Mans’ best friend is our oldest animal companion, and throughout human, history dogs have been loyal pets. Often, we’ll see our neighbors and friends walking their dogs, enjoying a leisurely stroll or, occasionally being dragged down the sidewalk by their favorite furry friend, much to our entertainment.
Dogs are typically very friendly towards people and other dogs, but occasionally, often through no fault of their own, dogs become alarmed or angry. While people have many ways of dealing with these emotions, most dogs respond with aggression when scared or angered. As a result, there are thousands of dog bites and injuries resulting from dog attacks in the United States every year. At The Law Offices of Schurmer & Wood, we have over twenty years of experience handling dog bite cases and other cases involving animal attacks and are committed to helping victims in Oxnard, Ventura, and the surrounding areas.
The short answer to this question is usually yes. California Civil Code Section 3342 states that a dog owner is “liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place.” This often means that regardless of the circumstances surrounding the accident, the dog owner is responsible for the injuries his/her dog caused.
Despite the clear language of the law, getting owners to take responsibility can be complicated. Some owners are eager to take responsibility for their dog’s misbehavior and will pay for injuries their dog causes and the related damages. Other times, owners will try to place the blame on the victim of the dog attack or try to dodge responsibility for their pet. In cases like these, it’s critical that people injured by dogs or other domesticate animals contact an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who understands the injuries dogs can cause and how to use the law to ensure the pet owner takes responsibility for their pets’ behavior.
Often questions arise about whether apartment owners or homeowners are liable for dog bites or attacks that happen when a tenant’s dog is responsible for the attack. Depending on certain factors the answer may be yes. This can be a very important factor since often the tenant’s do not have insurance for the actions of their animals. It is important to have an attorney that is familiar with these matters so that you may receive the best recovery.
Many victims of dog bites are bitten by dogs owned by friends or family. This means that many people injured by dogs sometimes choose to pay for their injuries rather than hold the dog owner responsible because they are afraid forcing the dog owner to pay out-of-pocket would ruin their relationship.
As a result of this concern, many of our clients are happy to learn that a lot of home owner’s and renter’s insurance policies will cover the damage caused by the policy holder’s pets. This means that it is often possible for dog bite victims to avoid damaging important relationships while at the same time getting the compensation they need to cover their medical expenses and other damages. This is also one big reason we always advise our clients to carefully consider their insurance options, because often having or not having insurance can be the difference between paying a small deductible and a huge bill.
Even if a dog owner does not have proper insurance to pay for damages their dog causes, they are still legally responsible for compensating anyone who has been injured by their pet.
Being severely injured always takes its toll, but with the proper medical care and the assistance of a dedicated and trustworthy attorney, victims can still live their lives. At The Law Offices of Schurmer & Wood, we understand that being there for our clients means empathizing with their situation and doing the best job we can to ensure they get the settlement they deserve.
We accept dog bite cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you are not responsible for paying for our services out of pocket and we will not get paid unless we successfully resolve your case. If you’ve been injured by another person’s dog, we encourage you to contact us to discuss how we can help. The consultation is always free, so call us anytime. We provide personal injury representation to Oxnard and all of Ventura County.