Dogs are widely regarded as one of the most compassionate domestic animals. Even the most well-trained and loving dogs can bring harm to others when threatened. Regardless of the dog’s size or breed, its bite can cause puncture wounds on the skin and injuries that can get septic. In California, almost 40% of homes have pets. Surprisingly, there are more than 4.5 million dog attacks reported annually in the United States.
Dog bites can be dangerous in some scenarios, even if you don’t realize it. If the animal hasn’t been immunized, a bite injury can become more infectious. You must first comprehend the ramifications of a dog bite injury before taking legal action against the dog owner. You have the legal right to bring a dog bite claim as a victim of a dog attack because the injuries can inflict both bodily and financial harm. Ensure, to contact a dog bite lawyer if you or any of your family members have been a victim.
Dog Bite Injuries
You may not realize the seriousness of a dog bite until it occurs to you or a family member. To be on the safe side after a dog bite, it’s usually a good idea to seek compensation for your injuries. To protect yourself, get emergency medical attention and consult with a personal injury attorney. Consider contacting Oak Tree Law if you require comprehensive assistance in filing a dog bite claim in order to collect your losses. Our knowledge and experience may be able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
The Risks of Infection From a Dog Bite
If you’ve been bitten by a dog and are wondering if your injuries are severe enough, the answer is almost probably yes. No matter how slight the injuries appear, dog bites can have major medical repercussions. As a result, you may be eligible for monetary compensation. To ensure that you receive the appropriate compensation, you should consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the incident.
Things to Do After a Dog Bite Injury
In most cases, the dog owner will be held liable if you sustain a dog bite injury. But, if you are bitten by a dog, what steps can you take to protect your right to compensation for your injuries? Continue reading to learn more about the critical actions you can take in the aftermath of such situations.
The First Steps to Take After a Dog Bite
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, taking immediate action is essential for your health and any legal proceedings that may follow. Follow these crucial first steps after a dog bite:
It’s crucial to seek medical attention right away, especially for deep puncture wounds or more severe injuries. Some dogs may not be vaccinated against rabies, and such wounds are vulnerable to infection. Before treating your wounds, if possible, take photos to accurately document the extent of the damage.
Like in the aftermath of a car accident, exchanging contact information with the dog’s owner or caretaker is important to easily reach them later and confirm the dog’s vaccination history. Obtain their name, address, and contact details. Additionally, gather information about the dog, such as its breed.
Obtain Witness Information:
Whether you were bitten or your dog bit someone else, it’s important to gather the contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident. If you need to file a lawsuit or an insurance claim, eyewitness accounts can provide a more accurate depiction of what occurred.
Report to Animal Control:
Filing a report with your local animal control agency can help prevent future dog bites. Their investigation into the incident may also aid your case.
How to Document a Dog Bite
Apart from the initial steps mentioned earlier, documenting a dog bite is crucial to taking appropriate action. Firstly, document any injuries resulting from the bite, including visible injuries and their effects, such as pain, reduced mobility, and the inability to perform specific tasks.
Documentation can take various forms, such as photographs, journal entries, medical records, and other written records. Moreover, write down the incident’s events and circumstances as soon as possible while your memory is still fresh, providing as much detail as you can remember.
Since you may need to deal with an insurance company or a lawsuit, it’s advisable to document any communication you have with others, such as witnesses, other parties involved, and the insurance company itself. Additionally, keep records of any expenses incurred due to the dog bite, such as medical bills, lost wages, and travel costs. The more documentation you have, the easier it will be to assess the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Hiring a Dog Bite Lawyer
As dog bites are commonplace, there are lawyers with extensive expertise in handling dog bite claims, settlements, and lawsuits. These attorneys are well-versed in determining a fair compensation amount for a dog bite victim, which may include detailed calculations for lost income and earning potential, pain and suffering, and other expenses. Moreover, they have experience assessing a client’s likelihood of success based on their state’s dog bite laws and the outcomes of similar cases.
A dog bite lawyer can also assist in dealing with the other party’s insurance company and negotiating a settlement. Insurance companies often try to persuade claimants to accept low settlement offers, but a dog bite lawyer is familiar with the tactics used by insurance companies and opposing lawyers. They are equipped with the best arguments and evidence to obtain a fair settlement on behalf of their client.
