Getting bitten by a dog can be a traumatizing experience with considerable financial, emotional, and physical effects. While that’s the case, a majority of dog bites in America go unreported. As a result, a large number of dog bite victims never get compensation for their injuries. Sadly, even when dog bite attacks are reported, most insurance providers will only offer victims between 10 and 20 percent of the value of damages sustained because they are not represented.
The reason why this happens so often is that most bite victims do not realize they can file a compensation claim. Another reason why victims don’t get adequately compensated for their injuries is that they do not know how to file the necessary documents or prove their case. After all, they lack the skills and leverage a Fullerton dog bite lawyer brings to the table.
To protect your rights as a dog bite victim, you must take action immediately. At Crockett Law Group, we have been helping dog bite victims for years and understand the chaotic nature and aftermath of such attacks. As a personal injury law firm, your safety and health are our primary concerns. That is why when you approach us to handle your case, we will immediately:
- Set up appointments with the top doctors in Fullerton so you receive the treatment you need
- Contact animal control and the police to get reports
- Hire private investigators to speak with witnesses and photograph the scene
- Get in touch with insurance providers to determine their policy limits while notifying them that you’re being represented by a professional trial attorney.
What Should I Do if I Was Bitten by a Dog?
If you’ve been attacked by a neighbor’s, stranger’s, or friend’s guard/pet dog, there are a couple of things you need to do to increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. They include:
Seek Medical Attention
The first thing you need to do immediately after being attacked by a dog is to seek medical attention. Even if you think your injuries aren’t that serious, it is still important that you seek treatment right away since, apart from injuring you, dog bites have the potential to cause diseases. At the same time, getting treatment can help provide the evidence (medical report) you need to build and strengthen your case.
Document the Incident
Another thing you need to do is document the scene where the incident happened by taking short videos or photos that capture essential details of the incident. Also, don’t forget to photos of your injuries as they are essential in proving liability.
File a Report
Another thing you need to do after a dog bite is to notify the owner of the dog about the incident and report the attack to animal control ASAP. This step is crucial as it helps ensure that an official record of the attack is created.
Speak with a Fullerton Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bite claims can be burdensome and complex, especially if you are recovering from an aggressive attack. If you’d like to avoid the stresses of dealing with a negligent dog owner or their insurance provider, then consider hiring the services of an experienced and reputable Fullerton dog bite lawyer and have them help you pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. Call (800) 900-9393 today to find out how we at Crockett Law Group can help you.
Who Do I Report a Dog Bite to in California?
The first person you need to inform about the attack is the dog owner as they need to know that it’s their pet that attacked you. You also need to make sure that you report the incident to your local animal control department and the police, so they can investigate the matter. By doing this, you’ll have essentially filed a formal complaint that your attorney can use to support your claim.
Why Should I Hire a Fullerton Dog Bite Lawyer?
As a dog bite victim, you need to make sure that you consult a dog bite lawyer immediately after an accident if you want to increase your chances of getting maximum compensation for your damages and injuries. Benefits of having a professional dog bite attorney in Fullerton handle your case include:
- You get professionals with the legal knowledge, skills, and experience needed to handle a dog bite lawsuit on your side. As an expert in matters related to dog bite attacks, your attorney will help you understand the laws surrounding dog attacks in California while fighting aggressively to protect your rights and ensure that you recover compensation for your losses.
- You get diligent and bold attorneys that’ll handle all the legal negotiations for you. Your Fullerton dog bite lawyers’ main goal is to ensure that the insurance company handling your claim doesn’t deny your claim or lowball you with their offer.
- With an attorney by your side, you won’t have to worry about your case and trial preparation should negotiations with the insurance company fail. Should it come to that, we are ready to prepare and file a lawsuit and represent you in court. Our attorneys are willing to go to great lengths to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries and damages.
Who’s Responsible for Dog Bite Injuries?
The state of California, like many other states, has in place statutes that hold dog owners liable for dog attacks and bites, even if their pet has never attacked or bitten anyone before. This type of statute is known as strict liability and is typically put in place to eliminate the one-free-bite rule since liability is based on ownership. Under this statute, it is irrelevant whether the owner of the dog knew it would be vicious or whether the dog had previously bitten someone.
Under California dog bite laws, victims only need to prove that:
- The dog belonged to the defendant
- The attack happened while they were lawfully on private property or public property
- They were bitten and consequently suffered an injury(s) during the attack
- The defendant’s dog is responsible for causing their injuries
What Type of Compensation Can I Expect in a Dog Bite Case?
The state of California allows dog bite victims to recover two types of damages: compensatory and punitive damages
Compensatory damages reward victims for their loss and pain and are further broken into two separate categories – economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cover tangible losses like medical expenses, reduced earning capacity, and lost wages. Our dog bite lawyers can help prove your economic damages using medical bills, pay stubs, and receipts amongst other things.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, address intangible losses like disfigurement, emotional distress, humiliation, loss of quality of life, and pain and suffering.
It’s worth noting that California does allow dog bite victims to recover or seek punitive damages in some cases. State laws may permit punitive damages in a case if the victim can demonstrate that the defendant acted with malice, fraud, or oppression.
What Does California Law Say About Dog Bites?
Civil Code 3343 of California statutes imposes very strict liability for bites caused by a dog. According to this law, any person who owns a dog can and will be held liable if their dog bites someone who’s lawfully on private property or in a public space. Unlike in most states, dog owners in California are liable even if they didn’t know their dog was aggressive.
Since several variables come to play with such cases, victims need to keep track of all that happens from the moment they got bit. As a victim, make sure you keep a record of everything you’ve gone through from the day you got attacked including legal and medical records.
Dog Bite Injury Statistics
According to the CDC dog bite injury statistics, around 4.5 million dog bites occur annually in America. Considering that we have a population of approx. 330 million people, that means there’s a 1 in 72 (or 1.36 percent) chance of you getting bitten. And while 80 percent of all dog bites cause no or slight injury, the fact that at least 800,000 of all reported cases require treatment is quite alarming.
Since 2018, over 27,000 people have had to undergo reconstructive surgery due to being bitten by a dog. In these statistics, male victims outnumber their female counterparts by a small margin. Unfortunately, children make up about 60 percent of all dog bite victims. The problem with this is that dog bite injuries in children ten years and younger often are severe or even fatal.
In 2019, According to data from State Farm®, the Insurance Information Institute, and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), California had the highest number of dog bite claims — 2,396 – with the average cost of a claim being $51,000
Are There Time Limits for Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
The one thing people do not think that much about when it comes to lawsuits involving dog bites is the statute of limitations for such cases in California. The limit for filing a dog bite attack claim in the state is 2 years. As such, if you fail to file your claim within this period, you’ll lose your right to file for compensation. If you’ve been bit by a dog, reach out to us at Crockett Law Group for assistance.
Contact Our Fullerton Dog Bite Lawyers Today for Help with Your Dog Bite Personal Injury Claim
The facts surrounding a dog bite attack are essential in determining whether the owner’s conduct was grossly indifferent, reckless, or negligent. They are also essential in determining if your case is worth pursuing. As a dog bite victim, you need to consider hiring the services of a professional and experienced dog bite accident lawyer and have them handle your case for you.
At Crockett Law Group, we’re ready to offer you our expertise, knowledge, and counsel on matters related to dog bite attacks and laws in California. Get in touch with us today for more on how we can help. Call (800) 900-9393 now to schedule a no-obligation meeting with our Fullerton dog bite lawyers and have your case reviewed for free.