I Was Bit By a Dog: How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?
Thanks to leash laws at most parks and public areas, the chances of getting bit by someone’s dog are lower than they used to be, but dog bites still happen all the time. In fact, dog attacks account for over a third of homeowner insurance claims each year, with many victims seeking damages through lawsuits. However, these cases are usually complex, and determining your legal rights can be complicated. If you were bit by a dog, a personal injury attorney can help you navigate issues of liability and damages.
What to do if a dog bites you
If you are involved in an animal attack of any kind, you should seek medical attention immediately, even if the injury appears to be minor. Animal bites can result in infection and even death if the animal was diseased.
But before leaving the scene of the attack, gather information about the animal’s owner and any potential witnesses. Be sure to take photos of the dog, the property where the dog is kept, and your injuries.
It’s also important to keep copies of medical reports and medical bills.
Hiring a personal injury attorney is one of the best steps you can take to strengthen your case. At Salmu Law, our personal injury lawyers will assess the information and circumstances of the attack, and consult with experts in the medical, psychiatric, and animal training fields to establish the scope of your case. While most dog-bite lawsuits are settled by insurance, insurance companies can be extremely slippery. A personal injury lawyer can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
Determining owner liability if a dog bites you
While liability statutes vary from state to state, California imposes “strict liability” on the owners of animals who bite or attack others, which means the owner is legally responsible from the moment ownership begins, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before or shown a tendency to bite. Exceptions are if the victim was trespassing or provoking the dog, or if the victim was injured either by an employer’s dog while on the job, or by a client’s dog while performing a paid service on the dog such as grooming.
Possible damages to recover from a dog bite
If your injury is serious, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or property damage. In some cases, you might also be entitled to punitive damages, which are intended to punish the animal’s owner for egregious behavior. In these cases, it must be proven that the owner was beyond negligent, exhibiting reckless or intentional conduct. For example, if a dog owner knew that their dog was dangerous and let the dog run free near a school, a jury could conclude punitive damages are appropriate.
You’ve been through enough. Let Salmu Law Firm San Diego help!
Not all personal injury attorneys specialize in animal attack cases, so it’s important to contact one with extensive knowledge and experience dealing with local animal ordinances and bite laws in order to recover the maximum monetary compensation possible.
You’ve come to the right place. At Salmu Law in San Diego, our personal injury lawyers have helped many clients get justice and accountability from dog owners. We know how to deal with slippery insurance companies so that you get the compensation you’re owed. Call today for a consultation.