Dog bites are serious public problems that can inflict considerable physical and emotional damage to victims and their families. There are approximately 74 million dogs in the United States. An estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Approximately 334,000 people are admitted to emergency departments annually with dog bite-associated injuries, and another 466,000 are seen in other medical settings.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite and would like to speak with a Bay Area dog bite attorney, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights. At O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley we have over 50 years of experience. We have the expertise and a proven track record of success.
The dog bite lawyers at O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley are well known and respected throughout the legal community and among our clients. From our offices in Contra Costa County, San Francisco and Sacramento, we serve clients throughout Northern California. Our experience and expertise are available to you.
California Civil Code §3342 states:
(a) 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. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.
(b) Nothing in this section shall authorize the bringing of an action pursuant to subdivision (a) against any governmental agency using a dog in military or police work if the bite or bites occurred while the dog was defending itself from an annoying, harassing, or provoking act, or assisting an employee of the agency in any of the following:
(1) In the apprehension or holding of a suspect where the employee has a reasonable suspicion of the suspect's involvement in criminal activity.
(2) In the investigation of a crime or possible crime.
(3) In the execution of a warrant.
(4) In the defense of a peace officer or another person.
(c) Subdivision (b) shall not apply in any case where the victim of the bite or bites was not a party to, nor a participant in, nor suspected to be a party to or a participant in, the act or acts that prompted the use of the dog in the military or police work.
(d) Subdivision (b) shall apply only where a governmental agency using a dog in military or police work has adopted a written policy on the necessary and appropriate use of a dog for the police or military work enumerated in subdivision (b).
How to help reduce your child's chances of being bitten by a dog.
- One of the easiest and most important things that you can do is to not leave your younger children alone around a dog, not even the family dog.
- Carefully choose your pet dog. Evaluate your environment and lifestyles and speak with a professional to determine the appropriate type of pet.
- Dogs should be neutered to reduce aggressive tendencies.
- Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog.
- Teach children basic safety around dogs and review regularly.
- Dogs with histories of aggression are inappropriate for families with children.
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog. Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior.
- Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar dog -- never run or scream.
- Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- If bitten by a dog, immediately report the bite.