Dog bites may have a more harmful effect on senior citizens than on younger adults. The human body becomes more fragile as it ages, so what might be a minor injury to a young person could be severe or even fatal to an older one. It is therefore vital for you to understand your legal rights after suffering a dog bite injury.
A dog bite lawyer can explain your rights and responsibilities. Then, they can meet with the liable party to pursue the money you deserve.
Senior Citizens and Dog Bites: What You Need to Know
If you or someone you love was bitten by a dog, there is no time to lose. According to Mayo Clinic, you should see a doctor immediately if:
- There is significant pain or bleeding.
- The skin has been torn or damaged significantly.
- You have any doubts about the wound’s severity or your ability to properly care for the wound.
Prompt medical care is your best protection against infection. As you age, your immune system gets slower and less effective, so even a small dog bite could lead to life-threatening complications.
Legal Protection for Seniors Bitten by Dogs
Once you have seen to your health, you can turn your focus to your legal protection and rights. The rights of senior citizens who suffer dog bites include:
- The right to hire the personal injury lawyer of their choice
- The right to file a claim with the liable party’s insurer
- The right to file a lawsuit if the claim is denied or not responded to appropriately
Legal Recourse for Seniors Bitten by Dogs
Anyone who was bitten by a dog through no fault of their own has the right to seek compensation from the dog’s owner. Personal injury attorneys protect the rights of elderly victims by:
- Investigating the case and determining the best possible route for seeking financial recovery
- Speaking to the dog’s owner and their insurance company in your place and relaying messages between the two sides
- Advising the victim on important matters like what to say (or not to say) to others about their bite claim
- Evaluating possible settlement offers
How Long Do Dog Bite Cases Take?
Senior citizen injury claims typically involve a great deal of work, as you can see by the above list of required legal tasks. Completing these tasks takes time. Your case might be further delayed if you have trouble locating the dog’s owner or if the owner does not cooperate with your claim. On the other hand, matters could be relatively straightforward if you have compelling evidence.
No matter how long your personal injury case takes, your dog bite attorney can be there for you from beginning to end. This can take a huge weight off your mind, as you would be free to concentrate on seeking medical care and spending time with family.
When Should Senior Citizens File Dog Bite Cases?
That depends on where the bite incident occurred. Each state has its own filing deadline, which is typically a few years. As an example, California’s law, found at CCP § 335.1, gives prospective plaintiffs two years to file their civil lawsuits.
A good way to protect your rights is by seeking legal help as soon as possible. That way, you do not run out of time to file a lawsuit before you even get started.
What Happens When a Dog Inflicts Fatal Injuries?
There are, tragically, too many cases where a senior citizen passes away from a dog bite. Even if you seek immediate medical care, a particularly vicious bite on a disabled or frail victim could mean that your loved one succumbs to their injuries regardless.
In such cases, the deceased’s surviving relatives have the right to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Such a legal action could entitle survivors to money for:
- Any financial losses or physical injuries the deceased did not get the chance to receive compensation for
- The loss of the deceased’s companionship, guidance, comfort, and presence
- Funeral costs and other end-of-life expenses
Dog Bite Laws for Seniors
Not all states have dog bite laws that specifically mention senior citizens or liability for dog attacks on the elderly. Instead, the state’s general dog bite laws apply equally to all adults, regardless of age.
As an example, here are some of the dog bite laws currently on the books in California:
- Under PEN § 398, any dog owner who knows that their animal bit someone must provide the victim or their caretaker with all pertinent information. This includes their contact information, and their dog’s license tag number and rabies vaccine status.
- Under CIV § 3342, a dog’s owner is almost always liable for physical injuries the animal inflicts. The only exceptions are in cases where the bite victim was trespassing on the owner’s property and where the victim was bitten by a police dog doing its job.
- Under FAC § 31641-2, the owner of a “potentially vicious dog” has extra responsibilities that other pet owners do not, including paying additional fees and keeping the dog appropriately restrained by leashes and fences.
Which Dog Bite Laws Apply to Your Case?
Not every dog bite law will be relevant to your situation. For example, if the dog that bit you has never attacked anyone before, it would not be classified as vicious or potentially vicious, so the owner would not have had any obligation to take special precautions.
To get the compensation you know you deserve, you can have your lawyer collect evidence of both the dog owner’s liability and of the injuries inflicted by their carelessness.
Learn About Your Legal Rights After a Dog Bite Today
KJT Law Group is here to help senior citizens with dog bite cases by providing legal protection, informing them of their rights, and fighting hard for fair compensation. To get started, dial (818) 507-8525 and ask for a free case evaluation today. We will charge you no attorney’s fees unless you get compensation.