Dog Bites Lawsuits

Dog bite injuries can be scary incidences. Understanding the role of the owner’s liability and the definition of injury in these cases can help with the decision of whether or not there are grounds for a lawsuit.

Most times the owner can be held liable if their dog bites another person, even if the skin is not broken. Owners can also be held liable even if the resulting injury was the cause of negligence, that means the owner didn’t use reasonable methods to control their dog, and these methods include adequate fencing and proper leashes.

Settlements may be reached outside of a courtroom; however, there are instances where victims of bite injuries need to sue. Perhaps the dog owner refuses to accept responsibility or the settlement being offered is not enough to pay the resulting medical bills. Whatever the reason, you deserve proper legal representation when you need to pursue a case.

Cause to Sue

Whether or not you have a valid lawsuit can be determined by the surrounding circumstances of the dog bite incident. If the owner failed to control their dog’s behavior through reasonable measures and it resulted in injury to you or your property, then this provides cause for legal action.

Exceptions to this would occur if the bite injury was the result of a working dog, such as a police dog, during the dog’s work duties or if a dog was defending themselves.

Establishing the Case

Dog bite victims have two years to file after the date of injury. Special circumstances apply when the case involves children or dogs with aggressive histories. The right lawyer can help you navigate the legal codes surrounding these cases, ensuring you are properly represented at this difficult time.

Dog owners can be held liable when the dog’s behavior or lack thereof causes injury or property damage. However, the degree to which they are responsible must be proven in a court of law, and the criteria vary from state to state. This is often referred to as “strict liability” or “one bite” rules.

California Falls Under Strict Liability for Dog Bites

Strict liability means the dog owner does not need to be proven to be at fault for an incident where their dog has injured someone. Investigations will work to discover if the injured person was legally allowed to be where they were at the time of bite and if this person did anything to provoke or annoy the dog. No further proof is needed beyond that.

California has a standard of strict liability for dog bite injuries. This means the likelihood is high that the owner will be held liable for their dog’s behavior. This also places liability on the owner for covering the damages incurred from a dog bite, whether or not the dog has ever bitten someone before. However, victims of dog bites will still have to show the impact of the injury in the form of such items as medical bills and proof of trauma and emotional impact.

One Bite Rule

The one bite rule focuses on whether the owner was aware of, or should have been informed that, the dog would bite and whether the owner took reasonable measures to prevent it from happening.

Objections to a Dog Bite Lawsuit

Under California law, dog bite injury cases are only valid if the injured party was legally allowed to be where they were when the injury occurred. Because of this, dog owners and insurance companies may try to claim the victim was trespassing. Owners of working dogs, service animals, or military and police dogs may also argue the dog was performing a duty and should not be held accountable. The right legal counsel can advise you on whether these claims are valid for your case.

California and Non-Economic Damages

The state of California also has guidelines on compensation for victims of various incidents, including bite injuries. In California, a victim’s pain and suffering damages are considered part of a broader category, referred to as “non-economic” damages. Proper compensation helps alleviate the toll of such incidents by providing financial compensation for mounting bills and peace of mind for you and your family during these difficult times.

Do I Need to get a Lawyer?

Often, pet owners and insurance companies will try to minimize their role in your injury. We pursue the highest settlement possible for our clients. At Bridgewater Law Group, we know the obstacles homeowners and pet owners may try to throw in front of you and we can move around them. You did not ask to be injured, so let us fight for your case. We will relentlessly pursue the best medical treatment regarding your case and fight for the best outcome, including the highest compensation for this disruption to your life.

No fee Unless We Win

Your win is our win, and we will not settle for anything less. We work on a contingency basis, which means there is no cost to you. Give us a call today for a free consultation. Within the span of the 30 minute consultation we will know how we can help you with your case.

We can Work on a Contingency Basis

Call us today to find out if you have a case. After one brief call, we will know if we can win for you. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. You focus on your recovery; we will do the rest. If we do not win a settlement, there is no fee to you.

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