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Dog Bites And The Legal Definition Of “bite”

By Expert Author: R. Klettke

Dog Bites and the Legal Definition of “Bite”



California State Law Defines What a Dog Bite Actually Is



Any victim of a dog bite is due information about that animal as it might affect that person’s own health. A dog bite attorney can help the victim recover losses.



The legal definition of a dog bite (California Penal Code Section 398) is when the animal causes the skin of the victim to be punctured or broken. In fact, particularly vicious dog bites can involve the tearing of muscle tissue, leave permanent scars and lasting emotional damage. Anyone who has experienced this is advised to retain the services of a personal injury attorney (and the dog owner should consider a personal injury defense attorney with animal attack experience).



More importantly, the owner of the dog – plus whomever has custody or control of the animal, which can include friends and hired dog walkers – is responsible for providing their name, telephone number, street address, the dog’s name and license tag number to the bite victim within 48 hours of the attack. The reason for this is two-fold:



• So that victims know or have access to vaccination records for the dog. While rare, attacks by rabid animals require painful medical treatment of the victim.



• So that there is legal recourse if the injuries to the victim are serious and costly.



California laws on dog bites have been written to address the serious and all-too-frequent cases of injury due to aggressive behavior. There are rules that protect the dog owner, such as when a victim unduly provoked the animal. The owner is also protected from lawsuits if the victim was uninvited into the home, such as with thieves or salespeople who enter a property without permission. If a dog is sequestered to a room or closed off outdoor space but an invited guest fails to heed warnings about the animal, the liability falls to the victim.



A dog bite can be costly. If the victim is permanently disfigured as a result, the civil court may render a judgment that covers all medical costs, lost time from work, ongoing therapy and for pain and suffering. In particularly egregious incidences, such as when the dog’s aggressive behavior was known prior to a bite, the dog owner can also be subject to criminal charges. From either side, dog owner and attack victim, a dog bite lawyer should be contacted soon after the victim has received immediate medical attention for his or her injuries.



R. Klettke is a freelance writer. He writes about personal injury and medical malpractice law and other matters of jurisprudence.



Important Advisory: This article is not intended to provide legal advice upon which you or anyone else should rely in making any decisions regarding the instituting or prosecuting of a legal claim. Laws and rules relating to the bringing of a claim vary widely from state to state. You should always contact a personal injury attorney to obtain information as to the rules and the laws pertaining to any claim you might have.

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