Dogs are overwhelmingly one of the most common types of household pets in America.

Approximately 89.7 million dogs live in homes in the United States, and while nobody ever wants to think their pet could ever seriously hurt somebody, it’s something that happens millions of times every single year. Over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs annually, and, in 2018, State Farm Insurance rated California as the state with the highest rate of dog bite injuries in the entire country.

No matter what breed a dog is or how big it is, all dogs can bite.

1 in 5

dog bite victims require medical attention as a result of their injuries

Dog bite injuries & infections

Dog bites can cause a wide range of injuries that can greatly vary in severity. Some of the most common types of dog bite injuries include soft tissue injuries, nerve damage, lacerations, puncture wounds, and crushing injuries. In very extreme cases, vicious dog attacks can even be fatal. Numbers from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that nearly 27,000 people underwent reconstructive plastic surgery in 2018 to correct damage caused by dog bites. 

Some areas of the body tend to be injured by dog bites more often than others. About 71% of dog bites occur to arms, legs, hands, and feet. Dog bites can also be hugely traumatic for victims and leave psychological scars that last far longer than physical scars. 

The bacteria in dog mouths can also potentially cause infections and diseases such as tetanus, MRSA, rabies, and pasteurella infections. According to the CDC, up to 18% of dog bites become infected. Some types of infections and diseases related to dog bites are more common than others. Rabies is very serious but rare, while pasteurella infections are found in over half of all dog bite wound infections. 

Who is at risk for dog bites? 

Anyone can become the victim of a dog bite, but children are particularly vulnerable. It’s estimated that at least half of all dog bite victims each year are children. Dog bite injuries in children also tend to be more severe than for adults. In dog bites involving children, 65% of bites occur on the head or neck. Very often, children are bitten by dogs that were familiar to them, such as one owned by a neighbor, a friend, or a relative. The elderly also tend to be more susceptible to serious dog bite injuries since their bodies are more fragile than the body of a younger adult. 

For postal workers, dog attacks are a very serious occupational hazard. 5,714 postal employees were attacked by dogs in the United States in 2018. The U.S. Postal Service ranked Los Angeles as having the second highest rate of postal employee dog attacks in the country for 2018. 

California dog bite law

Laws regarding dog bites vary from state to state. While some states have laws that only hold a dog’s owner liable for dog bite injuries if the dog has a prior history of aggressive behavior, that is not the case in California. California has a strict liability dog bite law that automatically holds dog owners liable for injuries caused by dog bites in the vast majority of cases, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before. 

In the state of California, dog owners are liable for damages as long as the injury was caused by a dog bite and if the victim was either on public property or lawfully on private property when they were bitten. Injuries caused by other types of actions by a dog would be covered by California’s negligence laws. California dog bite law also has exceptions for dog bite injuries caused by police or military dogs who were acting in the line of duty at the time of the bite. 

To have lawfully been on private property, this means the dog bite victim needs to have been bitten on property they own, an invited guest on another person’s property, or carrying out a legally approved activity on another person’s property, such as delivering mail. 

Under California dog bite law, there is a two-year statute of limitations on filing a lawsuit over dog bite injuries, so don’t hesitate to contact a dog bite lawyer about your case. 

Damages in a dog bite claim

Dog bite injuries can have a significant impact on your life, so if you’re interested in making a claim over your injuries, it’s important to make sure you seek compensation for all the damages that you’re entitled to. When making a claim for damages in a dog bite or dog attack claim, some types of damages you can collect include:

  • Medical expenses, including future expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage, if any of your personal property was damaged in the attack

Contact a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer

If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, one of the best things you can have is an experienced dog bite lawyer on your side. Don’t try to go it alone. The dog bite lawyers of The Wallace Firm have a track record of success in handling California dog bite claims and are ready to fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. With us on your side, you’ll be able to focus your time and energy on what’s most important: your recovery. Contact us today for help with your claim. 

Wallace Wins
Settlement

$100K

Defendant: Farmers Insurance
Settlement

$500K

Injury: Arm Injuries
Defendant: Philadelphia Insurance Company
Settlement

$300K

Injury: Hand Injury
Defendant: Farmers Insurance

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