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Dog Bite Laws Injury Law
Dog Bite Laws Cover More Than Just “Bites”
Dog bite laws certainly protect victims of dog “bite” injuries, but did you know that they also protect those who have been injured by dogs for other reasons?
Injuries which may be compensable
Steve Recordon, a California attorney with nearly 30 years of experience whose practice represents individuals who have been injured by dog bites, told us that any injury that’s proximately caused by a dog is covered under dog bite laws – of which there are state statutes and county and city ordinances. He provided the following real life example:
To give you an example of how a non dog bite can be covered, I’ll tell you about one of my cases that I resolved about nine months ago where my client was walking her dog. Leash laws are pretty rigorously enforced in California and the leash has to be six feet or less. Most of them have handles at the end of the leash similar to a handle you would have on a water ski rope.
My client, a middle aged lady, was walking her mid-sized dog and had her hand through the handle, which a lot of us do with dogs, holding onto the leash. As she’s walking along, a dog across the street that was actually inside a house with the door open, spots her dog, runs out of the house, across the yard, across the street and as it approaches the dog that my client was walking, her dog bolts. She’s got her hand through the leash handle and wrapped around it and the dog actually pulls her down. She hits the sidewalk with her face and she knocks out two teeth.
Now, in that case, the offending dog didn’t bite or touch her or her dog, yet the owner of that dog was responsible for her injuries, which where substantial dental bills. That gives you an example of how a non-bite can be responsible.
Recordon says that you can also have infections in dog bite cases that quite often can be severe. He explained, “I’ve actually seen it result in amputation of a limb. So, infection is another area to be concerned with, in addition to potential rabies and other things that might be associated with dog bites.”
“Other situations, such as where a dog frightens someone can also be compensable. Where that comes into play would be where a dog has, in an aggressive manner, gone up to a child or young adult in a threatening manner, bearing its teeth, growling or barking and it runs up to an individual and then stops before it actually bites. That can create a very severe fear of dogs – particularly in a child.”
Recordon says that Californians love their dogs. “They are part of the family. My dogs, for example, sleep on my bed with me. I have two of them – a soft coated Wheaton Terrier and a Goldendoodle (which is a combination of Poodle and Golden Retriever – or what we refer to as a designer mutt.) If I had a child who, as a result of a non-bite or even a bite, was apprehensive about their own pet or other dogs, I believe that type of case has substantial value.”
If you’ve been injured due to a dog bite, contact an attorney whose practice focuses in this area of law to discuss your situation. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.
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