Although dogs are supposed to be man’s best friend, they may attack someone if they are fearful or frightened. We will bring to light what could have been done to prevent the attack and help you receive compensation for injuries and medical bills incurred because of a serious dog bite.
A dog attack can be a terrifying experience and may result in not only serious physical injuries but traumatic and emotional wounds as well; especially in children. Handling a dog bite case can be a complex process and should be handled by a skilled and experienced personal injury law firm. Because time is of the essence in dog bite cases, it’s important to deal with the issues surrounding the attack:
- Secure evidence
- Find possible witnesses to the attack
- Establish the animal’s owner
- Identify other responsible parties
- Report the incident to local animal control
- Obtain an incident report
- Request medical records
- Contact insurance companies and establish a claim
Steps to Follow after a Dog Bite Attack
Seek Treatment for the Dog Bite as Soon as Possible
Dog bites pose a serious risk for infection and medical treatment should be administered immediately.
Identify the Dog That Bit You
You and your attorney should determine how the dog’s owner can be located.
Report the Attack
Report the dog bite to the local county animal control agency or the sheriff’s department. Provide information about the dog, including the owner’s name and address. If the dog was a stray, describe the animal’s appearance and the location of the incident.
Have Photos Taken of the Dog Bite Injuries
Take photos of all visible injuries, including wounds and lacerations. Also, take photos of any torn or stained clothing. If possible, take pictures of the dog itself and of the site of the attack. Witnesses may have taken video or photos during the attack. That information can be invaluable to you and your attorney.
Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Gruenberg Law
After a dog attack, you may be facing significant pain, treatments, medical bills, and perhaps pressure from an insurance company to give statements or agree to an early settlement. Your chances of success increase dramatically through effective investigation and representation by a skilled dog bite attorney. Hiring an attorney with knowledge of California dog bite law is necessary to preserve evidence, locate witnesses, and identify responsible parties.
Do Not Give Information to a Third Party or Sign any Document without discussing it with Your Attorney
The information you give a third party may be used against you to defeat or minimize your claim. Also, do not attempt to settle the case yourself. You may have a right to certain types of compensation for damages you may not know exist. The value of your case, for example, may increase as you receive treatments and incur expenses. Dog bites in particular can result in scars that may require surgical procedures. Those treatments can be alleged as damages to increase the value of your claim. In California, effective dog bite lawyers can seek full compensation for all of the damages you are entitled to recover.
Minor’s Settlements in Dog Bite Cases in California
Minors’ settlements must be approved by the court or jurisdiction in the case, under California law. If the dog bite victim is a child, the financial recovery in the case is often placed in a trust account until the child has reached the age of 18. An experienced dog bite attorney can ensure that compensation is properly structured to provide periodic payments to the minor after reaching the legal age.
Strict Liability and California Dog Bite Law
Many states, including California, have enacted laws which hold a dog owner responsible for a dog bite attack even if the dog has never bitten anyone. This is called strict liability. These types of statutes effectively eliminate the “one-free bite” rule because liability is based upon ownership. It is irrelevant whether the dog bit someone previously or whether the owner knew the animal could be vicious. Under this California law, the victim of an attack only needs to show that:
- The dog was owned by the person to be held responsible for the attack
- The attack occurred on public property or while the victim was lawfully on private property
- The victim was injured by an actual bite during the dog attack
- The dog caused the injury
Other Responsible Parties in Dog Bite Attacks
Depending upon the particular facts of the case, there may be other potential parties that can be held responsible in a dog bite case. Identifying all responsible parties is critical to a successful lawsuit, especially if the pet owner is unable to fully compensate the victim. The attorneys at Gruenberg Law will be able to investigate the facts surrounding the attack and determine the parties who may be responsible for the victim’s injuries. The diligence of your attorney will help increase the chances that the dog bite victim will be compensated from all available resources.
Right to Compensation
The attorneys at Gruenberg Law will diligently pursue all types of compensation available to the dog bite victim. The types of compensation that California dog bite lawyers can seek on behalf of the victim may include:
- Medical bills (both present and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Punitive damages
- Ongoing medical treatment
- Changes in everyday habits and overall lifestyle
- Lifetime care and medical costs (for severe cases)
Gruenberg Law Firm can help identify damages from future complications of the injuries sustained in a dog bite attack. Many breeds of dogs can exert tremendous pressure with their jaws. Even where it does not appear initially that the victim sustained serious injuries, a dog bite victim can sustain nerve damage without having the skin broken. This type of injury has the potential to develop into a more serious injury and could require prolonged medical treatment. The attorneys at Gruenberg Law can help assess any possible future damages to protect the rights of the dog bite victim. Contact us today at (619) 230-1234.