California Mom and Toddler Mauled by Neighborhood Dogs

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Q: What damages can I recover for dog bite injuries?

“Man’s best friend”, they say. Many families across America enjoy the fun and companionship of dogs and consider them to be more than just pets—they are part of the family. In so many ways, life can be so much better with a dog.

But many people tend to ignore or downplay the ugly truth that on rare occasions and without any provocation or apparent reason, dogs– of all breeds– can turn vicious in an instant. They can lash out with a single, painful bite, or worse—a full blown, life-threatening or fatal attack. When provoked, a dog is even more likely to bite.

Dog bite injuries are on the rise in California as one brave Anaheim mom recently learned the hard way.

The mother’s horrific nightmare played out in five excruciating minutes which must have felt like an eternity. Captured on video surveillance, the ordeal began after the mom and her two-year-old son walked outside to their front yard. Two loose neighborhood dogs approached them, seemingly playfully at first.

Within seconds, one dog had bitten open the toddler’s face while the other knocked the boy to the ground. The mom swept up her son and spent the next five minutes desperately trying anything and everything to stop the dogs from attacking her son. She swung the baby above her head and held him high, attempted to get back into her house, and literally used her body is a shield for her son while the dogs continue to bite them both. A woman with a stick attempted to help, but the dogs were relentless. Eventually, the mom was able to get her injured son back into the house.

The toddler received numerous personal injuries, the most serious being to his face and calf, and required extensive plastic surgery. The mom suffered from several bite wounds. Both victims may have suffered emotional damages, as well. At least one of the dogs has been euthanized.

In California, the owner of the dog is strictly liable in a dog bite case– as long as the victim was not trespassing and did not provoke the attack. It doesn’t matter if the owner had no reason to know the dog was dangerous. The video surveillance tape in this particular case is a crucial piece of evidence on the issue of provocation. Dog bite cases can be complex in the absence of such rare and beneficial video footage, since provocation is critical issue to be determined.

Dog bite victims can generally recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and property damages. In some cases, a dog’s owner will also be punished for their reckless or intentional conduct through an award of punitive damages as well. It was not reported in the Anaheim case how the dogs got loose or whether they were involved in any prior bite incidents.

If you get bitten by a dog, seek medical attention immediately and notify the police. Then contact an attorney who specializes in dog bite injuries so they can evaluate your claim and help you with a lawsuit to recover compensation for the physical and emotional pain you suffered as a result of the attack.

The law firm of J&Y has personal injury attorneys with extensive experience in dog-bite injury cases and we are ready to help you. With offices in Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, and Rancho Cucamonga, we serve clients throughout California. Call for a free case evaluation at (888) 806-6722 or contact us online.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.