Under California law, a dog owner may be liable for damages if the dog bites another person. While there are exceptions to the strict liability laws for dog bites in California, a dog owner could be responsible for damages even if the dog does not have a history of being aggressive or vicious and has never bitten anyone before this incident. Therefore, victims in dog bite cases can usually recover compensation for their medical bills, lost income, physical injuries, and emotional suffering.
However, some mistakes you make after a dog bite could hurt your chances of recovering full compensation for all claims.
Mistake Number 1: Failing to Report the Injury
If a dog bites you, you need to report the injury to the police and your local animal control agency. In most cases, you need to report the injury within 24 hours of the attack, if you are unable to file a report immediately.
Mistake Number 2: Failing to See a Doctor
You need to see a doctor as soon as possible after a dog bite. Dog bites can cause serious infections, even if the bite does not appear to be deep. In addition to protecting your health, you need to see a doctor to protect your right to recover compensation. A delay in seeking treatment could be used against you by the defense in an injury claim.
Mistake Number 3: Providing Statements to the Insurance Company
If the insurance company for the dog owner or other interested party contacts you, you should refrain from providing a statement until you consult with an attorney. The insurance company is seeking information it can use to deny your claim. Do not fall for this insurance tactic.
Mistake Number 4: Failing to Document Expenses
You are entitled to recover compensation for reasonable expenses related to the injury. However, you must have proof of the expense to include it in your settlement demand. Therefore, you should carefully document all expenses by keeping receipts, invoices, and other proof of the expense.
Mistake Number 5: Discussing Your Case Online
It is usually best not to discuss the dog bite or your injury online. The insurance company could use anything you post against you. If possible, refrain from using social media or posting anything online until you discuss the matter with your Sacramento dog bite attorney.
Mistake Number 6: Failing to Take Pictures of Your Injury
It can be difficult for a jury to imagine the severity of your injury with evidence. You should take pictures of the injury throughout the recovery process to help document the pain and suffering caused by the dog bite.
Mistake Number 7: Accepting a Settlement Without Consulting with a Sacramento Dog Bite Attorney
If the insurance company offers you a settlement, you need to discuss the settlement proposal with an attorney. The insurance company tries to pay as little as possible to settle claims. You may be entitled to additional compensation. It is best to meet with an attorney before accepting any insurance settlement.
Contact a Sacramento Dog Bite Attorney