Have you experienced a significant injury from a dog bite? If so, you may be able to hold the dog’s owner liable for your injuries and medical expenses.
Dogs can have powerful jaws. When they become scared and have not received proper training, they can bite humans with the intent to hurt them. Unfortunately, over 800,000 dog bites across the country require medical attention each year.
If you have experienced an Orange County dog bite, you may be stressed, confused, and in pain. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be facing expensive surgery, medical treatments, or cosmetic procedures in the future. Seeking compensation from the dog’s owner could give you peace of mind and ease the burden of this unfortunate incident.
At The Dominguez Firm, we have successfully gained financial compensation for numerous dog bite victims like you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a dog bite lawyer in Orange County, CA.
Why Do Dogs Bite Humans?
Dog bites can arise from a range of scenarios. Often, victims do not know why a dog attacked them. In most cases, the victims do not provoke or anger the dog in any known way.
However, even though the reason may not be apparent to humans, dogs typically have a reason for biting people. The most common cause is that they feel threatened. Showing aggressive behavior is an instinct for dogs when they feel they need to defend themselves.
While dog bites are not always the owners’ fault, some dogs can exhibit potentially dangerous behavior because their owners trained them to. For example, owners sometimes encourage their dogs to attack anyone who enters their private property. However, while many dog bites happen in a private place, a significant number also occur in public.
Some dog breeds are statistically more likely to bite humans than others. These include:
- English Bulldog
- German shepherd
- Jack Russell terrier
- Australian shepherd
However, any dog breed can be responsible in an Orange County dog bite incident.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites do not always lead to severe injuries. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, around 4.5 million people across the U.S. experience dog bites each year, and approximately 800,000 of those dog bites require medical attention.
However, many dog attacks can quickly lead to serious injuries. The most common injury resulting from even minor dog bites is broken or punctured skin. Sometimes, these injuries can heal on their own with over-the-counter antibiotic creams and time. Other times, severe dog bites require stitches or more serious medical treatment to heal.
A dog bite victim’s injuries can also include the following:
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Nerve damage
- Tissue damage
In rare cases, dog attacks can lead victims to become infected with rabies. When a dog who has rabies attacks or scratches a human, it can pass the rabies virus onto the injured person.
The above injuries can require the following medical treatments:
- Hospital stays
- Rabies vaccines
These treatments can require expensive medical bills. Hiring an Orange County dog bite attorney is essential to receive fair compensation to cover these bills.
Who Is Liable in Dog Bite Claims?
California law is firm when it comes to dog bite injuries. Specifically, California’s strict liability law states that a dog owner does not need to act recklessly or maliciously to be liable for their dog’s bite. In most instances, dog owners are automatically strictly liable for any harm their dogs cause.
However, there are a few limitations to this strict liability law. For example, the dog owner may not be liable for your injuries if:
- You were trespassing at the time of the dog bite
- You antagonized or provoked the dog
Many California residents falsely believe that a dog owner is only responsible for the dog’s bite after their second bite. This concept, known as the “one-bite rule,” is not true in California. Instead, dog owners can be liable after the first time their dog bites someone.
Additionally, California has a two-year dog bite statute of limitations. As a result, you must file your claim within two years from the attack date.
What Type of Compensation Can You Receive From a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
When you experience a dog bite injury, you can seek compensation from the dog’s owner. This person may be able to obtain money from their insurance company to cover your expenses related to the accident.
The expenses you can cover through insurance compensation may include:
- Medical treatment
- Reasonably anticipated future medical expenses
- Plastic surgery
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of ability to work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
You may also seek punitive damages from the dog owner if they acted maliciously to provoke the dog attack. For example, if the owner encouraged their dog to attack you for entering their private property, they may owe you punitive damages, which act as a punishment for their malicious behavior.
You will need to submit a claim through the dog owner’s insurance company to seek dog bite compensation. However, some insurance companies do not provide coverage for certain breeds of dogs that are more likely to bite people.
If the insurance company fails to provide a fair payout, you can take legal action against the dog owner. Having a personal injury attorney on your site is essential to navigating your dog bite case strategically, gathering evidence to support your claim, and receiving adequate compensation from the dog owner.
Proving Your Claim After an Orange County Dog Bite
Some dog bite cases are easier to prove than others. For example, if witnesses were around during your dog attack, you can call upon them to provide witness statements to support your claim. Additionally, if your injuries point directly to a dog bite, you may be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have been a dog bite victim.
However, other times, obtaining enough evidence to support your Orange County dog bite case can be challenging. Generally, you’ll need to prove the following three elements in an animal attack case:
- Another party owned the animal during the attack
- You were legally in the location where the attack occurred
- The attack caused you to sustain injuries
At The Dominguez Firm, our Orange County dog bite attorneys can help you gather the appropriate evidence to support these three elements.
Legal Steps to Take When You Experience a Dog Bite Injury
If you have been a dog attack victim, you can take several steps to streamline your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit and gain fair outcomes:
1. Seek Medical Treatment
First, you should receive medical attention for any injuries you have sustained. Be sure to follow the doctor’s instructions to clean the wound and prevent infection.
2. Document the Bite Wound
Next, you should take photos and write down the details of any wounds you experience from the attack. These details can serve as evidence in your personal injury case.
3. Report the Incident to Orange County Animal Control
Local animal control organizations like to keep records of the dog bites in their areas each year. You can call the Orange County office to report your dog bite.
4. Contact a Dog Bite Attorney
Finally, contacting a dog bite attorney from one of the Orange County personal injury law firms can improve your case outcomes.
At The Dominguez Firm, our personal injury attorneys have the skills and experience necessary to navigate lawsuits from animal attacks strategically and aggressively. Our law firm will do everything we can to support your case and seek maximum compensation on your behalf.
Contact us today at (800) 818-1818 to schedule your consultation.