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3-Year-Old Hospitalized After Dog Attack in Ocean Beach

The McClellan Law Firm

A three-year-old girl was taken to the hospital after being bitten in the face by a dog in San Diego's Ocean Beach community on Saturday.

According to a witness account, the girl was walking down the sidewalk when she approached the dog and knelt down in its direction. The dog then lunged and bit her, knocking the girl to the ground. Police, firefighters and animal control responded to the incident, and the owner of the dog was cited. The dog was not taken away.

The girl was taken to Rady Children's Hospital, where she remained on Sunday in stable condition. She is expected to recover.

Dog attacks of any kind can be extremely frightening and can cause serious physical injuries. This is especially true when the victim is a child, which happens all too often in dog bite cases. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and half of these victims are children. Dog bite injuries are most common in children aged 5 to 9 years old. Children are also more likely to require medical attention after a dog attack than adults.

Children may be more prone to dog attacks because they are more likely to act in unpredictable ways, approaching dogs, picking up dog toys or touching their food. Their smaller size makes them easier targets for dogs as well, and often places their faces, heads and necks within easy reach. Children are more likely to be knocked down and suffer subsequent injury even if dogs do not actually bite but simply jump up or run into them.

Liability for a Dog Attack

It is important to remember that dogs are animals, and even the most well-behaved or well-trained dog could attack under certain circumstances. If you have children, do not leave them unattended with a dog (even your own) and take caution if you encounter unfamiliar dogs. Many dog attacks involve animals owned by victims themselves or by family members, neighbors or friends of victims.

When dog attacks do occur, there are steps you can take to seek financial compensation for medical expenses and other losses. In California, dog owners are held strictly liable for injuries their animals inflict upon others. This means a victim does not need to prove negligence or fault on the part of the dog owner to seek financial compensation for medical bills and other injury-related expenses. There are exceptions, however, such as situations where a dog is provoked or if the victim was trespassing or committing a crime at the time of the attack. Strict liability also usually only covers medical expenses associated with the injury, not emotional trauma or other non-economic damages.

Non-economic damages and punitive damages may be sought in a dog bite case if it can be proven that the dog owner acted with gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing, owning or harboring a dangerous dog with a history of attacks or aggressive behavior.

If you would like to discuss a dog bite case with a competent legal professional who can advise you of your rights as they pertain to this specific matter, The McClellan Law Firm may be able to help. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your questions and concerns, and with our knowledge of personal injury law we can provide insight that will help you make informed choices about your case. Dog bite cases should be taken seriously; a San Diego personal injury attorney at our firm may be just who you need to seek justice for your injuries.