Call us today to speak to an experienced dog bite specialist at Tryk Law, P.C. (559) 840-3240 or (844) FRESNO1!
``Dogs never bite me, only humans`` - Marilyn Monroe
Dogs bite people because – for whatever reason given the context – their instincts compel them to bite. It is not the dog’s fault. But their owners and caretakers are responsible for making sure that a dog with a propensity to bite does not bite an unsuspecting victim.
According to the CDC, nearly 5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Most are insignificant. But approximately 1,000 people go to the emergency room every day from dog bite injuries. Many of these people are the dogs’ owners or others who negligently handled the dog or otherwise assumed the risk of their injuries. But many dog bite victims are innocent victims, often children who would not know of the dog’s vicious propensities. Incredibly, dog bites are ranked 5th on the list of reasons children end up in the emergency room and, far too often, the bites on children are on the child’s face.
``More than 5,000,000 people are bit by dogs every year``.....Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Under California law, a dog owner may be liable for injuries caused by the dog under two alternate theories of liability: negligence or strict liability, the letter meaning that if you are bit by a dog, the owner is responsible for the conduct of the dog and there are few excuses or defenses the dog owner may present to justify the conduct of the canine.
California is not a “one bite” state where a dog must have previously bitten someone in order to bring a claim. In fact, under California dog bite law, there are some breeds of dogs that are known to be so aggressive that no prior propensity to bite is required for that particular breed of dog. Pit bulls are the most obvious example, also Rottweilers or German Shepards are thought of as power breed dogs. These dogs require additional training, care and supervision because of the damage they are able to do to other living things.
These are essentially strict liability claims. In other words, the plaintiff’s lawyer must show that the dog was aggressive by nature and that the injuries were the result of the dog bite. In order to hold an animal’s owner strictly liable, the dog bite victim must offer evidence that the owner knew, or should have known, of the propensity of the dog to cause the harm that was caused.
There also may be a negligence claim against the dog’s owners if they knew or had reason to know of the animal’s vicious propensity or where the owner has acted negligently in controlling his animal (including, violation of leash laws). It is more difficult to prevail against the landlord who rents to the owner of a dog that bites a person.
``All dogs can become aggressive, but the difference between an aggressive Chihuahua and an aggressive pit bull is that the pit bull can do more damage. That's why it's important to make sure you are a hundred percent ready for the responsibility if you own a 'power' breed, like a pit bull, German shepherd, or Rottweiler`` ....... Cesar Millan
Generally, homeowner’s insurance policies and some renter’s insurance policies cover strict liability and negligence in dog bite cases in California. This holds true even if the dog is not on the homeowner’s property. It becomes a little more complex when there is a landlord that may or may not have been aware that a renter allowed a dog to reside in the home.
Many Fresno insurance defense lawyers handling dog bite cases in Fresno and throughout the Central Valley are incorrectly convinced that a dog must have bitten someone before to create liability. This is a common defense. Other defenses are that the victim provoked the dog (which sometimes happens and it is a good defense if true), or that the victim was otherwise negligent or assumed the risk that the dog might bite. These defenses are easier to defeat when you have a Fresno Personal Injury lawyer that knows the playbook and prepares for these defenses in advance.
The median (not average) dog bite verdict in Fresno, California, and the Central Valley over the last several years is $24,600. There are several factors that go into the valuation of a dog bite case, the most significant of that is scarring, nerve damage or muscle disruption.
The value of a dog bite case drastically increases if the dog causes the victim to be significantly scarred. Typically, the value of a dog bite increases if the victim is female and even more, if the victim is a female youth. Bite location, gender, disability, nerve damage and scarring are what insurance companies refer to as value drivers for these cases.
Fresno, Central Valley and California Dog Bite Cases are extremely important to have an experienced dog attack lawyer to assure that you are not leaving money on the table. Tryk Law is a Fresno based law firm that has handled more than 40 dog bite injury cases in the last 6 years where our clients’ injuries include superficial wounds to upper and lower extremities to those involving the loss of limbs.
When it comes to Fresno Dog Bite Cases, we are aggressive, experienced and seasoned in the nuances that can make a difference between a nominal settlement and complete financial justice.