Brothers Richard Garritson, 21, and John Garritson, 18, were severely injured in a San Diego dog bite incident after they were attacked by a pack of dogs, the evening of November 27, 2011. According to a news report in The San Diego Union-Tribune, the brutal dog attack occurred when the brothers were out for a run with their two sisters and 9-year-old niece. The incident occurred on Cobb Lane near Coolwater Ranch Lane. Richard Garritson was airlifted to a hospital with bites to both his calves, while his brother, John Garritson, was hospitalized with less serious injuries. Officials say the brothers were trying to fend off six dogs that attacked them. An investigation is ongoing.
My heart goes out to both these men who have been mauled in this dog attack. Apparently, Richard Garritson is a competitive runner who was training to win a scholarship to Cal State San Marcos. Tragic! I pray for both the victims’ speedy and complete recovery.
Dog Bite Statistics
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 victims or about 885,000 victims need medical attention for dog bite-related injuries. In 2006, more than 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of dog attacks.
California Dog Bite Law
Based on this news report, it is not clear who owned the dogs that got loose and attacked these young people. I trust officials will be able to locate the dog owner or dog owners who allowed the dogs to run loose in the neighborhood. Under California law, dog owners can be held liable for injuries and damages 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.”
Protecting Victims’ Rights
In such cases, injured victims would be well advised to contact an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that the negligent dog owners are held liable. Victims can seek compensation to cover damages including medical expenses, loss of wages, cost of hospitalization, reconstructive surgery, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Often, compensation may be available to the victims through the dog owner’s home insurance policy.