California is highest in the nation for dog bites

There can hardly be a more terrifying occurrence than seeing a child or other loved one attacked by a dog. Unfortunately, dog bites happen far too often in California. According to CBS Sacramento, California is the top state in the country for dog bites, although attacks have risen 5 percent across the entire country since 2013.

In California, dog owners can be held liable for negligence or other serious charges resulting from their pet hurting another person. While some states have laws that may give dog owners leniency if the bite is the dog's first attack, this is not the case in California. If a victim had been in an area where he or she was lawfully allowed and was bitten by a dog, the dog's owner can be responsible even if it was the first time the dog ever bit someone.

Dog attacks often caused by certain factors

There are numerous common causes for dog attacks, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These include the following:

  • The predator/prey instinct of a dog - chasing after someone running from it
  • Petting or approaching an unfamiliar dog
  • Disturbing a dog that's caring for puppies, sleeping or eating
  • A dog that feels threatened by a person's body language or staring into its eyes
  • Allowing children to play with dogs without supervision

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, most dog attacks are preventable occurrences and are one of the major causes of nonfatal child injury. The majority of dog bites to children occur in the head and neck areas. In addition to children, elderly people are also vulnerable to dog attacks.

Elderly woman and son attacked by neighbor's dogs

This was illustrated in a tragic incident in October. According to CBS News, four pit bulls in Fresno entered a neighbor's yard and attacked two people at the home. A 77-year-old woman was hospitalized with critical injuries, while her son was killed by the dogs. Authorities trying to subdue the animals shot and killed two of the dogs while they were biting the man, then shot the remaining two while they were attempting to capture them but the dogs attacked.

There was another incident in Southern California in August that involved the owner of dogs that were known to have attacked or shown aggressive behavior numerous times before fatally attacking a woman. The dogs' owner faces second-degree murder charges.

Dog bites can be terrifying and unexpected, and, as shown above, result in traumatic injuries or tragic deaths. If you or a loved one was attacked by someone else's dog, the owners may be held responsible for your medical expenses and other losses. It's important to talk to a personal injury attorney with experience in dog bites to discuss your options.