Diane Jansen, a 59-year-old postal worker, died after a brutal dog bite in San Diego. According to a 10News report, Jensen succumbed the evening of March 4, 2012 from complications of a stroke she suffered in the dog attack. Jansen was on her rounds three days earlier and was attacked by the pit bull at a home near the intersection of Carlann Lane and East Washington Avenue in a North County neighborhood of Escondido. The animal, which was not on a leash, was in a residential garage with several children just before it went after Jansen who was there to deliver the mail.
An autopsy showed Jansen suffered a hemorrhagic stroke with contributing factors of cardiovascular disease and dog bites to her legs. Even as emergency workers were treating her at the scene, Jansen’s speech began to slur and she became unresponsive, the medical examiner’s report states. The pit bull was impounded by animal control officers and euthanized. The owners have not been cited since officials determined that no crime had occurred.
I offer my deepest sympathies to the family members and friends of Diane Jansen for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Postal Workers and Dog Attacks
According to the United States Postal Service, Houston topped the list of cities nationwide where the most dog attacks occurred, with 62 letter carriers attacked in 2010. Houston was followed by San Diego and Columbus, Ohio, with 45 dog attacks each and Los Angeles with 44 attacks. Nationwide, in 2010, 5,669 postal workers were injured in dog attacks in more than 1,400 cities. According to a recent report in the Insurance Journal, California leads the nation in the number of dog bite claims. State Farm Insurance recorded 369 dog bite claims and paid out $11.3 million in California in 2010.
Dog Bite Laws and Liability Issues
California has a strict liability statute when it comes to dog bites, which means that dog owners are liable for any injuries or fatalities caused by their pets. California’s Civil Code Section 3342 states: “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.”
In this particular case, the pit bull was off leash. The dog owner here, even if he or she was not cited or charged by the authorities, can be held civilly liable for Jansen’s wrongful death. A victim’s family in such cases can file a wrongful death claim against dog owners seeking compensation for damages such as lost future income and benefits, medical expenses, funeral costs, and loss of love and companionship. The family would be well advised to contact an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.