Californians love their pets. Cats and dogs are most common, along with ferrets, hamsters, parrots, and other birds. Others may have more exotic pets, such as iguanas, snakes, and rats. But no matter what type of animal, it's not uncommon for any animal to bite or attack someone they don’t know or see as a threat to the homestead.
Pet lovers who visit other pet lovers usually want to approach someone’s animal, who smells their pet on them. Others who don’t care for animals may avoid contact but find themselves in the animal’s personal space anyway. Either scenario can lead to an animal bite or an outright attack, leading the serious injuries. Bites and attacks are more often from a familiar dog, although bites from strays also happen.
So, who's responsible? In California, animal attacks and bites are considered part of premises liability law. That is, the person who owns and or manages the property, such as a home, apartment, condo, townhome, or other residential area, is responsible for the attacking animal.
If the animal is known to be vicious, the homeowner/pet owner has a responsibility to ensure that the animal is restrained to prevent potential interactions. Should they fail in that duty of care, the owner can be held liable for your injuries.
California law has strict liability for dog and animal owners. This means that unlike other states, a dog does not get “one free bite.” In other words, an animal owner can be held liable for any bites inflicted by their dog, even if this was the first time the dog either bit someone or displayed any kind of vicious or ferocious behavior.
Owners are required to properly restrain their pets from assaulting invited guests and passersby, such as on a city street while walking the animal. Rather than assume that the dog will not attack, the owner must take precautions to protect visitors from the possibility of the dog (or other animal) causing an injury.
The owner can be held liable for injuries inflicted by their dog or other pet as long as:
Premises liability means that an owner, manager, landlord, or other responsible person is required to keep a premises safe for everyone who enters. Owners have a duty of care to protect visitors, repair people and others who are on a property for a business reason from any type of dangerous condition that can lead to injuries. This includes animal attacks and bites.
You have just two years to file your claim after an animal attack. Waiting could mean losing money because the insurance company knows you won’t have enough time to file if you wait too long.
But if the policy isn’t sufficient to cover all of your expenses, a personal injury lawsuit may be required.
Most people think that an incident with an animal is a dog bite, but that’s not always the case. Cats are known for walking around someone’s ankles and causing them to trip and fall.
Although any dog can bite someone, larger dogs can also push a person into a wall or to the floor or cause them to trip and fall without any threat of a bite. Like a slip and fall, pushing by a large friendly dog can still lead to injuries such as broken bones, bruises, cuts, and head injuries, even if the dog is simply big and affectionate.
Other animals, including pets, can also bite if they are disturbed. Cats are the second-most common pet and are also notorious for being picky about with whom they associate. Bites and scratches from cats can become infected and pass along rabies, tetanus, cat scratch disease, and other illnesses.
Immediate medical care is vital for nearly any type of injury. Animal bites and attacks are no exception, especially if you are not familiar with the animal. Should the animal be unknown, rabies infection is possible, and the animal will have to be captured.
If you are able, take pictures of the animal and your injuries. Get the name and contact information of the owner if you don’t already know them. If the animal has been vaccinated, consider asking the owner for vaccination records if possible.
A doctor will check for damage to tendons, bones, nerves, or muscles, and then treat the wound, and possibly suture the wound. Antibiotics may also be prescribed for seven to ten days to treat an infection. Should your injury become infected, bleed, or fail to heal, return to your doctor for additional treatment.
Medical care is also essential for your claim, so keep all records and receipts. Then contact a dog bite attorney to file your claim.
Many people are afraid to file a claim for an animal bite or attack, especially if it occurred at the home of a friend or relative. In most cases, their homeowner’s policy will cover these types of claims and help cover your losses and expenses.
If you have been the victim of a dog, cat, or other animal who bit or attacked you, You have rights under the law that may entitle you to compensation. For your injuries and losses.
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