Seek Legal Guidance After a Dog Bite
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million Americans fall victim to dog bites each year, with over 800,000 requiring medical attention. Shockingly, children make up at least half of the dog bite victims and are the most severely injured. According to the National Library of Medicine, the most common site of injury was the face due to the smaller stature of children.
Dog bites lead to injuries, medical expenses, and emotional distress. When facing such situations, seeking legal guidance from a dog bite attorney becomes essential to help victims obtain the compensation they deserve.
To get in touch, just give us a shout at (818) 477-0773, or go ahead and fill out a FREE Case Evaluation form.
Understanding Dog Bite Incidents
What Constitutes a Dog Bite Incident or an Attack?
A dog bite incident occurs when a dog causes injury by biting or attacking a person. It can range from minor scratches to severe wounds that require medical attention. In some cases, dog bites can result in life-altering and permanent injuries, such as
Long-term paralysis due to nerve damage
Traumatic brain injuries
Furthermore, there is a risk of contracting serious infections like rabies, MRSA, hepatitis, and Pasteurella from animal bites. These incidents can also lead to psychological trauma, including PTSD, impacting the victims' mental well-being.
The California statute extends beyond injuries caused solely by dog bites and covers various other types of harm. For instance, it includes injuries resulting from a dog knocking someone over or causing them to fall, as well as situations where a dog pushes an object that subsequently strikes and injures another person. The scope of the statute ensures that different scenarios involving dogs causing harm to individuals are also taken into account under the law.
Common Causes of Dog Attacks
Dog attacks can happen for various reasons, including fear, territorial instincts, protecting their owners, or feeling threatened. Lack of proper training and socialization can also contribute to aggressive behavior in dogs.
Top 10 Dogs Most Likely to Bite
Firstly, despite the claims of kindness and gentleness made by many Pit Bull owners, according to the World Animal Foundation, statistics reveal that Pit Bulls are responsible for the highest number of bites and fatal attacks in the United States. Between 2010 and 2021, they accounted for 64% of all bites and almost 70% of deadly dog attacks.
Dog Bite Fatalities Between 2010-2021
Pit Bulls 69.6%
German Shepherds 4.9%
Mixed Breeds 4.2%
American Bulldog 3.7%
Siberian Husky 3.2%
Larger breed dogs and mixed breeds have the potential to cause significant physical harm due to the sheer force of their bite, measured in PSI (pounds per square inch) or newtons. Large breeds have the potential to bite with a force of 240 PSI to 550 PSI.
The Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
Legal Recourse for Dog Bite Victims
Dog bite victims have legal rights to pursue compensation for their injuries. California's strict liability law holds dog owners responsible for the actions of their pets.
Statute of Limitations for Filing Claims
Act promptly after a dog bite incident, as there is a limited time frame to file a claim. The statute of limitations to initiate a dog bite civil lawsuit is two years. Failing to file the claim within this period may result in the courts refusing to hear your case. Consulting a dog bite attorney as soon as possible is essential to protect your rights.
Proving Liability in Dog Bite Cases
The victim must demonstrate negligence to hold the dog owner liable for the bite. This means showing that the owner failed to exercise reasonable care in controlling the dog or preventing the attack.
Strict Liability in Dog Bite Cases
In California, strict liability applies to dog bite cases. This means that the dog owner can be held responsible for the injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether the owner was negligent or not.
There are some restrictions to filing a dog bite claim. A dog bite victim might not be able to file a dog bite claim if they were:
Committing a felony during the attack
Hurting the dog or another person when they were attacked
Intentionally taunting the dog to attack
Defenses Employed by Dog Owners
Dog owners may use various defenses to mitigate liability, such as claiming provocation or trespassing by the victim. Sometimes the dog owner will attempt to deny ownership of the animal. A skilled dog bite attorney can counter these defenses and fight for the victim's rights.
How a Dog Bite Attorney Can Help
Evaluating Your Case
A competent dog bite attorney will assess the details of your case to determine its strengths and weaknesses. They will guide you on the best course of action to pursue compensation effectively.
Gathering Evidence and Witnesses
Building a strong case requires substantial evidence. A skilled attorney will gather medical records, witness statements, and other relevant documentation to support your claim.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies may offer a low settlement to minimize their costs. An experienced dog bite attorney will handle negotiations on your behalf to secure a fair and just settlement.
Representing You in Court
Your attorney will represent you in court if a fair settlement cannot be reached. They will present your case persuasively and advocate for your rights before the judge and jury.
The Compensation You Deserve
Dog bite victims may be entitled to compensation for current and future medical expenses related to their injuries.
If the injuries prevent the victim from working, they can seek compensation for lost wages and potential reduced earning capacity.
Beyond economic losses, dog bite victims can also pursue compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional distress caused by the incident.
Preventing Dog Bite Incidents
Responsible Dog Ownership
Dog owners play an important role in preventing dog bite incidents by properly training, socializing, and controlling their pets. Raising awareness about dog bite prevention and responsible pet ownership in communities can help reduce the number of incidents.
Dog Bite Injury Attorneys California
Dog bite incidents can have serious consequences for victims, both physically and emotionally. Seeking legal guidance from a qualified dog bite attorney is vital to protect your rights and pursue fair compensation. Acting promptly and gathering strong evidence are key factors in building a successful case.
If you have experienced a dog attack, contact State Law Firm at (818) 477-0773 to connect with our dog bite attorneys for a complimentary, obligation-free consultation. During this discussion, we will assess the details of your incident to determine if you have a valid dog bite claim and guide you on the necessary steps to pursue the maximum compensation you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I file a personal injury claim for a dog bite incident if I was on the owner's property?
Yes, you can. In most cases, dog owners are responsible for ensuring their pets do not cause harm, even on their property. If you were lawfully on the owner's property or had a right to be there (e.g., invited guest, delivery person, postal worker), you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim for the dog bite incident.
What if the dog that bit me has never shown aggression before?
Even if the dog has no history of aggression, the owner may still be held liable for the dog's actions in many states. Strict liability laws dictate that dog owners are responsible for their pets' behavior, regardless of any prior aggressive incidents.
How much compensation can I receive for a dog bite injury?
The amount of compensation you can receive for a dog bite injury depends on various factors, including the extent of your injuries, the impact on your life, and the liability of the dog owner. A personal injury lawyer dog bite specialist will evaluate your case's specifics and help you determine the appropriate amount of compensation to seek.
Can I sue a dog owner if the dog bite was provoked?
In California, if the victim provoked the dog or engaged in behavior that incited the attack, the dog owner may not be held fully liable for the injuries. However, the laws regarding provocation can be complex, and the outcome may depend on the circumstances. Consulting a personal injury lawyer will help you understand how provocation may affect your case.
What if the dog that bit me was a stray without an identifiable owner?
In cases involving stray dogs, liability can be challenging to establish. If the dog has no identifiable owner, seeking compensation may be more complicated. However, there might be other avenues to explore, such as seeking compensation from local authorities or animal control agencies. An experienced personal injury lawyer can guide you through these complexities.
How long will it take to resolve my dog bite injury claim?
The time it takes to resolve a dog bite injury claim can vary significantly based on the specific circumstances of your case, the extent of your injuries, and the complexity of the legal process. Some cases may settle within a few months, while others may take longer, especially if the case goes to court. A personal injury lawyer dog bite expert can provide a more accurate estimate after reviewing the details of your case.
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