggressive or violent behavior. And there will always be dogs that act aggressively regardless of their upbringing or training. Fortunately, California law provides protections for dog attack and dog bite victims.

If you’ve ever been bitten by a dog you may have been surprised by its strength and athleticism. Some dog jaws can exert as much as 600 pounds of pressure per bite. Dog attacks and dog bite injuries, especially those involving the pitbull breed, are fairly common in the Irvine area. The greater Orange County averages more than four dog bites a day, which translates to more than 1,500 dog bites a year.

The Irvine dog bite attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are prepared to fight for victims who have suffered as a result of a dog bite injury. Our lawyers are first rate trial attorneys who know how to recover fair and just compensation if you or a loved one was bitten by a dog.

Dog Bite Facts and Stats

Thousands of Americans suffer dog bites on a yearly basis. Sadly, the majority of dog bite victims are young children. Emergency room visits are usually necessary after a dog attack to prevent the spread of dangerous infections or contagious diseases, and reconstructive surgeries may be necessary if a victim has suffered deep enough lacerations.

According to statistics provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 4.7 million dog bites a year occur in the United States, and close to 800,000 require medical care.

Below are more alarming dog bite statistics:

  • Children are at the greatest risk of being injured by a dog bite. Almost half of all children under the age of twelve have suffered at least one dog bite.
  • 79% of all fatal dog attacks involved children.
  • Liable dog owners were responsible for more than $686 million in dog related injury costs in 2017.
  • The average dog bite claim cost totalled just over $37,000.
  • Insurance companies pay over $1 billion for dog bite settlements every year.

Further dog bite statistics:

  • A dog bite occurs every 75 seconds in the United States. Over 1,000 people a day require emergency medical care to treat their injuries.
  • Over 6,750 U.S. Postal Service workers were attacked by dogs in 2016.
  • 4.5 million dog bites happen every year in the United States, and on average, 1 in 5 bites becomes infected.
  • Over 28,000 people in 2015 underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of a serious dog bite.

California Dog Bite Laws – Strict Liability

California Civil Code Section 3342 states that a dog owner is held liable for damages suffered by any person who was bitten by their dog, whether the owner knew or should have known about the dog’s dangerous condition. As long as the victim was in a public place, or lawfully on someone’s property–including the dog owner’s property–the dog owner is automatically responsible for any injuries the victim suffers. Even if the dog had never acted violently and the owner had no knowledge of the dog’s aggressive behavior, the dog owner will still be strictly liable.  

Breed Specific Ordinances in California

Throughout the past twelve years, 392 deaths were caused by a dog attack in the United States. 65% were caused by pitbulls. If you combine pitbull numbers with rottweiler numbers, the figure climbs up to 76%. And if you add dog breeds that are thought of as “cousins” of pitbulls and rottweilers, the already alarming figure of 76% rises to nearly 90%.

It’s impossible to ignore the implications of these statistics. California law doesn’t specifically target pitbulls, but there are breed specific regulations in California that apply primarily to pitbulls and related breeds. According to Breed Specific Ordinances:

  1. Any pitbull over the age of four months, and all dogs included on the BSL, must be licensed.
  2. All pitbulls, and all dogs included on BSL ordinances, must be spayed or neutered.

Why Do Dogs Attack In The First Place?

The majority of dog bites come from dogs that are familiar to their victim, and they often happen because an animal was startled or afraid. Unfortunately, there are also cases where a person provoked a dog into attacking them. Teasing or provocation can easily result in a dog bite, particularly when there are unsupervised children involved. There are also instances where a person enters another’s property and a dog attacks in order to protect its territory.

It’s important for property owners to monitor their dogs’ aggressive tendencies. Even a well trained dog can gradually become violent and attack. Some dogs start off with harmless barking at strangers, and may eventually become bolder and chase after passersby. A dog owner is responsible for their dog’s aggressive behavior and must take measures to minimize the possibility of an attack.

Compensation for Dog Bite Victims

An experienced Irvine dog bite injury attorney can help dog bite victims recover maximum compensation for their injuries. Irvine dog bite victims may be entitled to receive compensation for:

  • Past and Future Medical Costs.
  • Loss of Past and Future Income.
  • Pain and Suffering.
  • Loss of Consortium.
  • Loss of Earning Capacity.
  • Emotional Suffering.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life.
  • Humiliation.
  • Disfigurement.

Contact us to find out how we can help

Having a skilled Irvine dog bite attorney on your side can help you get the compensation you deserve. If you or your loved one was injured because of a dog bite, West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free consultation. We handle our cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you only pay us if we get compensation for you. You can reach our legal team 24 hours a day by calling (213) 927-3700 or emailing

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