most dogs are well-managed around people other than their families,
there are some that may not be as friendly. In some cases, a canine
companion may normally be very sweet and well-behaved, but even the
nicest pets can have an off moment and react unexpectedly.
Unfortunately, millions of people get bitten by dogs each year.
Depending on the severity of the bite and the circumstances
surrounding the dog’s status, it might be necessary for an injured
person to receive medical attention that can be very expensive and
California’s Dog Bite Laws
In the state of California, there is strict liability regarding dog bites. This means that if a person’s dog bites another person, they are immediately liable for the individual’s medical expenses and other damages stemming from the bite. While other states have what is known as a “one bite rule,” California does not have this law and instead, the pet owner is automatically responsible and liable for compensating the injured party even if it’s the first time their dog has bitten someone.
In order for a victim to have the right to claim compensation, all they need to do is prove that they were in a public place or in a private place where they had a legal right to visit during the time of the dog bite. A dog bite attorney would explain that the injured party can also know the dog owner or not know them at all.
There is a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim after suffering a dog bite. In California, the injured victim has up to two years from the time of the bite to file their claim with the court. If the individual does not file within that period of time, the court will not hear the case and the person would not be able to recover compensation to cover their medical expenses and other damages.
Steps to Take After Suffering a Dog Bite
It’s important to take certain steps immediately after you have suffered a dog bite. Depending on the situation, there may be adverse effects on your health if you don’t act quickly. Here are a few things you will want to do as soon as possible:
• Seek medical attention: If the dog bite has punctured your skin, it can be very serious and even result in an infection if you don’t seek immediate medical attention. There is also a risk of rabies if the canine was not vaccinated. Before you go to the hospital or see a doctor for treatment, you should snap a few photos of the wound to use as documentation once you consult with a personal injury lawyer.
• Exchange information: Another pressing matter is to exchange information with the dog’s owner. You need to be able to easily contact them at a later date for a variety of reasons. One of them is the dog’s vaccination history. You should get the dog owner’s name, address and contact information.
• Speak to witnesses: Talk to anyone who happens to be around to have seen the incident as it took place. Make sure you get their account of the situation and their names and contact information. If necessary, once you have spoken with a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer, they can contact witnesses for additional information.
• Animal Control: File a report about the incident with your local Animal Control. It can help with investigating the matter in your case and prevent future incidents from happening.
Document the Entire Situation
After you have performed all of the immediate steps after suffering a dog bite, it’s important to do a few more things. Documentation is absolutely essential in any type of personal injury case, so you will have to keep a detailed journal about your injury and how the dog bite has impacted your everyday life. Make sure to mention both physical and emotional or mental effects you have experienced as a result of the experience. You should make note of whether the dog bite you suffered has caused you to experience pain, a decrease in mobility or whether you have had to miss time from work. If you are still able to work after your injury but have had to cut down the number of hours or limit yourself to only certain tasks, make mention of that as well.
You should also write down anything you can remember from the incident itself. What were you doing before you were bitten by the dog? What was the dog doing? What was the dog’s owner doing? Be as detailed as you can when you make your journal entries.
In addition, you will need copies of your medical records and medical bills to go along with your journal. If you have lost wages as a result of your injury, you should also obtain an official letter from your employer stating how you have been unable to work or have had to perform fewer job functions at work. This is vital proof of lost wages, which you should be able to claim as part of your personal injury case. All of this documentation can make it easier to come up with a satisfactory compensation amount for you to be awarded in the settlement of your claim.
Contact a Dog Bite Attorney
Finally, you will have to contact an experienced Los Angeles dog bite lawyer who can represent you in your case. Your attorney will be able to go through the dog owner’s insurance company if you are collecting a settlement through that. They have the training and experience necessary to maneuver negotiating with an insurance company and will not settle for less than what you truly deserve. Your lawyer also knows all the laws in the state regarding dog bite cases.
If you are in California and have suffered a dog bite that left you dealing with injuries, you need a personal injury lawyer on your side. Taking action quickly is the key when you are dealing with a dog bite. Make sure to follow all the necessary steps and speak with an attorney who can help you start your personal injury claim.