Dog Bite Cases (...continued)
It is estimated that approximately 5,000,000 dog bites take place each year in the United States. According to USA Today (May, 2012), State Farm, the largest writer of homeowners insurance in the United States, paid more than $109,000,000.00 on nearly 3,800 dog bite claims in the calendar year of 2011. Depending on the size and type of dog, puncture wounds can be deep, and infections can develop, which will to complicate treatment. Hospitalization and reconstructive surgery may both be necessary. Other complications, such as treatment for rabies, may be necessary if the dog does not have current records for shots.
California law establishes “strict liability” for the dog owner if there is a bite. Dog owners are obligated to take all reasonable steps to keep others safe from their animals. By way of example, dog owners cannot allow their dogs to run at large. Also, a dog owner can be held responsible for punitive damages if they continue to own a dog that they know has a history of aggression or biting. If you or a family member is attacked by a dog, please take the time to consult a dog bite attorney to learn what can be done to receive compensation for your losses. It is important to consult an attorney sooner than that, while the evidence is still fresh, and also, so that physical evidence can be gathered and located and witnesses can be contacted as soon after an event as possible.
Interesting Fact for San Diego Residents: According to the Union Tribune newspaper (March 8, 2014), San Diego County ranks second in the nation for dog attacks, particularly on mail carriers. San Diego saw a 25% increase in dog bites and dog attacks in 2013, compared to 2012.
The Insurance Information Institute’s analysis of homeowners insurance data found that the average cost of a dog bite claim in the United States in 2011 was almost $30,000.00, up more than 50% from approximately $20,000.00 in 2004. The medical costs and the size of the settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs have all outpaced inflation, according to the Institute. Also, according to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites account for more than one third of homeowners insurance liability claims paid in 2011, at a cost of approximately $480,000,000.00.
According to the Union Tribune newspaper (May 15, 2015) San Diego ranks third nationwide for dog attacks on postal workers in 2014. There were 91 such attacks in San Diego County, 51 of them in the City of San Diego. Over the last several years, there have been two local mail carriers that died because of dog attacks.
Recent news: according the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper (May 14, 2016), San Diego has the second most mail carrier dog bites in the country. Across the country, mail carriers have a 40% higher chance than the rest of the population, of being bitten by a dog. Last year, San Diego came in second, to Houston, for the most dog bites of mail carriers.
Statute of Limitations in Dog Bite Cases
The term Statute of Limitations refers to the amount of time a person has to sue for their injury. In California, the Statute of Limitations, generally, is two years from the date of the accident. This means that if a personal injury claim cannot be resolved without a lawsuit, the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. Otherwise, the opportunity for a recovery is lost altogether.
If a claim or lawsuit is against a public entity (such as a City, the State of California, or a School District), there must be filed a governmental entity claim within six months of the date of the accident. As with the Statute of Limitations discussed above, if such a claim is not filed within six months, it means that the possibility of making a recovery against a governmental entity will be lost.