If a dog bites you, you should seek medical treatment to prevent infections or animal-related illnesses. In California, you can pursue the cost of your medical expenses and other bite-related damages from the animal’s owner. Yet, because this process can get complicated, you may want to partner with a dog bite attorney. They can help you secure full and fair compensation.
Continue reading to learn more about protecting your health and finances following a dog attack. For a comprehensive case review, connect with the personal injury team at KJT Law Group.
Seek Treatment After Being Bitten by a Dog
If you were bitten by a dog, Cleveland Clinic says that you should seek professional medical attention the same day. About half of all dogs carry bacteria in their mouths that can cause severe infections and illnesses. Feral or unvaccinated animals may also carry rabies. Your doctor can assess your risk of infection, prescribe oral or topical antibiotics, and ensure you are up to date on vaccinations that could protect you.
Immediately following a dog attack, thoroughly clean and bandage your wound. Keep these bandages on until you see your doctor. Once you receive treatment, follow your doctor’s orders, keep your wounds and bandages clean, and watch for signs of infection.
California Dog Owners Must Compensate Bite Injury Victims
According to CCP § 3342, dog owners are strictly liable for bite injuries. Under the law, owners must pay for damages from bites occurring on public property or to individuals lawfully on private property (including the animal owner’s property). California law does not require bite victims to prove owner negligence or prior animal viciousness.
There are a few exceptions to dog owner liability. Owners are not financially responsible for bite injuries when someone is trespassing or provoking an animal. Additionally, strict liability only applies to bites. Therefore, if you sustained any other attack-related injury (like scratches), you must prove the owner behaved negligently or knew their dog was dangerous.
A Dog Bite Attorney Can Help You Seek Damages for an Injury
A dog attack attorney with our firm can prove your right to financial compensation. We can pursue the following economic and non-economic damages for a dog bite injury:
- Current and future medical bills, including emergency treatment, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, medications, stitches, reconstructive surgery, and physical therapy
- Lost wages, earnings, and employment benefits if you missed work due to an animal bite
- Lost earning capacity if you suffered a severe dog bite injury resulting in a long-term or permanent disability that interferes with your work capabilities
- Non-economic damages, including compensation for mental pain and suffering, loss of mobility, nerve damage, scarring, disfigurement, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life
- Wrongful death-related damages if your loved one suffered a fatal dog attack
How Long Do You Have to Pursue a Dog Bite Case?
CCP § 335.1 allows two years to file a personal injury or wrongful death case in civil court. You cannot take legal action if you do not file your dog bite lawsuit within this time limit.
You may be able to recover dog bite compensation through an insurance claim. However, you still need to pay attention to the statute of limitations. If it expires, you will lose your leverage over the insurance company, reducing your bargaining power. You could end up with a lowball settlement and no chance to pursue additional damages via a suit.
Should You Hire a Dog Bite Attorney?
You should consider hiring a personal injury attorney to handle your dog bite case if you have a severe injury resulting in significant medical expenses and other damages. A dog bite lawyer with our firm can:
- Handle your case’s details. Dealing with insurance and legal issues while coping with an injury can be daunting. We can manage case-related paperwork, deadlines, communications, and other details so you don’t have to. We will also identify and calculate your damages, so you do not leave money on the table. If necessary, we will collect evidence to establish the dog owner’s liability.
- Negotiate a fair settlement. Dog owners may be strictly liable for damages, but that does not mean getting the money owed to you will be easy. Insurance companies exist to make a profit, and agents will look for reasons to keep settlements low. We will aggressively negotiate for the maximum compensation possible, protect you from pressure to accept less than you deserve, and defend against bad-faith tactics.
- Take legal action. We will pursue your dog bite damages via a personal injury lawsuit if necessary. Our team can take your case all the way to trial to get the damages you deserve.
Contact KJT Law Group About Your Dog Bite Claim
Contact KJT Law Group for a free personal injury consultation. A dog bite attorney with our law firm can handle your case on a contingency-fee basis, meaning our services will cost you nothing upfront or out of pocket. Call (818) 507-8525 to connect with a personal injury lawyer near you today.