Dog bites occur every day, and more than 4.5 million people are injured each year. Of the millions of dog bites that affect people throughout the country, approximately 885,000 require medical attention. Whether you’ve been severely injured or simply experienced emotional trauma as a result of a dog attack, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation for various types of damages. Read along to find out more.
Dog bites can occur at any time and location: in a public park, on someone’s property, or simply while walking down the street. A dog bite doesn’t have to be severe to warrant a lawsuit, and it is important for you to consult with a Riverside dog bite lawyer from Dordulian Law Group as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected. Dog bite incidents frequently result in losses and injuries that can drain your resources, leave you unable to work, or potentially render you disabled. In extreme cases, dog bite attacks can lead to fatalities.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your dog bite, you may seek legal representation by scheduling a free consultation with the Riverside dog attack lawyers at DLG.
In most cases, you may file a civil lawsuit seeking financial damages after a dog bite provided the pet owner, property owner, or agency responsible for the dog was neglectful or guilty of misconduct. Eyewitness accounts, pictures of injuries to corroborate your story, a police report, animal control report, or medical records, can be useful pieces of evidence that should be shared with your attorney.
A personal injury lawyer from Dordulian Law Group will consult with you about the merits of your case and explain how best to proceed.
Dog bite victims can sue for damages because the animal owner is liable under city and state codes. California applies “strict liability” to dog bite cases. Under California law, dog owners are also responsible for taking reasonable steps to “remove the danger of a future attack” if their dog previously bit a human. Owners must always control their animals and prevent bites or attacks, regardless of the dog’s history (or the owner’s knowledge of that history).
One exception to this rule is when a victim unlawfully accesses someone’s property and is attacked by a dog. When trespassing on private property leads to a dog bite, the victim typically does not have legal recourse.
While you are allowed to sue, California uses comparative negligence to determine the damages a dog bite victim is entitled to in the event that he or she is partly responsible for the attack. If you were deemed partly responsible, but your claim resulted in a $500,000 judgment, the state could reduce that number by a percentage correlating to any responsibility you may have had for the attack. This is one reason why it is recommended that dog bite victims always hire a private attorney to handle a claim, as proving fault can be a complex and difficult endeavor.
Working with a Riverside dog bite lawyer at Dordulian Law Group can help prove the absolute truth in your case and ensure you recover any eligible financial damages.
Your health insurance is a wonderful resource designed to keep you healthy throughout the year, but your policy likely does not have the sort of value required after a dog bite, depending on the severity of the attack. Health insurance policies may fall short for a number of reasons, such as:
The at-fault party’s insurance policy may have similar shortfalls. A building owner, pet owner, or government agency can offer a settlement via an insurance policy, but these policies generally do not have the value required to satisfy all the line items in your lawsuit.
Dog bites in California fall under the personal injury law claims deadline. A standard two-year statute of limitations applies for most personal injury lawsuits. You have two years from the date of a dog bite or attack to file a lawsuit for damages against the responsible individual or entity. However, if the dog was owned, trained, or controlled by a government agency, there is a six-month deadline to file a claim. The government agency then has 45 days to respond to your claim.
California courts advise victims that their case is lo longer valid if the statute of limitations expires. Accordingly, it is advisable to meet with a qualified dog bite attorney as soon as possible after sustaining an injury to ensure all deadlines are met and claims are filed in a timely manner.
A dog bite claim functions as a personal injury lawsuit, meaning that your attorney must satisfy four elements of cause to prove liability and recover compensation. You are not responsible for proving your case or collecting evidence, and we advise our clients to only speak to their lawyers about a case.
The four elements include:
According to Section 3342 of the California Civil Code:
“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
The value of a dog bite lawsuit is specific to the circumstances of the incident – severity of injuries sustained, amount of negligence involved, etc. Your medical records and invoices are a good indication of the extent someone has suffered and the debt they have incurred. Every day of missed work equals lost income that may be recovered, and future earning potential may also be impacted due to the magnitude of your injuries.
Allow the DLG dog bite lawyers and investigative team to gather documentation proving your financial losses. As financial losses mount, the value of your lawsuit will likely increase.
Your attorney may seek various noneconomic damages such as:
Share as many details as possible about the attack with your attorney so that they may attach a value to these damages. Punitive damages may also be available if the responsible party was malicious in their intent (i.e. ordering a dog to attack or training a dog to bite on command).
When someone dies after a dog bite, the nature of the lawsuit changes. Your Riverside dog bite lawyer may convert a personal injury lawsuit into a wrongful death lawsuit. When this is the case, you may seek additional damages, such as:
A wrongful death lawsuit, under California law, also has a two-year statute of limitations.
Dog attack injuries are similar to those you may experience in other accidents, but there are injuries unique to dog bites as well. A dog has claws that can break the skin, and an aggressive attack can cause bruising or scratching. If the dog is large enough, it might attack your head and cause a concussion, contusion, or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A viscious dog attack may also knock you to the ground, causing additional bruising or broken bones. A dog bite typically leads to puncture wounds that may include bleeding, bruising around the puncture, and a possible infection. If the dog is not inoculated against rabies, you should be tested as soon as possible, as the disease is fatal to humans when left untreated.
Additional diseases carried by dogs can have a negative impact on the health of humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs may harbor the following dangerous infections:
Dog bite statistics curated by Petpedia shed light on how and why dog bites occur so frequently:
Additionally, around half of American households have a dog, leading to a higher number of dog bites as the population grows. Moreover, abused dogs are more likely to bite due to their learned temperament.
California suffered the most dog bite fatalities in 2019, according to Dogsbite.org. Nine deaths in California were the most on record for the state that year.
Statistics also indicate that over 25% of dog bite victims are under nine years of age. Victims aged 10 to 18 are less likely to be impacted by dog bites, with nearly 70% of victims being adults aged 19 and older. Sadly, improper protocols and community management in nearby Ventura County caused a dog bite fatality in 2019.
“They are fast to respond and very sensitive to your problem. Even though they were not able to take my son’s case they still gave us information on what to do next.”
If you have suffered an injury in a Riverside dog bite attack, it is in your best interest to seek medical care immediately. You should also file a police report and inform your local health officer of the incident. After you have received proper medical attention, be sure to call a Riverside dog bite lawyer from Dordulian Law Group at 951-336-0011 to schedule a free and no obligation consultation. You can also complete a contact form online.
Our team has a combined 40 years of experience, a 98% success rate, and has recovered more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts for injured clients. We’re here to help you recover from your dog bite injury with the dignity and respect you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.
Founded by Sam Dordulian after a career as a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, DLG is an advocate for victims’ rights. Chief Investigator, Moses Castillo, is a retired Los Angeles police officer who spent nearly 30 years investigating traffic accidents, juvenile crimes, and sex crimes. Together, Dordulian and Castillo combine to form California’s best litigator/investigator duo for dog bite victims.
Do not hesitate to seek justice via a civil lawsuit when you are injured by a dog bite. The experienced and dedicated professionals at DLG can help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries or losses.
Our law firm in Riverside, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.