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My daughter was bitten by a dog a year ago, she was 2 at the time and 2 months short of her 3rd. birthday.

San Jose, CA |

Our child was attacked by a 6 month old chocolate lab, that the owner decided to unleash in a park with children playing.

Why did she unleash this dog? We have a medical alert dog for our child, our dog was off leash as well but she is under voice & hand control.

The dog was quarantined at the owners home, due to the bite mark on the side of our daughters face.

I am one of the 2 parents and was at home when I received a call about the attack. We live 6 blocks away and while en-route I called 911.

The long and short of it is, that we took our daughter to the ER and was told that yes she was bitten and so did her pediatrician the next day. Bite on face was obvious and dog also jumped on her back going for her neck leaving marks.
Owners are refusing to pay for just the medical bills.

We are not asking them for thousands of dollars, just the cost of the medical bills and the pediatrician's bill. Nothing more nor less. I called them after obtaining the police report. They did not answer nor have they ever returned a call. Well, apparently Firefighters are now Doctors and according to them our child was not bitten. The police report states that it was only a dog disturbance. Yet, the dog was quarantined for 10 days? What can I do at this point? I have taken photo's and went back to the park for measurements to prove that the report was inaccurate and her father was only ten feet away from her. He looked away for a moment and she was taught to not approach random dogs. The police officers report was so inaccurate and the only *supposed eye witness* could not have seen what happened, unless she was super hero. Well folks, if you are ever in San Jose, get your free check up at the Fire Stations. According to the reports they are now experts. SSHHEESH!

Attorney Answers 7

  1. You need a lawyer. Contact the Santa Clara State Bar Association for a referral:

  2. I should add that you may be getting close to the time limitation for filing suit, so you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

  3. Because your daughter is a minor the statute of limitations is tolled until she reaches the age of majority, 18. However, it is best to consult an attorney sooner rather than later while evidence is still available and witness recollection is fresh.

  4. I am sorry to hear about your daughter getting hurt. Whether the dog bit your daughter, or just jumped on her, whatever damage was done to her face can be compensated.

    At this point, you have tried to be nice and reasonable (just pay the bills), and the dog owner has not done the right thing. You need to get a personal injury lawyer right away. Marshall the names of all witnesses, photographs you hopefully took, and go see a lawyer right away.

    You can go to dog court, but that only concerns the disposition and welfare of the attacking dog. A personal injury lawyer can make a claim against the dog owners home owners or renters insurance (if they have any and the dog is not excluded).
    See a lawyer immediately.

    Adam Sorrells
    Chico Dog Bite Attorney

    Disclaimer: The following was not legal advice, and cannot be relied on. Time is of the essence. No attorney/client relationship formed.

  5. Definitely contact a personal injury lawyer right away. A lawyer can help you protect your rights and obtain money for your daughter's medical bills and pain and suffering. My office handles matters like these. If you would like a consultation feel free to call call my office at (877)283-2959.

    Best of luck to you.

  6. I hope you have photos of the marks left by the dog. These together with the ER report should establish that your daughter was bitten. In California, there is strict liability for dog bites. If the dog owner had home owners insurance, you chances of collection are greatly enhanced, In addition to the medical bills, your daughter is entitled to be compensated for pain and suffering and residual scarring, if any. No way to determine the value without further investigation. Hire a lawyer. You may contact the Lawyer Referral Service of the Santa Clara County Bar association at 408-971-6822 for a lost-cost consultation. Small claims court, with a jurisdictional limit of $7,500 may be a viable alternative but you'll still need proof of both the injury, medical bills and ownership of the dog. Good Luck!

  7. California has a statute that clearly says that there is strict liability for a dog bite. Your child was in a place she was entitled to be. You should consult with an attorney experienced in dog bite cases and bring a claim against the owner of the dog. The fact that your dog was off leash is not relevant unless your dog instigated a fight with the other dog or in any way created the situation where your daughter was bitten. If the other party does not have homeowner's insurance you will have to proceed against their assets. Please note there is a possibility there could be a cross complaint against you as the parent for negligent supervision.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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