Recognizing the Severity of Dog Bite Injuries
Infections are commonly caused by germs, bacteria, and other communicable diseases that enter the body through an open wound on the skin. If you sustain injuries from a dog, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately after the incident. If the injuries escalate into any of the following conditions, rush to the nearest hospital:
- Severe damage to body parts
- Unstoppable bleeding
- Damage to muscles, ligaments, and underlying tissues
- Puncture wounds involving deep and shallow injuries
- Broken bones
- Emotional trauma
- Uncontrollable pain that intensifies over time
It’s advisable to take immediate action if the injuries involve any of the above instances. Additionally, seeking legal expertise can help you understand the extent of your damages and assist you in making a claim for the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Strict Liability in Dog Bite Cases
In California, strict liability laws allow an injured party to hold a defendant strictly responsible for their injuries, even if they cannot prove the defendant was negligent or careless in their actions. Strict liability only requires proof that the defendant engaged in the activity that caused the injury.
For example, if you are bitten by someone else’s dog and sustain injuries, you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim against the dog owner based on strict liability. In dog bite cases, strict liability applies, and the owner is typically held responsible for the injuries, even if they acted carefully or restrained the dog on a leash.
When Are Dog Owners Responsible for a Dog Bite in California?
In California, dog owners can be held responsible for any dog bites that occur in public places or on private property where the victim was lawfully present. This responsibility extends to bites that occur at the owner’s home if the victim had permission to be there. A person is considered to be lawfully present on private property if they are performing duties required by California or federal laws, or if they are invited by the owner, either expressly or implicitly.
Unlike other states that apply “one-bite” rules or hold owners accountable only if they had reason to suspect the dog would bite, California imposes strict liability rules on dog owners. This means that the owner is responsible for any dog bites, regardless of whether the dog has a history of aggression or if the owner had reason to believe the dog would bite.
Are California Dog Owners Responsible for Bites to Trespassers?
In California, dog owners are usually not held strictly liable for bites to trespassers, as they are not lawfully on the property. However, in certain situations, a trespasser may be able to recover compensation for injuries caused by a dog if they can prove that the owner was negligent. Nevertheless, the chances of success in such a case are low.
When Are Dog Owners Responsible for Other Injuries?
In addition to bites, dog owners may be held accountable for injuries caused by their dog even if the dog did not bite. For instance, if a dog chases a bicyclist and causes an accident, the owner may be liable for any resulting injuries.
However, unlike dog bite incidents, strict liability laws do not automatically apply to other incidents involving dogs. In these cases, the victim would typically need to prove that the owner was negligent and that their negligence directly caused the incident.
What are the Defenses to Dog Bite Lawsuits in California?
There are several defenses available to California dog owners facing a dog bite lawsuit. If an owner can successfully prove any of these defenses, they may not be held liable for the bite incident and resulting losses.
One common defense is to prove that the victim was trespassing on the owner’s property at the time of the bite. Another defense is to demonstrate that the victim provoked the dog and was either fully or partly responsible for the incident.
What are the Compensation for Dog Bites Under California Dog Bite Law?
Victims of dog bite accidents in California are eligible to receive compensation for economic damages and certain non-financial losses, which may include:
- Medical expenses resulting from the dog bite, such as reconstructive surgery, hospitalization, and psychological counseling if necessary
- Lost wages if the victim is unable to work due to the injuries sustained from the dog bite or if their ability to earn income is reduced
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disfigurement or scarring
- Reduced quality of life
Generally, the dog owner’s homeowners’ or renters’ liability insurance pays for the damages incurred. Victims can recover compensation through a settlement with the insurer or by filing a lawsuit in court. A knowledgeable California dog bite accident attorney can help victims understand the types of damages available and provide guidance in seeking the full amount of compensation that they are entitled to and allowed by California dog bite law.
Explore Your Legal Options With Oak Tree Law
Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you explore your legal options after a dog bite. While knowing the state laws and types of compensation available is crucial, it can be challenging to navigate these complex legal matters on your own. An attorney can provide guidance and help you achieve a fair settlement or successful personal injury lawsuit.
Our firm, Oak Tree Law can advocate for your fair compensation, including lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering resulting from the incident. To begin working on your claim and obtain the legal advice you need, it’s crucial to speak with a highly-qualified personal injury attorney in Orange County from our team as soon as possible.
Our experienced attorneys can help with:
- Send investigators to collect evidence
- Hire the experts needed to prove your case
- Stand up to aggressive insurance companies
- Cover your upfront costs
- Answer all your legal questions, and much more
Schedule a free consultation with us today. We’ll answer any questions you have and determine the merit of your case. Our team of legal professionals is on standby, ready to commence work on your case. You can reach us at (888) 791-9510 or complete our complimentary online legal consultation located on our official website.
Rest assured, you won’t be required to pay us a dime until we win your case. If we are unable to secure compensation for your injuries, you won’t owe us any fees. We’ve upheld this promise for more than 15 years. Our motto is simple: No win, no fee.