Pit bull attacks seem to grab all the headlines when it comes to people being bitten
by dogs, but the truth of the matter is, thousands of victims are bitten each year by a
variety of animals. Those victims often times have a legal recourse to recover
damages from an owner or other responsible parties.
Animal bites are unique in that they can cause a series of injuries, infections and
death either from the attack itself or from diseases the animal may have been
carrying. That means getting treated medically should be a priority in all animal
attacks, even those that seem relatively harmless.
After you’ve been treated, you should consider consulting with an attorney who will
be able to advise you if you have a case to seek damages against the animal’s owner.
If you move forward with a case, the first thing an attorney will do is determine who
the owner is. In some states, the theory of “strict liability” applies which says that
an owner is legally liable for an animal bite under all circumstances.
In other states, the laws are a bit more relaxed, holding an owner accountable if the
owner knew the animal had “dangerous propensities.” That means, for example, if a
pit bull had a history of attacking people and the owner knows that there could
possibly be a future attack, then the owner may be held liable for the pit bull’s
An owner may not be the only person held liable for an attack. Landlords may be
held liable if they allow a renter to house a dangerous animal. Animal keepers, such
as a kennel or an animal shelter, may be held liable in some instances. Parents of
minors may also face liability issues, even if the animal was the child’s and the
parent had no direct involvement with the animal.
Choulos, Choulos & Wyle proudly serve clients in San Francisco, Oakland and in
cities throughout the Bay Area.