The attack occurred on a summer afternoon in 2014. Our client was playing at a neighbor’s house in Lemoore, when the neighbor’s German shepherd unexpectedly attacked. The dog bit our 6-year-old client on the face, nearly puncturing the boy’s eye. The doctors at Madera Children’s Hospital sewed our client’s wounds closed with 17 sutures. Our client still has small scars on his cheek and chin where the dog’s teeth cut into his face. Our client also experienced serious psychological trauma.
We pursued Mercury Insurance, which was the neighbor’s homeowners insurance carrier. California has a Dog Bite Statute that makes the owner of any dog strictly liable for any damages caused by a dog bite, even if the dog had never bitten anyone before. Civil Code section 3342 says:
"The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness."
The medical bills were less than $7,000, which means that our client is getting a substantial six-figure settlement in his pocket. Because our client is only 8-years-old, we worked with his parents and a financial advisor to invest the settlement funds into an annuity that will continue to make payments even when our client is an adult.