Oxnard Dog Bite Attorneys
Representing Victims of Dog Attacks in Ventura County
Dogs provide companionship, love, and loyalty to thousands of people throughout Southern California, and Oxnard in particular loves its pets. There are wonderful dog-friendly parks, beaches, hiking trails, hotels, and restaurants in Oxnard. Some dogs are trained as service animals to help people with disabilities, and assist them with routine tasks every day. These animals offer something few people can: care and companionship without asking anything in return.
Unfortunately, dogs can also act violently and lash out at people for no discernible reason, which can result in painful injuries. If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, even a dog owned by a friend or family member, you have the right to hold that dog's owner responsible for what their pet did. Call NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022 to talk to a Ventura County personal injury attorney and discuss your legal options.
Causes for Dog Attacks
Dogs attack for a variety of reasons. A dog may be playing and get overly excited and bite. A dog may meet someone new and jump on the person, knocking him or her over. In some situations, a dog may become aggressive and attack someone who it perceives as a threat.
Ultimately, the reasons for a dog attack are not important from a legal perspective because dogs in California are not allowed to attack anyone who is on public property or lawfully on private property.
Dog Owner Liability
In California, the law places total liability for a dog attack on the owner of the dog, without regard to how the dog acted prior to the attack. In any situation, the owner of the dog is liable for damages caused by an attack, which can include medical bills, wages from lost work, scarring and disfigurement, emotional trauma, and property damage caused by the dog.
There are some situations in which the dog's owner might not be liable. For example, if a professional dog-walker has possession of the dog, he or she assumes liability for whatever the dog does while in the dog-walker’s possession. This liability may be affected by a contract that the dog-walker and the dog's owner have, which might impact who is ultimately liable for an attack by a dog while in the dog-walker's possession. An Oxnard personal injury lawyer will be able to sort out the liability in each unique case.
A dog owner is responsible for damages caused by a dog attack, which may be covered by their homeowners or renters insurance. Some insurance policies cover bites and other pet attacks, and dog bite victims may file claims against these insurance policies for compensation. However, some insurance companies in California do blacklist certain dog breeds, like pit bull terriers and Rottweilers, and these dogs’ attacks may not be covered under a dog owner’s insurance policy.
Someone attacked by such a dog on private property may need to file a civil lawsuit directly against the dog's owner to recover compensation for injuries and damages.
Prior Dog Behavior
In California, a dog that has never shown signs of aggression is no different from a dog that has acted aggressively toward people in the past, as far as the law is concerned. The dog's owner cannot say the dog has always been friendly to escape liability for an attack under a perceived "one bite rule." California does not have a "one free bite rule" that allows all dogs one "free" bite before the owner is held liable for the victim’s costs - California is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites.
Some dog owners might try to use a "provocation" defense of their dogs' actions. This is only valid in extreme cases. Dogs are expected to act with restraint and owners are expected to ensure that their dogs are always under control, so only some action, like violence toward the dog or its owner by the dog bite victim, would be considered provocation and a legitimate defense for an attack.
Every case is different and dependent on the particular facts and circumstances. NordstrandBlack PC will look into all possible liable parties and sources of insurance to get you the compensation you are due.
If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, call the Oxnard dog bite attorneys at NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022. We will review your legal options with you, and get you started on the road to recovery.
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