The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are nearly 89 million dogs in the United States, with around 45% of families owning a dog as a pet. While these animals provide strong companionship and fill many lives with love and purpose, an unfortunate byproduct of this ownership is that they sometimes lead to bite incidents. This is true throughout California, Ventura is no exception.
While most dog bites are minor and require little to no medical attention, some can result in serious injuries or even death. Understanding the causes and risk factors of dog bite accidents is crucial to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Dedicated Ventura Dog Bite Lawyers Can Help You
At Quirk Accident and Injury Attorneys, APC, we understand that owning a dog comes with many responsibilities. While dog bite accidents are indeed an unfortunate part of coexisting with dogs, the physical and emotional toll that these incidents can leave you with can be quite serious. Our team of dedicated Ventura personal injury lawyers can help explain your legal options after these accidents and can help support you through this challenging time. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to get started.
What Causes Dog Bite Accidents in Ventura?
Dog bites are among the most unfortunate types of accidents because they often happen either without warning or because of circumstances that are outside of your control. The sad reality is that even the most mild-mannered and docile dog can give in to its nature and lash out with a bite when it feels threatened or provoked. That said, there are certain conditions that lead to dog bite accidents in particular, such as:
- Fear or perceived threat – A dog may bite if it feels scared or threatened, especially if it perceives a person or another animal as a potential danger. This is especially true for dogs that have not been properly socialized.
- Pain or illness – Dogs may bite if they are in pain or suffering from an illness that causes discomfort. This can cause dogs to become irritable and more likely to bite.
- Protective instinct – Some dogs may bite to protect their territory, food, toys, or family members. They may see strangers as potential threats and respond by biting.
- Lack of socialization or training – Dogs that have not been properly socialized or trained may be more likely to bite. This is especially true for dogs that have not been exposed to different people, animals, and environments.
- Prey drive – Some dogs have a strong prey drive and may bite if they perceive smaller animals or children as prey.
Measures to reduce dog bites
By being aware of these common causes and taking precautions, it can go a long way in preventing dog bite incidents from occurring. Again, while any dog has the propensity to bite, there are certain measures you can take to reduce the likelihood that you or a loved one get bitten:
- Always be cautious around unfamiliar or agitated dogs
- Never provoke a dog or play rough
- Be vigilant around a dog that doesn’t have a leash or is outside of its enclosure
These steps can reduce the risk of a dog bite, but sometimes they cannot be prevented. When this happens and you get bitten, you could be in for a wide range of potential injuries and complications.
Common Injuries in a Ventura Dog Bite Case
While there are common causes of dog bite incidents in Ventura, not every dog bite is the same in terms of the severity of the injuries. In fact, a number of factors go into how serious a dog bite can be, including the size of the dog, your overall health, and where the dog bites you. The vast majority of dog bites, though, result in the following injuries:
- Puncture wounds – Dog bites can cause deep puncture wounds, which can become infected if not properly cleaned and treated.
- Lacerations – A dog’s teeth can also cause lacerations, which can result in significant bleeding and scarring.
- Broken bones – In some cases, the force of a dog bite can cause bone fractures, especially if the victim is a child or elderly.
- Nerve damage – Bites to certain areas of the body, such as the hands and feet, can damage nerves and cause long-term complications.
- Infections – Dog bites can introduce harmful bacteria into the body, leading to infections such as tetanus or rabies.
- Emotional trauma – Dog attacks can be traumatic experiences, especially for children. Victims may experience long-term emotional distress, including anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In the aftermath of a dog bite, you’ll need to seek medical attention immediately just to gauge the severity of your injuries. This is especially crucial to counteract any infections or bacteria that come from the dog into the open wound.
In addition, you’ll want to report the dog bite to Ventura County Animal Services or the local police department as soon as possible. They will investigate the incident and take appropriate action to ensure public safety.
Once that step is taken care of, though, It’s always helpful for dog bite victims to look into how the law in California applies to these incidents.
What Does the Law Say About Ventura Dog Bites?
California law is very clear when it comes to dog bites. According to Section 3342 of the Civil Code, dog owners are “strictly liable” for any damages that result from bite injury that their dog inflicts, regardless of whether the owner knew or had reason to believe that the dog had aggressive tendencies. This means that if you’re the victim of a dog bite or attack, you don’t need to prove that the owner was negligent or that the dog had a history of aggressive behavior to recover damages.
Even with this rule in place, there are some exceptions when strict liability won’t apply. This happens if the bite victim:
- Was trespassing on the owner’s property
- Provoked the dog
In addition, if the dog caused other types of damage besides a bite, such as a broken bone from being knocked over or or caused a car accident, the victim may still be able to recover compensation.
Damages in a Ventura Dog Bite Case
Under this strict liability statute, a dog owner is responsible for any damage or injury their dog causes. In a dog bite incident, these can be quite extensive. Some of the damages that may be available in a Ventura dog bite case include:
- Medical expenses, including any costs related to bills, surgeries, or ongoing treatment
- Property damage
- Lost wages from missed work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages, if the dog owner’s conduct was reckless or egregious
The specific damages that may be available in your dog bite case will depend on the circumstances of the bite and the severity of your injuries. In addition, like any other injury claim, there is a statute of limitations for dog bite claims. In California, dog bite victims have two years from the date of the injury to file a claim.
Ventura Dog Bite Lawyers You Can Trust
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Ventura, you need legal representation that you can trust. At Quirk Accident and Injury Attorneys, we have the experience and resources necessary to take on even the most complex dog bite cases. Our dedicated team of lawyers will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome for your case. Don’t wait – contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.