When a vicious dog bites an adult person or a child, it can cause severe injuries that may require ongoing medical treatment. A dog attack victim may also suffer puncture wounds to their skin, scarring, and other injuries that affect them for the rest of their lives.
If you suffered injuries in a recent dog bite incident, you can take legal action against the dog’s owner or their insurance company.
The knowledgeable California dog bite lawyers at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos can review your circumstances and determine your eligibility for filing a dog bite claim or lawsuit. We can help assemble your claim documents, negotiate with insurance company representatives, or litigate your case in court.
Our team will do everything possible to help maximize the monetary compensation you recover as part of your claim or lawsuit. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a California dog bite lawyer, please contact us online to learn more.
- Why Choose Us to Handle Your Legal Needs?
- How Much Money Is My California Dog Bite Case Worth?
- Where Do Dog Bites Frequently Happen?
- California Dog Bite Laws
- Injuries that Dog Bites May Cause
- Fighting the Insurance Company After a California Dog Bite
- Steps to Take Following a Dog Bite or Dog Attack Incident
- Speak to a California Dog Bite Attorney Right Away
- Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP
How Much Money Is My California Dog Bite Case Worth?
It is no secret that victims of dog bites and attacks frequently suffer debilitating and permanent injuries. The monetary compensation that a dog bite victim may be eligible to recover for their losses will depend upon various case-specific circumstances, including the type of injuries they suffered in their incident, their medical treatment, and the cost.
In general, the more serious a bite victim's injuries and the more costly their overall medical treatment, the higher the amount of monetary compensation they can successfully recover in their case.
The primary goal of a monetary damage award in a dog bite claim or lawsuit is to make the bite victim whole again, as much as possible.
First, dog bite victims can recover compensation for their medical treatment expenses, including the costs associated with surgeries and other medical procedures, doctor visits, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
Additionally, if the dog bite victim’s injuries prevented them from working for some time after their accident, they may be eligible for lost income compensation. If the bite victim sustains such severe injuries that they cannot return to their former employment and had to take a pay cut when they switched jobs, they might pursue damages for loss of earning capacity.
In addition to economic damages following a dog bite injury, victims can pursue compensation for their intangible losses, such as inconvenience, mental distress, pain, and suffering. The bite victim can also recover compensation for humiliation and embarrassment stemming from visible scarring on their body.
Our experienced team of California dog bite attorneys can review your circumstances with you and determine which of these damages you can recover in your case. We can also provide you with a rough estimate for the likely settlement or verdict value of your dog bite case, given the circumstances of the incident and the physical injuries you suffered.
Where Do Dog Bites Frequently Happen?
A dog bite or attack incident may occur anywhere a dog is present with one or more people. However, these incidents are common in residential areas – especially where a dog breaks free from their owner's leash or the owner allows the dog to roam the neighborhood unsupervised.
Dog attack incidents may also occur at dog parks and other public areas where individuals routinely walk their dogs. Whether you are walking to your car or are out for a run, you can be surprised by a dog at any time.
While many dogs are friendly, it only takes a second for an animal to become aggressive, protective, or defensive. They can react to strangers in unexpected ways, and a dog might attack you, even if it has no history of such aggressive behavior in the past.
Dog bite injuries often require medical care and can have lasting effects. If you suffered injuries in a dog bite or attack in one of these locations, our team can investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and pursue monetary compensation from the dog owner's insurance company.
California Dog Bite Laws
When it comes to dog bites, the state of California uses strict liability laws. Therefore, a dog owner may be responsible for the injuries and damages that their dog causes while the dog is lawfully present in a private place – or a public area. This is true even if the dog never bit anyone previously or showed any vicious propensities in the past. It is also true regardless of the dog owner's prior knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of the dog's vicious propensities.
In cases where a dog attacks a person and causes them to suffer injuries – but where the dog does not actually bite the person – the victim may be eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit grounded in negligence.
To recover monetary compensation in a negligence case, the dog attack victim has the sole legal burden of proof. On the other hand, the dog owner does not need to prove anything in the case or satisfy any legal burden of proof.
