A 1-year-old boy identified as Kaidyn Sutton suffered severe facial injuries after a dog attacked him in a Riverside County park on November 14, 2014.
According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the incident occurred at Primrose Park in French Valley, an unincorporated area northeast of Murrieta. Kaidyn was with his mother and her friend when a 6-year-old Labrador mix
attacked him. The two women who were near the boy heard his screams. The dog suddenly pounced on the boy and bit him in the face, officials said.
The mother’s friend was able to get the dog away from the boy. The toddler was transported to an area hospital where he is recovering after undergoing two hours of surgery to repair serious facial injuries. The dog has been impounded and a hearing is pending to determine its fate. The incident is under investigation.
Our hearts go out to little Kaidyn and his family. We hope his surgery was successful and that he has a speedy and complete recovery.
Dog Attacks and Children
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Nearly one in five of those who are bitten, about 885,000, require medical attention for dog bite-related injuries. Half of those victims are children. In 2012, more than 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.
Among children, the rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for those ages 5 to 9. Children are more likely than adults to suffer facial injuries because of their height. Also, children are more likely than adults to receive medical attention for dog bites.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the dog suddenly attacked the toddler severely injuring him. It is not clear if the dog was in a leash or with its owner. Also, the attack occurred in a public place, a park.
Under California law, dog owners can be held financially responsible for the injuries and damages caused by their pets, regardless of whether the incident occurred in a public or private property and regardless of whether the dog had prior history of violence of if the owner had knowledge of such behavior.
Injured dog bite victims, even if they are children, have legal rights. They can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of surgeries, psychological counseling, permanent injuries such as scarring or disfigurement, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Injured victims (or their families) would also be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury attorney who has successfully handled dog attack cases on behalf of young victims. The best personal injury law firms will always offer a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation and case assessment to injured victims and their families.