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Oxnard Dog Bite Attorneys

Serving Clients in Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties

Dog bites can inflict painful physical injuries, as well as emotional trauma that often lingers long after the wound has healed. In California, dog owners are generally responsible for any injuries their animals cause. The Oxnard dog bite attorneys at Crane Flores, LLP utilize their experience to try personal injury and wrongful death cases that help dog bite victims recover compensation for the medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages that accompany their injuries.

Contact our firm at (805) 628-4967 to request a free consultation today. We offer personalized legal representation and aggressive action.

Types of Injuries Involved in Dog Bites Cases

Depending upon the size of the dog, the size of the victim, and the viciousness and duration of the attack, dog bites can cause injuries ranging from lacerations and puncture wounds to crushed bones and compound fractures, nerve damage, rabies and other diseases, and death. Unfortunately, small children are frequently the victims of these attacks, owing to their smaller size and lack of experience with animals. They may have a limited capacity to appreciate the risks a dog may present.

In addition to the serious physical injuries and accompanying pain and suffering, dog bites can cause severe emotional distress and long-term or lifelong disabilities. A fear of dogs can seriously impact a person’s quality of life by hindering his/her ability to socialize with others or be out in public places. Other people suffer from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that may require long courses of treatment through psychological therapy, psychiatric care, or medication. When facial scarring or disfigurement has occurred, repeated painful reconstructive surgeries may also be necessary.

If you've been injured in a dog attack in the Oxnard area, call (805) 628-4967 to discuss your case with an experienced attorney from our firm.

What to Do After a Dog Bite

If you have been bitten by a dog, be sure to do the following:

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you cannot get to a doctor right away, gently press on the wound to flush out any bacteria and wash it with mild soap and water. Wrap the wound with a clean bandage to slow the bleeding until you can get medical help.
  • Exchange information with the dog's owner. Much like a car accident, you will need to record the dog owner's name, address, phone number, and email address so you can not only contact them after the incident but so you can also verify the dog's vaccination history.
  • Exchange information with any witnesses. If there were any witnesses to the attack, be sure to get their names, phone numbers, and email addresses for later reference as their testimony may be needed to support your injury claim.
  • Call animal control and report the attack. Filing a report with your local animal control agency can help prevent future attacks by the same dog as well as assist them with their own investigation.

Strict Liability in Dog Bite Cases

California does not follow the “one free bite” rule found in some other states, which basically excuses a dog owner who did not previously know of the animal’s dangerous propensities. In California, pet owners are strictly liable for any harm their animals cause. It does not matter if the owner knew the animal was dangerous, or if this attack was the first time the animal showed any signs of viciousness.

Strict liability also means that the injured person does not have to show that the dog owner was negligent in allowing the attack, and it is no defense for the owner to claim that he or she took care to keep others from harm. Dog owners are “strictly liable” when their animals attack and injure others.

Be Aware of Common Defenses to Dog Bite Injury Claims

The strict liability law only applies to injuries that occur in a public place or while the person injured was lawfully in a private place. When the dog bite occurs on the dog owner’s private property, the owner may claim the injured person was not permitted on the property at that time. Being lawfully present includes workers with a license to enter private property to perform their duties, such as mail carriers and letter readers, as well as people who had an express or implied invitation to come on to the property.

Whether someone had an implied invitation to be on the property can be a complicated question. What about a child who wandered onto the property? Was there something on the property that attracted the child’s attention? If the area was not secure, the question of whether the child was a trespasser or not can become quite complex.

Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Lawsuits in California

Since dog bite injury claims are considered a type of personal injury claim, they are subject to California's personal injury statute of limitations. California's statute of limitations on personal injury claims is two years. In other words, you have two years from the date of a dog bite to file a civil lawsuit in court against the dog's owner. If you file a claim after this deadline has expired, the court will almost certainly dismiss your claim and you will be unable to pursue further legal action.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog bite or other animal attack, contact Crane Flores, LLP online or call (805) 628-4967 to schedule a free consultation.

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