Dog bites children: Special circumstances
In most dog bite cases, there are arguments to be made on both sides. Maybe the dog owner acted negligently, but, in some cases, the victim may have provoked the attack in some way. However, in cases in which children are bitten by dogs, there are some special rules that apply in Santa Barbara County that make it a little easier to establish fault.
Under the law, children under the age of five are considered incapable of negligence. The reason for this rule is understandable enough, as young children are prone to misunderstand the risks associated with a given situation. This is particularly true in cases of dog attacks, as children are more likely to approach a dog without recognizing the threatening behavior the animal exhibits. The law and our society do not expect small children to understand the difference between friendly dogs and dangerous ones.
As a result, liability will often rest with the dog’s owner when a child is bitten. In some rare cases where a child is found to have committed a willful act of misconduct resulting in an attack, liability may be extended to the child’s parent or guardian. Even in situations where an adult is responsible for provoking an attack, a child will typically be held blameless.
If your child has been the victim of a dog attack, you may be eligible for compensation to cover medical bills, lost time at work and pain and suffering. It’s important to consult with a San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyer to determine liability based on the specifics of your case.