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Dog Parks, Dog Bites And Liability

By Expert Author: R. Klettke

Dog Owners Can Be Liable for Dog Bites in Dog Parks


Dog bite attorneys: The establishment of dog parks -- fenced areas where dogs play off leash – do not exempt dog owners from vicious attack liability.


Dog ownership rates have risen in recent years, and along with it an increase in dog parks in cities and suburbs across America. But as any dog bite lawyer can attest, setting aside a special area for off-leash play does not magically transforms dogs into docile creatures. Unfortunately, it works quite the opposite, in fact, as dogs sometimes become more aggressive around other dogs in confined spaces.


Dogfights sometimes pull in their owners, who themselves end up with dog bite wounds. In other situations, a dog may bite a human with no provocation, in and out of dog parks. Because what happens in these instances is sometimes murky, the services of a personal injury attorney who specializes in dog bite injuries may be necessary.


The California laws that apply to dog bites in public places are no different in designated dog play areas. If a dog bites another person and that bite penetrates the skin, it meets the legal definition of a bite. If the wounds are serious, involving torn muscle or which require multiple sutures (perhaps even cosmetic surgery), then the bite is legally defined as a severe injury.


The dog owner runs greater risk if he or she allows this to happen more than twice in a 36 month period of time. On a third attack, they are officially deemed negligent and responsible for injuries sustained by the victim under California law. Both the victim and the dog owner are wise to hire their own personal injury lawyers, as such cases typically are settled in court or in a pre-trial settlement. The dog owner generally pays for medical costs, lost time from work, ongoing therapies and, sometimes, pain and suffering inflicted upon the victim. In some court cases, judges have awarded punitive damages to the victim if the dog owner was found to be particularly negligent.


Interestingly, the owner of the dog park property is immune to liability when the use of that park is provided free of charge.


If you or a loved one has suffered a dog attack, it is important to first seek medical treatment to address the injury and to establish medical documentation. Soon after, contact a dog bite attorney to discuss your options for seeking appropriate compensation for your dog bite-related losses.

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