Dogs are the most popular type of pet for people in California. There are millions of dog owners in the state, and dog owners need to protect other people from being bitten by their dogs. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. every year. Out of those dog bite incidents, an average of 800,000 people who have been bitten by dogs require medical treatment. If you have suffered injuries from a dog bite attack, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your losses.
If you have suffered dog bite injuries, have heafty medical bills, you need to seek legal advice from a dog bite lawyer in Palo Alto. Do not allow a dog owner to get away with a crime. Contact one of our experienced dog bite lawyers to determine if you have a legal lawsuit against the negligent party. We will aggressively fight for you! Call us today for a free consultation: (408) 335-7966
Strict Liability In Dog Bite Cases
While some states follow a one-bite rule, California has a strict liability approach to dog bites. Under Cal. Civ. Code § 3342, a dog owner is liable for dog bite injuries that are caused to other people when the people are lawfully present in a public or private place. The dog owner does not need to have any prior knowledge of the dog’s propensity to bite. Lawful presence on the property of someone else includes people who are invited by the owner and people who are lawfully present for their jobs, including meter readers and postal workers. People who are bitten while they are trespassing cannot recover damages under the statute. People who are bitten by military or police dogs while the dogs are performing their duties also cannot recover damages.
One important thing to note is that the strict liability statute only covers dog bites. It does not apply to cases in which people are injured by dogs in other types of attacks. For example, if a dog jumps on an elderly person in a public park and causes him or her to fall, the strict liability statute would not apply. Instead, the elderly victim would need to file a lawsuit under a theory of negligence against the dog’s owner.
Types of common injuries from dog bites
Many different dog bite injuries can happen when a dog bites a person. Some of the more common types of injuries from dog bites include the following:
- Puncture wounds
In addition to physical injuries, dog bites may result in emotional trauma. Children who are bitten by dogs may develop a lifelong fear of dogs and anxiety disorders.
Dog bites may also leave people with permanent scars. Dogs commonly bite people in the face, including the cheeks, nose, and lips. These types of dog bites can leave scars that permanently disfigure the victims, resulting in emotional harm. People who are left with extensive scarring might be forced to undergo repeated plastic surgeries to try to remove or reduce their scars.
What Damages Are Available In A Dog Bite Case?
The damages that might be available to you after you have been bitten by a dog will depend on the extent and severity of your dog bite injuries and other losses. Some of the types of damages that might be available include the following:
- Past medical expenses to treat your injuries
- Future medical costs to treat your injuries
- Past and future mental health care costs
- Past wage losses
- Reduction in your future earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Past and future pain and suffering
Why You Should Seek Legal Help?
Most dog bite claims are covered by the dog owners’ homeowners’ insurance policies. The insurance companies engage in various tactics to avoid or reduce their liability. The insurance company might send a fast settlement offer soon after it is notified of your injuries. You should not accept this type of offer without asking an attorney to review it. In most cases, quick settlement offers are for far less than what the claims are worth. If you accept an offer, you will not be able to ask for more money later.
The insurance company might also ask you to sign a medical authorization so that it can verify your injuries. Do not sign an authorization. Insurance companies typically use these documents to gain access to your entire medical record so that they can try to blame the extent of your injuries on a different incident.
Call A Dog Bite Lawyer In Palo Alto Today
If you have been bitten by a dog, you should consult with an experienced dog bite lawyer Palo Alto at the San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys. You can tell the insurance company that you will not discuss what happened or sign anything until you have had the chance to speak to a lawyer. Once you retain an attorney, the insurance company will only be able to talk to your lawyer. Your attorney can handle the negotiations and litigation for you while you concentrate on getting better. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation by calling us at: (408) 335-7966