The pit bull, rottweiler, German shepherd, mixed-breed, and the American bulldog are the top leading dog breeds in dog bites in the U.S. It is the reason most landlords are hesitant to allow dog owners with these breeds to rent their properties. Insurance companies are also hesitant to offer insurance policies to them.
And in 2018, California was leading in dog bites insurance claims across the country. Most victims of dog bites become unsure of whether to file a claim, especially if they feel like they contributed to being attacked. Pasadena personal injury attorneys can answer your questions regarding your rights after a dog bite.
What Does the Law Say About Dog Bites in California?
In California, dog bite cases are usually handled on the principle of strict liability. This means that you are not required to prove that the dog owner was negligent in handling their pet and preventing the attack.
According to Civil Code 3342, you only have to prove that:
1.The dog bite attack happened while you were on the property lawfully
2.You sustained injuries from the dog bite
The person who can be held liable for your injuries is either the person in charge of controlling the pet at the time of the attack or the actual dog owner. It is also worth remembering that the injury laws view pets as property of the owner.
Thus, the owner absorbs responsibility for anything done by the dog. It won’t matter:
1. If the owner couldn’t have reasonably suspected that the dog was capable of attacking another person
2.If the owner took reasonable steps to try and prevent the attack from happening
Note that you cannot get compensation for the dog jumping on you or scratching you. If you have shreds of doubts about whether you should file a personal injury case, make sure that you discuss your concerns with Pasadena dog bite lawyers to seek clarity.
What if I Contributed to the Dog Attack?
One of the common defenses used by pet owners in a dog bite liability case, is the argument that you might have contributed to the injury. They could say that you provoked the dog by:
1.Instigating the attack
2.Ignoring the Beware of Dogs sign
3.Breaking the law
4.Bothering the pet
And if the pet owner provides evidence showing that you indeed contributed to the attack, you might have to surrender some of your compensation. The comparative negligence rule allows you to petition for compensation on the dog owner’s percentage of fault.
Victims should not assume that they have no claim against a pet owner, just because you contributed to the dog attacking you. For example, if you stepped on the dog’s tail or ignored the owner’s warning, you might still be entitled to a settlement. Contributory negligence in this case only reduces your recovery award.
However, if you are found to have been trespassing when the dog bit you, the strict liability law might lock you out of compensation. Your Pasadena dog bite lawyers might have to use the negligence approach to get compensation in such instances.
How Long After a Dog Bite Can I Sue?
Victims of dog bites have exactly two years to file for compensation from the owners. No matter how serious your injuries might have been, you cannot sue after the statute of limitations period has passed. And counting begins on the day the biting incident happened.
And just like other types of personal injuries, it is advisable to file right away. The longer you hesitate, the less clear the details become in your mind. This can weaken your case, drop its value, and potentially cost you more to file the claim.
So, if you have doubts or second thoughts about filing a dog bite claim, make sure that you discuss those concerns with Pasadena dog bite lawyers first. They will advise you from a legal expert’s perspective. Besides, the first consultation is usually free, and you have nothing to lose.
Must I Hire an Attorney for My Dog Bite Case?
Experiencing a dog bite is one of the most traumatic life events for any victim. The last thing you want in this state, is to walk through the corridors of the judicial system by yourself. Notably, the bite might look minor at first, but it can graduate into something serious quite fast.
Your key responsibility should not be figuring out the legal bit of your case. Instead, you should focus on seeking immediate medical help. Most dog bites break into your skin and expose you to the risk of infections or rabies, if the dog is not vaccinated. And if the attack was severe, you might get serious injuries such as:
Apart from the physical injuries and the medical bills, you could also be going through psychological trauma, and you might be unable to work. A personal injury attorney can push to have you recover money for those medical bills, the lost income, and damages for pain and suffering.
And even if you were partly to blame, you deserve fair compensation. First, the total amount of damages will be worked out before establishing if there was contributory negligence. Thereafter, you will be awarded compensation, less your percentage of contribution to the attack. And if a loved one dies from the dog bite, the family can also get compensation.
Legal Professionals Fighting for Your Rights and Wellbeing
Dog owners often play various tricks to avoid compensating people that their vicious pets have bitten. But experienced Pasadena dog bite attorneys have the right skills to identify any cheeky behaviors and get their clients maximum compensation.
With over three and a half decades of experience with personal injury cases, dog bite lawyers at Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell might be the right legal representatives for you and your loved ones. Even if you contributed to the attack, you still deserve to recover part of your damages in California. Take action today and talk to us to get started.