Dog Bites Involving Children in San Francisco

Do I Have a Case?
Many of California’s laws are written with the protection of children in mind. Unfortunately, powerful legal safeguards and the watchful eyes of parents aren’t always enough to keep a minor out of harm’s way. A parent or guardian may know the pet and never suspect there’s a chance for an attack until it’s too late. The child’s welfare and recovery is the first concern. Parents will also wonder who can be held responsible for the enormous costs of medical care for their little one.

Contact a Bay Area Dog Bite Lawyer

The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan have handled dog bite injury cases for many families and have worked to ensure that victims of all ages receive the medical care needed to make a full recovery. There are other medical and financial concerns when a still-developing child suffers a serious injury. This added endangerment can greatly increase the amount of compensation needed to make sure the child is given the best chance to heal and mature normally. Your child’s wellbeing is too important to leave to chance after such a devastating injury, or to an insurer who is likely to blame your child for provoking an attack. Contact our offices for a free and confidential case evaluation to find out what’s available to you and your child after a dangerous attack.

Child Dog Bite Victims in California

California holds dog owners to a higher standard than many other states do. California’s statutes concerning dog bites uphold strict liability for dog owners who allow their pets to bite someone. Strict liability means the owner can be held liable even if the dog has never displayed aggressive behavior before. A dog may become scared when cornered by a child and lash out, or a dog may simply be playing and accidentally hurt a child with its teeth. No matter how it happens, the owner is usually liable for the injuries caused to the minor by a bite.

Child Dog Bite Victims in a Family or Friend’s Home

Children are often attacked at a relative’s house or the house of a friend. For parents and guardians, it can be hard to hold a family member or a friend legally responsible for a child’s injury. However, everyone involved should understand that the child’s wellbeing is the most important determining factor. Family and friends should want the child to receive the best medical care available without bankrupting the parents. What’s more, an insurance claim would generally target a homeowner’s insurance provider or a renter’s insurance policy and not cause a lot of financial harm to the at-fault party. Often a lawsuit isn’t necessary. Most dog bite cases are settled out of court through an insurance settlement and never have to be brought into court. This is why homeowners and renters pay their insurance premiums. Insurance is there to make sure the victims of accidents receive the help they need.

Child Dog Bites on Private Property

Young children aren’t considered competent enough to see to their own safety. So, in cases where a curious child enters a yard or a house seeking to pet a dog and then gets bit, the dog’s owner or a property owner could still bear liability. The owner could be negligent for leaving a dog in an area that would be easily accessible to a child, even if the dog is on the owner’s property.

Medical Care For Young Dog Bite Patients

This liability for dog owners or property owners becomes extremely important when considering the costs of treatment that may be needed for young victims. Children’s bodies are still developing and any serious injury can affect their maturation and growth. Initial medical care to close wounds and prevent infection may only be the beginning of care. As the child grows into a teenager and young adult, they may experience additional complications from an old dog bite wound. Surgeries, physical therapy, and plastic surgery might also be necessary. A skilled personal injury lawyer working on the behalf of your family will know exactly what factors must be entered into an insurance claim. The personal injury attorney would ensure that the family has what they need to rebuild their finances and also assess the level of support a young victim will need down the road.

Dog Bite Victims and the Minor’s Compromise

Another layer of protection California provides for children is the “minor’s compromise.” Legislators wanted to make sure young victims of personal injury don’t fall prey to shady insurance practices and sign away their chance to get fair compensation for an injury. A judge must approve any settlement extended to a minor hurt by a dog bite. This court supervision is in place to guarantee the child receives adequate compensation and doesn’t pay unfair attorney fees. The idea is to keep the child from signing an agreement and giving up the right to further compensation when they are older when it’s not in their best interests.

After Your Child Has Been Injured in a Dog Bite Incident in the Bay Area…

If your child has suffered a dog bite injury, don’t trust your recovery to an insurance company. Allow The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan to shield your child and your family from the stress and worry of battling insurance companies for help. Children and their parents should be able to focus on recovery. Our experienced dog bite legal team works to earn the most compensation available while causing as little disruption to the family as possible. Contact our offices for a free case consultation that comes with no obligation to you or your family. Let us safeguard your rights as victims and help you secure the support you need to get your child back to doing the things they love. For more on dog bite injuries, you can visit our informational page here.

Additional Resources

Child Dog Bite Injuries