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3-year-old Boy Injured in Murrieta Dog Attack

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A 3-year-old boy had to get 50 stitches after a dog attacked him when he was with a family member at a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center in Murrieta. According to a KABC news report, the incident, captured on the store’s surveillance video, occurred the morning of December 28, 2013. Police say the child was in the store with an adult family member while his father was shopping nearby at the store in the 24700 block of Madison Avenue. The dog, which was with its owner on a leash near the child, bit the boy in the head when he went to pet the dog.

The father rushed to his son’s aid and spoke with the dog’s owner who apologized and left the area. The child was transported to a local hospital for treatment. He suffered tears to his forehead, jaw, neck and around his right eye, requiring more than 50 stitches. The boy was then transported to Rady’s Children’s Hospital for additional treatment. The dog’s owner has been identified thanks to the surveillance video. The dog has been quarantined. An investigation is ongoing.

Dog Bites and Children

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Almost one in five of those who are bitten require medical attention for the dog bite-related injuries and half of these are children. Among children, the rate of dog bite-related injuries are highest for those ages 5 to 9 years. Children are also more likely than adults to receive medical attention for dog bites.

Dog Bite Laws in California

In such cases, under California’s “strict liability statute,” the dog’s owner can be held liable for the injuries and damages caused by his or her pet. 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.”

Compensation for Dog Bite Victims

Injured victims of a dog bite can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, permanent injuries and disfigurement, cosmetic surgery, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Injured victims or their families would also be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that the dog owner is held liable. In some cases, the owner of the property where the incident took place can also be held liable.

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