Articles Posted in Dog Bites

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One of the largest home insurance companies in the country has recorded a spike in California dog bite claims. State Farm recently indicated that the number of claims in the state increased by 31 percent in 2011, with the insurer paying out $20.3 million on 527 claims, reported the Los Angeles Daily News.

“In California, landowners may be held liable for the expense of treating a dog bite victim’s injuries and recovery,” explained California personal injury lawyer James Ballidis, “especially if they knew or should have known that the animal posed a threat to others.”

After a dog attack, victims are often able to seek compensation for their injury or loss through the homeowner’s insurance policy. While California surpassed other states in the amount paid out in dog bite claims in 2011, increases were also recorded on a national level: the total paid out for such claims by all insurers rose from $413 million in 2010 to $479 million in 2011, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

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On Easter Sunday, a pit bull mastiff attacked and seriously injured 3-year-old Hayleh Harger in Victorville. The mauling occurred when a neighbor brought the dog to the Harger residence. She was transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where she received 100 stitches and staples in her head. The dog is in the possession of the Devore Animal Shelter, and its owner has not been located.

“Under California law, when a dog attacks and causes harm to a person, the owner may be held liable for the victim’s injury-related expenses,” explained California personal injury attorney James Ballidis.

Annually, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs, with nearly one in five requiring medical attention for their injuries. Children are especially susceptible to attacks, with the incidence of trauma from dog bites the highest among those aged 5 to 9 years. Fortunately, attacks among this age group have been declining in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Yesterday, the owners of two pit bulls that attacked and inflicted serious injuries to their neighbor were each charged with two felonies for owning dogs that caused serious bodily injury, three misdemeanor counts of failing to protect the public from a dangerous dog, and violating leash laws. On June 18th, the dogs entered the neighbor’s yard through a sagging area of the chain-link fence that divided the two yards and viciously attacked 75-year-old Emako Mendoza, biting her several times on the legs and arms. Mendoza underwent surgery to amputate her left leg and arm and may also lose her right leg. Last December, the pit bulls attacked another neighbor while he walked his dog; however, the owners were not charged in the incident, explains a California dog bite specialist.

Every year in the United States, dogs bite more than 4.7 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Such attacks send 800,000 people to seek medical attention, 386,000 of them in emergency rooms. Annually, an estimated 16 victims die from their injures. A CDC study of attacks that occurred between 1979 and 1998 found that pit bulls and Rottweilers were involved in more than half of recorded incidents.

All of us at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis, and Leslie would like to wish Emako Mendoza the best recovery possible.

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Many people feel the safest and most secure in the comfort of their own homes. While parents may worry about the safety of their children when they are walking to school or on the playground, they often feel that they have addressed the children risks that can be found in their home: fencing in a swimming pool or placing child safety locks throughout the house. However, if you have a dog in your house, regardless of the breed, your child may be at risk, explains a California injury attorney specializing in child injury law.

Approximately 400,000 children visit hospital emergency rooms for dog bite injuries annually. 16 of these children die from their injuries, making dog attacks one of the most common-and, at times, least expected-children risks. Just last week, a two-year-old San Diego boy was fatally attacked by his family’s German Shepherd while his mother was sleeping.

Unlike American Staffordshire terriers (a.k.a. pit bulls) and Rottweilers, German Shepherds do not have a history of aggressive behavior. The police and military often employ German Shepherds because they are intelligent, obedient, and loyal. According to the American Kennel Club, they are one of the most frequently registered dogs in the country-an indication of their popularity. The AKC describes the breed as, “the ideal choice for families,” and notes that the dogs are great with children with whom they are familiar. The tragedy that recently occurred in San Diego suggests that the breed of dog you have does not determine whether or not it may attack.

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There have been two vicious pit bull attacks in the last two weeks here in Orange County and other similar attacks throughout California this past summer. Is it the heat, the breed or have these dog owners been fooled in thinking these dogs are really good pets?

In the most recent case a three year old was mauled by her family’s pit bull in her own backyard. She is still in the hospital recovering from puncture wounds to her face and neck and several other lacerations. This young girl from the Orange County community of Fullerton was left to play alone in the backyard with the dog. In most cases, the owners always emphatically state, “this dog has never shown aggression before”. We have heard such statements in our cases before as a dog bite specialist.

