Elk Grove Dog Bite Claims
I’m Ed Smith, an Elk Grove dog attack lawyer. Recently, in Elk Grove, an angry dog escaped from a front yard enclosure and attacked a five-year-old child. Thankfully, the mother was standing nearby and was able to protect herself and two children from being bitten. Statistics tell us that some 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs annually, half of whom are children. In California, the dog’s owner can be held responsible for any injuries their animal caused. Exceptions to this liability include if the victim was provoking the dog, performing a paid service involving the animal, i.e. grooming or training the dog or if a person was trespassing and was attacked or bitten.
Elk Grove Dog Bite Claims and California Civil Code 3342
Traditionally, an individual bitten or attacked by a dog had to prove that the owner of the animal had reason to know its propensity to attack in order for that owner to be found liable. This burden typically involved determining if there had been prior bites, which could be somewhat difficult.
California does not abide by that requirement. California instead has a dog bite statute – California Civil Code 3342. Under this section, the owner of the dog is automatically liable for injuries resulting from their dog, biting someone, causing injury.This liability applies if the person is bitten while lawfully on private property or in a public place.
While the owner of the dog is always liable, others may also be held accountable for the extent that their actions, or lack thereof, contributed to your injuries. For example, a person other than the owner may be out walking the dog. If this person does not exercise due care in supervising the dog, they can be held liable for your injuries. For more information, contact and experienced dog attack lawyer.
Elk Grove Dog Bite Claims – What You Are Entitled to Recover
If you or your minor child suffers a dog bite injury, you may be entitled to recover the following damages:
Reimbursement of Medical Bills
A dog attack which results in an injury oftentimes will generate billings for emergency room care, follow up treatment and emotional support and, possibly, plastic surgery. Even with insurance, there will still be expenses like co-pays and other costs not covered by insurance. You will be required to pay out-of-pocket for some of these expenses. If you do not have insurance, then your out-of-pocket costs will be substantially higher. You are entitled to be compensated for your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses.
Loss of Income
A dog attack may injure you enough to put you out of work for a while, which can cost you in income that you would have otherwise earned. You are entitled to recover that lost income if someone else’s negligence caused your injury.
Physical Pain and Mental and Emotional Suffering
The dog bite itself may be excruciatingly painful. An animal attack can cause a major disruption to your life. Most dog bite victims indicate that the emotional trauma is the worst part and can be unforgettable for some. Insurance companies will try to skimp in this area. An experienced dog attack lawyer will take the time to get to know you to accurately understand how this incident has affected you. This can be a tremendous help in recovering the full compensation you deserve.
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite?
1) If you or someone else is injured, call 9-1-1. Seek immediate medical treatment for your wounds, even if you think they are minor.
2) If the dog that bit you cannot be located, call police and animal control promptly. Give them a description of the dog and where the animal was last seen.
3) If the dog’s owner or someone else is present, get their full name and contact information.
4) Follow up with animal control so a full investigation can be performed. This investigation will uncover the names and information of the responsible owners, and may reveal information about prior incidents pertaining to the animal that bit you.
5) Take photographs of your injuries and preserve the clothing you were wearing.
6) Contact an experienced dog attack lawyer.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Even though dogs are considered man’s best friend, they have the capacity to do severe harm with their teeth and jaws. Even a small or medium sized dog’s bite is able to cause injuries such as abrasions, punctures, bone crush injuries, facial lacerations, nerve damage, severe bleeding, tissue avulsion, facial scarring, post-traumatic stress disorder and sometimes death. Due to the bacteria commonly present in a dog’s mouth, bites that are not thoroughly cleaned and treated can result in serious infections. Dogs may also be infected with rabies, and this can be fatal.
How Long Do I Have To File a Dog Bite Claim?
The statute of limitations in California for personal injury claims, including claims for dog bites, is 2 years from the date of the injury. What this means is that you have only 2 years to settle your claim before filing a lawsuit in order to protect the statute of limitations. The case can, of course, settle after the lawsuit is filed, or it may go to a trial if settlement is not possible.
California Statute of Limitations Pertaining to Minor Children
For minor children, however, the 2-year statute of limitations is tolled until the minor reaches their 18th birthday. This means the 2-year time clock doesn’t begin ticking until the child reaches the age of 18. There may be exclusions, so it’s best to contact and experienced attorney.
Police Animal – Government Dog Bite Claims
Different time limits apply if you are bitten by a police animal or government dog. In this situation you have only 6 months or 180 days from the date of injury to file a government claim and 6 months or 180 days from the date of denial of that claim (presumed denied after 45 days if no response) to file a lawsuit. For more information call an experienced dog attack lawyer.
Related Articles by Ed Smith:
- Which Dogs are Likely Biters
- Why Bites Occur
- Dog Bite Injuries Sustained by Police K-9 Dogs
- Common Dog Bite Injuries
Elk Grove Dog Attack Lawyers
Since 1982, I have been helping victims of dog bite injuries recover compensation for their losses. I work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing up front. I get paid after a successful outcome of your case.
California member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Image Attribution: Wikimedia Commons