Millions of Americans own dogs and consider them to be a part of their families. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are an estimated 89.7 million dogs in the U.S., and 4.5 million bites happen each year. State Farm reports that Californians experience more dog bites than any other state. In 2017, the state accounted for 14% of all of the dog bite claims that State Farm received, resulting in $18.7 million in payments. If you are bitten by a dog, you need to talk to a dog bite lawyer Sunnyvale at the San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys. Our lawyers are experienced with helping people who have been injured in dog attacks and will advocate for you to recover maximum compensation for your losses.
Liability in dog bite claims
The states follow two different methods for determining liability in dog bite cases. While some states follow the one-bite rule, which imposes liability only when the owner knows or should have known that their dogs have violent propensities, California does not. Instead, California has a strict liability statute for dog bites found at Cal. Civ. Code § 3342. Under this statute, a dog’s owner is liable for injuries when his or her dog bites others in public or when the victims are lawfully present on the private property regardless of whether the dog has previously bitten people before. This means that you will not be required to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent when you were bitten.
Liability in an Uber or Lyft Accident
The statute does include an exception for dog bites that occur in some situations involving police and military dogs. If you were bitten by a police dog while an officer was trying to arrest you or when the dog was trying to protect the officer from you, you will not be able to recover compensation for your injuries. The strict liability statute also requires lawful presence when people are bitten while they are visiting the private property. This means that if you trespassed on the property of someone else, you will not be allowed to recover damages in a claim against the owner if a dog attacks you to protect the yard or home.
Insurance companies and dog bites
Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover dog bites, but some policies exclude coverage for certain breeds. If you are bitten by a dog, the insurance company may try to engage in a few tactics to try to reduce the amount that it might have to pay you for your claim. One tactic that insurance companies might use is offering you a settlement soon after your injury. In many cases, these early settlement offers are for unreasonably low amounts. If you accept a settlement offer that is too low, you will not be able to try to recover more money for your injuries later.
Companies also try to get people to sign medical authorizations, and an insurance company representative may tell you that it needs you to sign the authorization so it can get medical records about your injuries. Do not sign a medical authorization from a dog owner’s insurance company. Insurance companies use authorizations to examine the entire medical histories of injured victims to try to find earlier incidents on which they can blame some of the injuries. They do this to try to reduce the amounts of their payouts. You should instead politely tell the insurance company that you want to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer before you will sign anything or make any statements.
Contact a dog bite lawyer Sunnyvale
Working with an experienced dog bite lawyer at the San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys might help you to recover compensation in an amount that fairly compensates you for your losses. Our attorneys represent people in Sunnyvale who have been injured in dog attacks, and we understand how to build strong cases for our clients. Call us today at 408.217.1778 to schedule a free consultation.
Under California law, it is possible to recover financial compensation for past and future pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of income, and punitive damages.