For most people, pets are part of the family. That’s why they shower their furry friends with love, care, and companionship. However, not everyone will show the same kind of affection and devotion to their pets. Some people actually neglect their pets, or even abuse them, which could lead to aggression. Other animals will act aggressively no matter their training or upbringing.
Fortunately, California law provides some recourse to the victims of dangerous animal attacks. If you or a loved one recently sustained an injury or a bite from an animal in California, the Victorville dog bite lawyers at the Crockett Law Group can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
What Should I Do if I Was Bitten by a Dog?
Knowing the actions to take after a dog bite can be critical to your health, as well as any legal action you might need to take. The following are some of the important steps to take after a dog bite:
Get Immediate Medical Care
This is especially important for any deep wounds and serious injuries. Note that certain dogs aren’t vaccinated against diseases such as rabies, and any open wounds will likely be prone to infection.
Document Your Injury
If possible, take photos or videos of your wounds before treatment to document the extent of harm done. Keep copies of your medical records and bills for any treatment.
While at the scene of the attack, try to exchange contact information with the dog’s owner or the caretaker so that you can easily contact them afterward. The information to exchange includes the person’s name, phone number, and address. Be sure to also note down details about the dog, such as its breed.
Get the Contact Deals of Any Witnesses
Be sure to also get contact information about anyone who witnessed the incident. In case there is a need for an insurance claim or a lawsuit, eyewitness accounts will be crucial in providing an accurate picture of what happened.
Notify Animal Control
It’s also wise to file a report with your local animal control agency, as it will help prevent future dog bites. Their investigation may also help your case.
Contact a Dog Bite lawyer
Proving liability in your dog bite case and securing compensation will largely depend on the experience and skill of your dog bite lawyer. At the Crockett Law Group, you can be certain that your case is being handled by a professional from start to end. We take extensive measures to ensure the evidence is collected and preserved, and all the facts of your dog bite claim can be proven.
Who Do I Report a Dog Bite to in Victorville, California?
While it’s not required to report a dog bite, it’s generally in your best interest for evidential purposes. We advise our clients to notify their local animal control office or the police following an animal attack.
Once you receive medical care, make sure that you report the bite to the proper agency. Check with the local Animal Control office in Victorville for instructions on filing a report. You might also be asked to report the dog bite to the local health department and the police department. In case the dog can be identified, check with the vet records to verify if the dog is up to date with its rabies shots. If they aren’t current, it might be a stray dog and you may have to get rabies shots.
Why Should I Hire a Victorville Dog Bite Lawyer?
The following are some of the main reasons why you should hire a Victorville dog bite lawyer:
Knowledge of California Dog Bite Laws
If you suffered a dog bite that resulted in severe injury, a lawyer will be your best bet when it comes to initiating a claim against the pet owner to seek compensation for your damages. This is because a dog bite lawyer is well experienced with the local dog bite laws, and this should help increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
Dog bite lawyers have the experience to negotiate with the dog owner and the insurance companies. If the dog owner or the insurance company offers you a low-ball offer, it doesn’t mean that you have to accept it. A lawyer will be able to review the offer and ensure they convey the seriousness of the incident to convince the insurance company to raise the settlement offer to a more reasonable level.
Since dog bite lawyers handle these kinds of cases quite often, they tend to have successful cases. So, when your attorney initiates the claim, they will know exactly what they are doing and how they can deliver the highest compensation amount available for your case.
Access to Resources
A dog bite lawyer will have superior access to resources through a team that will contribute to your case. They will have team members to help with investigating your case and collecting evidence to establish liability on the dog owner’s side.
A Personal Advocate
Your attorney will serve as your own personal advocate and will be by your side until the case is complete. They will fight for your rights and justice on your behalf and ensure you receive the maximum compensation amount you’re eligible for.
Who Is Responsible for Dog Bite Injuries?
For most cases, the dog’s owner is held responsible for any injuries or damages that their dog causes, in accordance with section 3342 of the California Civil Code. This is considered a “strict liability” statute, and it holds true so long as the victim:
- Was in a public place
- Was lawfully on a private space or property
- Was legally on the dog owner’s property
In such situations, the dog’s owner is held responsible, even if the dog had never shown any signs of aggression in the past or been vicious to other people or animals.
Since this is a strict liability statute, the victim doesn’t have to prove that the dog owner was negligent, and it won’t matter if the dog owner took measures to prevent their pet from attacking. Even in situations where the dog was on a leash or behind a gate, the owner is held responsible if the dog bites or attacks a victim.
What Type of Compensation Can I Expect in a Dog Bite Case?
While the compensation you receive in the end will largely depend on the details surrounding your case, successful plaintiffs can expect anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 in damages for their injuries. This will be meant to cover damages like:
This includes ER and ambulance costs, treatment costs, prescriptions, transport costs to and from healthcare facilities, and any other medical costs related to the dog bite.
A serious dog bite injury could restrict your ability to perform certain tasks, and have you spend time away from work. You can pursue damages for lost wages if the injury limits your ability to earn a full paycheck.
Pain and Suffering
Some dog bites can result in major emotional trauma that could last years into the future. This might make it difficult to do the things you enjoy doing, leading to anxiety and depression. Fortunately, you can seek compensation for your suffering.
If the dog attack left you disabled in one way or another, you may be able to receive disability benefits as part of your settlement.
What Does California Law Say About Dog Bites?
As mentioned earlier, California has a “strict liability rule” when it comes to dog bites. This makes pets owners legally responsible for injuries in most cases. The law considers the pet owners responsible for the actions of their pets, even if there was no reason to believe the pet was dangerous.
However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. To receive compensation, the victim has to show they were in a public location or lawfully in the location where the dog bit or attacked them. You cannot hold the owner liable if you were trespassing or committing a crime on another person’s property.
Statistics of Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites are more common in California than most other states, and the state leads the nation in the number of reported injuries. To put it into perspective, 2,396 dog bites were reported in California in 2019, which is the largest number in the U.S. The number represented an increase from the 2,166-figure reported in 2018.
California also has the highest number of dog bite-related fatalities, with 82% of them being caused by pit bull attacks.
Are There Time Limits for Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
In California, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in dog bite cases is 2 years from the time of the incident. If you don’t file a lawsuit within this time, you lose your right to file the lawsuit in the future.
Consult a Victorville Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one sustained injury from a dog bite or an animal attack, you have legal options under California law. Reach out to the experienced dog bite lawyers at the Crockett Law Group to learn more about your legal options.
We can help you hold the responsible parties responsible, effectively handle communications with the insurance companies, and help you recover compensation for your damages. Call us today at (800) 900-9393 for a free consultation.