You may recall reading in the Orange County Register in December of 2008 about a woman who was attacked in Laguna Hills by 3 Bullmastiffs that had escaped from their owner’s backyard. It was reported that the 3 dogs viciously mauled the woman, shaking her like a ragdoll. Several neighbors came to the aid of the woman and used shovels to beat the vicious dogs off of her so she could be rescued. The woman was taken to the hospital where she underwent 8 hours of surgery to treat her severe injuries. The 4 neighbors that came to her aid were later honored as heroes by the City Council of Laguna Hills.
One of the neighbors who came to her aid was also bitten by the dogs and retained Easton & Easton, LLP to represent him. In early 2009, we were able to obtain a very favorable settlement for this client.
While the one free bite rule has been abandoned in California with respect to dogs, it remains in effect for other types of domestic animals. For example, where an owner’s domestic cat, bird, rodent, or other animal attacks or bites a victim, the owner of the animal can be held liable for the victim’s injuries as long as the victim can prove that the owner had knowledge or should have had knowledge of the animal’s vicious propensities. Therefore, where the plaintiff can prove the animal has attacked or bitten someone before, the owner will usually be held liable.
Attorneys at Easton & Easton, LLP, recently helped a woman who was petting a cat inside a home and was subsequently bitten on the finger by the cat. The bite became infected and our client eventually had to be hospitalized for the infection.
We were able to prove that the owner had knowledge of the cat’s vicious propensities by proving that the cat had previously bitten the owner and the owner’s boyfriend and that these facts weren’t disclosed to our client before she petted the cat. After establishing this, we were able to settle our client’s claim against the cat owner’s homeowners insurance carrier for $100,000, the full amount of their homeowners liability insurance.
Over the years, we have represented many dog bite claimants, as well as victims of other types of animal attacks, some of whom have received settlements in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our years of experience allow us to skillfully negotiate our clients’ claims with the defendant’s insurance carriers, as well as seamlessly assess and coordinate medical care to make certain the full extent of our clients’ injuries are identified, treated, and proved to the insurance carriers.
We understand the tricks, stratagems, and defenses the insurance companies and their attorneys use to defeat or minimize a claim, and at Easton & Easton, LLP, we utilize our experience, skill, and dedication to make certain our clients do not fall victim to the insurance companies’ tricks and stratagems.
Please call our dedicated premises liability lawyers at 800-461-8259 for a free initial consultation. If we do not take your case, there is no charge.