Dog Bites Sending More People to Hospitals in California
More and more people in California are being sent to hospitals for dog bites. According to a CBS San Francisco news report, serious dog bites requiring an emergency room visit are up by 44 percent in California over the last 10 years. Newly released numbers from California’s office of statewide health planning and development show dramatic increases in dog bites between 2005 and 2015 for adults, not including children.
What the Numbers Show
The data also showed that rural counties have the highest number of dog bites per capita compared to urban counties. From the six-year span of 2005 to 2010 the California statewide number saw a total of 181,618 people visit the emergency department, but in just the past five years from 2011 to 2015 the total was 187,448. A majority of the attacks involved domestic dogs.
Children and the elderly are the most likely group to be hospitalized following a dog bite injury, the numbers show. Children are also more likely to visit the ER after a dog bite compared to other age groups. Also, one-fourth of the 38 Californians killed by dogs between 2005 and 2013 were younger than 10, according to the California Department of Public Health.
What the Law Says
Under California’s strict liability statute, dog owners are can be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses their pets cause. California’s Civil Code Section 3342 states: “The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack, there are a number of steps you would be well advised to take in order to protect your legal rights. First and foremost, get medical attention and treatment for your bite injuries. Report the incident to the local police department or animal control agency. Get the name of the dog owner. If possible get the dog’s license number and physical description including breed. Take photographs of the location where the bite occurred and your injuries. Preserve all physical evidence including torn or bloody clothing.
Contact an experienced California dog bite lawyer who will fight hard to protect your rights and hold the negligent dog owner liable for the injuries and damages caused. Dog bite victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, cost of cosmetic surgery, psychological counseling and pain and suffering.