Most of the time, being around a dog is a fun and enjoyable experience. However, it is important to keep in mind that any dog at any time can turn on you and bite. You should also be very cautious around dogs that are known to be dangerous and have shown aggressive behavior in the past. Sometimes, even if we are as cautious as possible, dogs can still attack.
If you or your child was attacked by a dog, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries as well as any pain or suffering you went through. The team at Tiemann Law Firm has worked with many injury victims in Sacramento and the surrounding areas in California to get them the financial award they need after suffering a dog bite or attack.
We also know from experience that, oftentimes, the owner of the dog that bit you is a neighbor, friend, or even a family member. Understandably, you may be hesitant to take any kind of legal action if you believe it will harm your relationship. Fortunately, in almost all cases, it is the dog owner’s homeowners insurance policy that will cover your losses – not the dog owners themselves.
At Tiemann Law Firm, our Sacramento personal injury attorneys have worked hard to develop our reputation for providing assertive, effective representation. We’ll stand by your side throughout your case, uphold your rights with the insurance company, and guide you through the legal process.
Contact our Sacramento dog bite injury lawyers today at (916) 999-9000 to begin your free consultation with one of our representatives so we can discuss your case and determine what your next steps should be.
Who Has Legal Responsibility for a Dog Bite Attack
When a dog bites, there are several reasons why they may have attacked. They may feel threatened by you in some way, they may feel they need to protect their owner, or the dog could just be an aggressive animal. Generally, these reasons do not matter in dog bite cases. In California, dog owners are liable for what their animal does and the injuries they may cause, per California Civil Code Section 3342.
Some states follow a “one-bite rule,” which means the owner would be responsible for compensation in the event that their dog attacked someone previously, or they had reason to know their dog was dangerous. However, California does not follow this rule and places strict liability on the dog’s owner.
The owner should have been the one to exercise caution and prevent their animal from biting, particularly if they own any breeds that are known to exhibit a propensity for aggressive behavior, such as a:
- Pit Bull
- German Shepherd
- Siberian Husky
- Chow Chow
- Cane Corso
Note, however, that this applies only in cases where you are legally present on private or public property. If you are trespassing on someone else’s property and their dog attacks you, you will have a much harder time trying to prove your case.
Types of Injuries You May Receive From a Dog Bite Attack
Dog bites can be minor or severe, depending on the breed and type of attack. Types of injuries you may receive from a dog bite attack could include:
- Severe lacerations
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Crushed bones
- Torn muscles
After any type of dog bite, you should seek medical attention immediately and also report your injury to the Sacramento County Department of Animal Care, as they are required to investigate any instances of dog bite attacks.
It is very easy for animal bites to become infected, and that infection can lead to further complications if it is not addressed quickly. Additionally, lacerations should be treated by a professional to minimize the risk of scarring. Dog bites, especially on the face, can leave behind large scars that can disfigure someone or need extra procedures done to treat them. If the dog is unknown to you or the owner has not kept up with vaccinations, you may also have to get rabies shots.
Along with the physical injuries that dog bites can cause, they also may take a mental or emotional toll. For example, if a young child is attacked by a dog, they could end up with a long-lasting fear of dogs or other side effects.
What to Know About Filing for a Dog Bite Claim in California
While the laws in California will help to support your case for compensation, it is still best to have a Sacramento dog bite lawyer on your side. As in any legal scenario, there could be certain loopholes that pop up, and your lawyer will be able to anticipate those and figure out what needs to be done. Without them, you could end up the victim of a loophole and lose your chance at compensation.
After a dog bites you, the dog owner’s homeowners insurance or renters insurance company will likely be responsible for paying out your claim. However, some of these companies can be notoriously difficult to deal with during the negotiation phase. Your lawyer will determine the full extent of compensation you’re due and negotiate skillfully and assertively on your behalf, so you can focus on what is most important – getting better and working toward recovering from the dog bite attack.
In addition to this, your attorney will also make sure they meet all of the deadlines for your case. California has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases, including dog bite attacks. This means that you have only two years from the date of your dog bite to file a lawsuit for compensation in a civil court.
While two years may seem like a good chunk of time, it’s not as long as you think. Prior to filing a lawsuit, your lawyer will need time to negotiate your settlement with the dog owner’s insurance company, and this can be a lengthy process. If the insurance company ultimately fails to offer you a fair settlement, and you wish to take your case to court, you need to do so within two years, or you will likely lose your right to pursue compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bite Claims
Over the years, we have fought for numerous dog bite victims, and we are often asked some of the same questions. We’ve provided answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
If you are attacked by a dog, there are various types of compensation that you will be able to claim, depending on the circumstances of your case. These may include:
- Lost wages: You may need to take time away from work to recover from the dog bite, and that means missing out on your salary or hourly wages.
- Future earnings: Sometimes, dog bite attacks are so severe that they may prevent you from returning to your previous job. If this happens, you may be able to claim an estimate of what your future earnings would have been.
- Wrongful death: In rare cases, a dog bite attack can result in death. If you lose a loved one to a dog attack, then you can claim wrongful death against the owner.
- Medical costs: If you or a loved one is attacked by a dog, there will be medical costs to treat the bite and any lasting effects. Those bills can be added to your claim.
- Pain and suffering: A type of non-economic damages, pain and suffering accounts for the mental and emotional impact that the dog bite attack had on you and your family.
Some states place a cap on how much you can claim for pain and suffering. In California, this only applies to cases of medical malpractice, where there is a cap of $250,000. For other personal injury cases, such as dog bite attacks, there is no cap on non-economic damages.
If your dog, cat, or other animal is the victim of a dog bite, then that can also be something that you add to your claim against the dog owner. Keep a record of their vet bills, take photos of the bite itself, and make sure that you report the bite to the proper authorities.
While it is required to report dog bites, it does not necessarily mean that the dog in question will be immediately impounded. Sacramento County officials will first investigate what happened and decide from there what needs to happen with the dog. Each case is different, so there is no one answer to this question.
Were You Attacked By a Dog in Sacramento, CA? Contact Us
At Tiemann Law Firm, we have won millions of dollars in settlements for our personal injury clients, including those who were victims of dog bite attacks. If you were attacked by a dog in Sacramento or the surrounding areas of California, then you may be entitled to recover damages from the owner for your injuries, pain and suffering, and more.
If you are concerned about legal fees, our team does not collect a dime from you until you have won your case. We offer a free, no-obligation case review with our attorneys. Give us a call now at (916) 999-9000 or contact us online so we can schedule your consultation and get you the information you need to help you with your dog bite claim. We are ready to help you and fight for your rights, so you can obtain the compensation you deserve.