The personal injury and wrongful death practice at the Law Offices of Mark A. Doughty encompasses instances of animal attacks in Sacramento and surrounding areas in Northern California, notwithstanding the negligence or level of care exercised by the animal's owner.
Whether you are on public property or while lawfully on the property of another, the possibility of being attacked by a vicious dog or other dangerous animal is very real. Small children are especially vulnerable to animal attacks due to their size and their limited capacity to appreciate the risk involved when around an animal. Regardless of the sophistication of the victim, the animal's owner owes a strict duty to prevent the animal from injuring others.
Dog bites and other animal attacks can cause serious, painful injuries, as well as emotional trauma that can last long after the injury has healed. Physical injuries can be much worse than just lacerations and puncture wounds. Large animals can inflict serious bone fractures, permanent nerve damage, or deep lacerations that result in loss of limbs. Depending upon the size of the animal and the size of the victim, death can result as well, particularly when the encounter is between small child and vicious dog. Even where the physical injury appears relatively minor, the risk of serious infections requires that the injury be taken very seriously and followed up with the appropriate medical treatment.
Emotional injuries can be as severe or worse than the physical injuries. Facial scarring or other disfigurement can result in long-term or permanent humiliation, as well as causing life-long pain or physical disability. Victims can become afraid of dogs after an attack, hampering their facility in social situations and interfering with their ability to be outdoors without fear of further attacks. Fear of this sort, or accompanying depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may take long-term psychological therapy or psychiatric care to resolve. These effects can be even more pronounced, and more tragic, when the victim is a small child.
Strict Liability in California
Many states follow a "one free bite" rule, which means that an owner is not liable for injuries caused by an animal when the owner did not previously know of the animal's dangerous propensities. This is not the case in California. California's dog bite statute holds the owner liable regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness. Moreover, the injured person does not have to prove any negligence or fault on the part of the owner. If the person is bitten while in a public place or while lawfully on the owner's property, then the owner is strictly liable for the injuries caused.
If an incident such as this has happened to you, make sure that you do not take the matter lightly, and get yourself thoroughly checked out by a doctor. To speak with an Sacramento accident attorney who will sympathize with your situation, provide you with tough, effective representation, and hold the owner accountable to compensate you for your injuries, contact the Law Offices of Mark A. Doughty.