Rancho Bernardo Dog Bite & Attack Injury Lawyers
If you were injured by a dog bite or dog attack, our experienced injury attorneys will fight for you and the compensation you deserve.
Dogs are unpredictable. A dog can bite or attack someone at any time, even if the dog is trained and well-behaved for its owner. A dog bite can cause minor to severe injuries. Dog attacks often cause the victim to fall and hit their head, or to land awkwardly on their hands and wrists. Dog bites often cause puncture wounds, which can lead to infection or nerve damage, and lacerations that form scars after healing. A dog bite or attack can cause the victim to incur damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Dog bites and attacks can be traumatic experiences, especially when the attack results in a catastrophic injury. In the most recent annual study of dog bite data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 4.7 million dog bites occurred in the U.S., and more than 800,000 people received medical attention for dog bites. The most severely wounded victims are children and adults over the age of 65. The emotional trauma of an attack can lead to cognitive disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder.
For example, a child that was attacked by a dog can develop a strong fear of dogs for the rest of his or her life. A young woman who suffers facial scarring from a dog bite may be scared to be seen in public or enter into a romantic relationship out of fear of rejection. An elderly man who was bit by his neighbor’s dog may not go outside of his home out of fear of another attack.
Dog Bite Cases Can be Challenging, Get Help from an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney
You may have a claim for personal injury following a dog bite or dog attack. Under California law, dog owners are liable for the damages caused by their dog biting or attacking someone. If you or a family member have been injured by a dog, seek the legal support of a knowledgeable Rancho Bernardo dog bite lawyer who can advocate on your behalf.
Dog bite cases can be challenging when the dog owner cannot be identified or cannot afford to pay for the damages to the victim. Dog owners also hate to admit fault and often claim the victim provoked or scared their dog to cause the attack. An injury attorney who has handled dog bite cases knows what it takes to prove liability and obtain fair compensation. Consider getting qualified legal support from the Rancho Bernardo law firm of Savage Law by scheduling your free consultation today.
California’s Dog Bite Law
California imposes “strict liability” law on owners of dogs who have bitten someone. Under California Civil Code §3342, dog owners are automatically liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by their dog. To be compensated for damages, the dog bite victim must have been in a public place, or lawfully in a private place, at the time of the bite. The bite can take place on the dog owner’s property as long as the victim was legally allowed to be there.
Under California’s dog bite statute, the bite victim does not have to prove that the dog owner was negligent in causing the attack. In other words, the victim does not have to show that the dog owner knew the dog would bite someone. The dog owner is responsible regardless of the former viciousness of the dog, or the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s viciousness. A dog owner is liable for your damages even if their dog never bit anyone before, or if the owner didn’t know if the dog had bitten someone before.
Dog Attack Cases Involving Non-Bite Injuries
California’s dog bite statute applies only to dog bite cases. It does not apply to incidents of dog attacks, such as being knocked down or mauled by a dog. Dog attacks commonly cause the victim to fall and hit their head or other body parts on the ground. Acute trauma to the head or body can result in severe to catastrophic injuries to the victim. People who suffer injuries due to a dog attack can seek compensation based on a claim that the dog owner was negligent.
A dog injury claim based on negligence requires the injured victim to show that the dog owner did not use reasonable care to prevent the injury. The victim must show that the owner’s failure to use reasonable care caused the injury to occur. For example, a dog escapes from its backyard and jumps on an unsuspecting woman. The force of the dog’s weight and momentum causes the woman to fall and break her wrist. The woman could assert that the dog owner failed to take reasonable care to prevent the dog from escaping the backyard, and that the owner’s lack of reasonable care caused the victim to be attacked and suffer a broken wrist.
Common Injuries Following a Dog Bite or Dog Attack
It is crucial to understand the extent of a dog bite victim’s injuries. Therefore, it is extremely important to obtain medical attention immediately after being bit or attacked by a dog. A timely diagnosis of injuries will help the victim receive the appropriate medical treatment without delay, including medication to prevent contracting rabies or infection of wounds. Receiving medical treatment will also help the victim establish his or her damages to pursue financial compensation through a personal injury claim.
Although every dog bite case is different, most cases involve the following injuries: Head injuries and traumatic brain injury; Tendon and ligament tears; Bone fractures; Nerve damage; Puncture wounds; Lacerations and abrasions; Skin irritations and infections; Scars and disfigurement; and/or Emotional trauma.
Who will Pay for The Damages in a Dog Bite or Dog Attack Case?
Oftentimes, dog owners do not have enough financial assets to personally compensate dog bite victims. The dog owner could also be a friend or a neighbor that you may not want to go after for your damages. There may be other options for compensation to pay for your damages, depending on the facts of your case. Other sources of compensation include:
- Homeowner’s Insurance – In most cases, homeowner’s insurance and renter’s insurance will cover damages from a dog bite or attack. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 2,396 dog bite insurance claims filed in California in 2019, the most for any state in the country. The average cost per claim paid by the insurance company was $51,265. The total value of insurance claims paid out in California in 2019 was approximately $122,800,000.
- Business Insurance – If a dog bite or attack happened on a business property, such as a dog-friendly restaurant or store, the business or property owner may have insurance that will pay for damages. The victim will have to show that the business was negligent by failing to provide reasonable care to prevent the dog attack, which caused the victim to be attacked and injured.
- Animal Insurance – The dog owner may have an insurance policy specifically for their dog, which covers damages for dog bites and attacks.
What to do Following a Dog Bite or Dog Attack
- Report the attack by calling 911;
- Get the name and telephone number of the dog owner and witnesses;
- Seek medical treatment;
- Take photographs of your injuries.
Deadline for Filing a Dog Bite or Dog Attack Case in California
California has a statute of limitations for dog bite cases, which is a written law that establishes a deadline for filing a claim. Under California Code of Civil Procedure §335.1, a dog bite victim has two years from the date of the bite to file a personal injury claim.
Obtain Compensation After a Dog Bite with the Help of a Skilled Attorney
If you recently suffered a dog bite injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Dog bite injuries can have long term consequences, including severe physical injuries and emotional distress. Obtain the support of a dog bite lawyer in Rancho Bernardo, CA who can conduct a thorough investigation and negotiate to obtain a favorable settlement amount without having to file a lawsuit in court.
Savage Law is dedicated to helping injured victims obtain monetary compensation for their past and future damages. The injury attorneys at Savage Law understand the legal process and tactics used by dog owners and their insurance companies to downplay an attack or injuries. Savage Law has skilled attorneys who know how to obtain the full value of your case. Speak to a seasoned Rancho Bernardo dog bite attorney at Savage Law who can help you in the investigation process and relentlessly fight for maximum compensation. Consider scheduling a no-cost consultation with our law firm today.