A woman recently leashed up her dog and headed out for a walk on a typical California afternoon. Unfortunately this walk did not end with a drink of water and safe return home. While taking her walk, another dog approached and began to attack.
The other dog, described by a local newspaper as a pit bull terrier, first attacked the dog that was leashed and then began to attack the woman. At this point, an off-duty officer drove past the scene. He stopped his vehicle and went to the aid of the woman. The pit bull then turned on the officer. Ultimately, the officer was forced to shoot the dog in order to save the woman and himself from injury.
The tragic event provides an opportunity to discuss dog bite liability in California. When a dog bites, who is at fault? Generally, the answer to this question depends on state law. In California, this often means the dog owner is liable for costs that result from an attack. This could include emergency medical costs, medical bills and rehabilitative costs. If the injury results in an inability to work, the victim could also hold the owner accountable for lost wages.
What should I do if I am the victim of a dog attack? Those who are injured should take proactive steps to help ensure they can hold the owner liable for the costs of the injuries. This can include:
- Document the attack. File a report with the police to document the attack. This will help in the event of an insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Gather evidence. Take pictures of the injuries and keep copies of medical bills. Document any missed work due to the accident.
- Seek legal counsel. It is often wise to have an attorney assist in building a claim. This legal professional can guide you through the process and better ensure your legal rights are protected.
Expenses related to an animal attack can be very costly. Do not take the attack lightly. Take steps to hold the owner accountable and better ensure you have the funds necessary to receive the medical care you need to recover.