Instead, the dog attack victim will need to establish that:
- That the dog owner owed them a duty of reasonable care
- That the dog owner violated their duty of reasonable care, such as by failing to restrain their dog in the proper manner or by allowing their dog to run at large
- The dog attack incident occurred as a direct result of this duty-of-care violation.
- They suffered at least one physical injury as a direct and proximate result of the dog attack incident.
Our legal team can help determine whether strict liability or negligence law in California applies to the facts and circumstances of your case. We can then seek the total monetary compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Injuries that Dog Bites May Cause
When a dog bites a person, serious and potentially permanent injuries may result. Young children and elderly individuals are especially susceptible to dog bites and attacks. However, a dog can bite anyone anytime, anywhere.
Some of the most common injuries that dangerous dogs may cause to human beings include:
- Puncture wounds
- Deep gashes and lacerations
- Teeth marks on the bite victim's skin
- Visible scarring on the bite victim's body
The victim might also be susceptible to severe illnesses if the dog did not have the proper shots.
In addition to these injuries, dangerous dogs may cause additional complications besides bite wounds. These complications are especially prevalent if the dog physically attacks the victim and knocks them to the ground. In some circumstances, a dog owner may also be responsible for these injuries and damages.
Some of the most common injuries that can result from a dog attack include:
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
If you suffered one or more of these injuries in a dog attack incident, you need a skilled California dog bite lawyer in your corner. Our legal team can begin preparing a claim on your behalf while you focus on attending medical appointments and getting the treatment you need for your injuries.
Fighting the Insurance Company After a California Dog Bite
Often, a dog owner's homeowner insurance company will cover dog bite and attack incidents. Therefore, we will likely deal directly with the dog owner’s insurer when you retain us to handle your dog attack case.
Insurance companies do not generally make it easy for dog bite victims to recover favorable monetary compensation for their injuries. In fact, many insurance company adjusters will look for any excuse to try and undervalue a claim to pay the injured victim as little monetary compensation as possible.
The more money an insurance company has to pay to resolve a dog bite claim, the less money they can keep in-house. Therefore, many adjusters will resolve dog bite claims quickly and cheaply.
Given the insurance company's attitude towards settling a dog bite claim, you should never accept the first settlement offer that the adjuster puts on the table.
Instead, our experienced legal team can aggressively negotiate with the adjuster on your behalf, highlight the strengths of your case, and pursue the maximum amount of monetary damages available for your injuries.
We can also threaten the insurance company with litigation in the state court system if they refuse to compensate you fully and fairly for your dog bite injuries.
If you decide to litigate your case in the court system, we may continue our settlement negotiations and represent you in all legal proceedings in your case.
Throughout the process, we can also advise whether you should consider accepting a pending settlement offer from the insurance company or litigating your case at a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding.
Steps to Take Following a Dog Bite or Dog Attack Incident
Following a dog bite or dog attack incident, there are several essential steps that you should take. Never speak directly with the dog owner except to obtain contact and insurance information. Instead, we can handle these communications for you. We can also communicate with insurance company representatives, including adjusters, on your behalf.
Completing your medical treatment regimen following a dog bite incident is also essential. This process might involve undergoing a medical procedure, attending physical therapy sessions, or receiving stitches to close a bite wound.
Never discharge yourself for medical care. Instead, continue treatment with a medical provider until that provider formally releases you.
Finally, you need to reach out to us as quickly as possible after your dog bite incident. If you have medical records, bills, incident reports, police investigation reports, camera footage, or other pertinent documentation, forward them to us immediately. We can then use this documentation as evidence in your case or as part of the settlement demand package we send to the dog owner's insurance company. We can then begin pursuing the total compensation you deserve to recover for your injuries.
Speak to a California Dog Bite Attorney Right Away
You must have legal representation as quickly as possible if you recently sustained injuries in a dog bite or attack incident. This is partly because dog attack victims only have two years from the incident date to file a lawsuit that seeks the total monetary recovery they deserve. If a bite victim files a lawsuit belatedly, they will no longer be eligible to recover any monetary compensation for their injuries.
At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, our legal team can begin advocating for your rights immediately and start pursuing the total settlement or litigation compensation you deserve in your case.
For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a California dog bite attorney, please contact us at (650) 345-8484 for more information.