In another vicious attack, in Dana Point Harbor, two dog owners were walking their dogs when the pit bull attacked and killed a terrier. Animal control declared the pit bull a “vicious animal” according to statute and the owner ultimately surrendered the dog to be euthanized.

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Laguna Hills City Council recently honored four men who courageously saved a woman from probable death from a vicious mauling of three bullmastiff dogs.

It was last December when one of the men, Ed Barnard was standing on his front lawn. According to city reports, one of the dogs bit him but he was able to tear him away. While on his phone to call emergency services for his wounds, he heard a woman screaming. Barnard and his neighbors came after the dogs with shovels and sticks to distract the dogs.

By the time they reached the women, the three dogs had nearly ripped off her arm and she almost died. Another man, Jim Warren used his body as a shield to cover the woman until the others distracted the dogs away. The 61 year old woman underwent over 8 hours of surgery but is now recovering. The men described the incident as a very traumatic and intense situation.

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Cypress Police Department in Orange County are calling the dog bites from its own police dog an accident, but the 22 year old woman that was bitten has filed suit through her attorney.

The dog bite happened in the early morning hours of August 16th, 2008. Police officers were searching a neighborhood for an armed robbery suspect. The police asked the homeowner if they could search the surrounding property and garage. The homeowner agreed, but had f a guest sleeping in the garage. When the officers and dog entered the garage, they found Alicia Quinonez, 22 sleeping. Quinonez was startled awake and may have kicked or swiped at the dog, that fact is disputed at this point. She was taken to a nearby hospital with severe bites to her right leg.

Her attorney claims that a police dog should be have been better trained. The city is now conducting a full investigation. Whether a governmental official or private citizen, a dog owner is responsible for the behavior of his/her dog. When ever someone ifs bitten wrongly, a California personal injury attorney specializing in dog bite cases can provide a meaningful evaluation of your right to bring a claim.

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Doug and Vicki Perry were happily walking their dogs through their normally quiet Anaheim neighborhood one day when suddenly and brutally they were attacked by a sole pit bull. The couple recalled that the pit bull literally “came out of thin air” and attacked both them and their dogs.

Motorists pulled to the side of the road, neighbors heard the loud screams for help and eventually the pit bull had to be beaten and stabbed to release the tight grip. At one point, Doug Perry ran into a house to grab a knife to help defend against the vicious dog. In the end, both dogs and the couple had been seriously injured in the chaos.

The Anaheim police department is now looking into aggressive behavior complaints by this pit bull dog earlier in the week. If this is correct, then the dog owner could be facing criminal charges. In California, the owner will face civil liability because of our dog bite statutes.

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A California man, Eric Quek, is considering his options after a horrific attack from his neighbor’s dog left him fighting for his life with serious injuries to his body. Mr. Quek and several of his neighbors had been complaining to animal control about their neighbor’s pit bulls and how they were often fearful walking on their own property. These dogs literally terrorized this neighborhood.

Quek was just spraying weeds on his small farm when the four dogs saw him and at once they ran towards him and started attacking. He fought them off with his pruning tools but he was no match for four adult pit bulls. Fortunately his other neighbor saw the attack and scared the dogs away. Quek spent several weeks in the hospital with serious personal injuries but luckily survived.

Even though animal control eventually put down three of the four dogs, the forth dog was said to have been transferred out of state to another home. It is doubtful the new owner would know anything about this dog’s past behavior.

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Avoiding a dog bite can be a precarious effort. If you run, you entice the dog to chase you. If you yell and scream in an attempt to intimidate the dog, you can actually frighten the dog and in so doing may instigate an attack. If a dog is barking or growling at you, it may be attempting to show you aggression or fear. Are these attacks avoidable?

In our client’s case, attack could not be avoided. The dog had escaped the backyard of the neighbor’ s house, and had attacked our client’ s dog. When our client attempted to separate them, he was attacked as well. Although he received a $325,000 settlement, for the injuries he had sustained, an after-the-fact settlement still means our client was a victim.

Several dog experts in recent years have proposed methods for avoiding an attack by a dog. However, those methods have been met with mixed results. As alluded to earlier, if you attempt to out run the dog you will likely be brought to the ground from behind and sustain more serious injury. There are several things you can try however that will minimize the possibility of an attack.