California Dog-Bite Law
More households in the United States have dogs than any other pet. This is especially true here in California. California has a unique and strict set of laws as it pertains to pets, and in particular, dogs. This section of the state’s Civil Code (3342) states that if someone is bitten — no matter if they are on public property or lawfully on private property — then the dog owner is responsible.
There are few exceptions to this statute. Police dogs are generally immune from this type of rule, and exceptions are commonly made when the injured party did something to provoke the dog, or otherwise cause the bite.
Lawyers and Dog-Bite Cases
Small dogs or minor nips rarely cause serious injuries, but severe attacks by larger dogs or bites which become infected can lead to horrific injuries. The cost of emergency medical care balloons quickly, and that does not take into consideration ongoing care, rehabilitation and things such as plastic surgery to limit scarring and disfigurement.
Dog bite victims are often unable to return to work immediately, instead fighting to recover from their injuries. Still, medical bills must be paid, and lost wages covered. This means they are trying to fight for compensation from an insurance company when they should be focusing on their health. They’re probably not going to be able to do that effectively on their own, and therefore, they should get an attorney.
How to Handle a Dog Bite
Dog bites can be potentially dangerous, and should be handled with swift care. First and foremost, it is important to understand the severity of your injury and to seek medical care right away – especially if you cannot confirm the shot record of the canine who bit you. Contact 911 to receive the immediate care that you require. If you are able to get yourself out of harm’s way, and do not require an ambulance to transport you to care, contact your local law enforcement agency, Animal Control or Humane Society to report the dog bite and have an incident report taken for your records.
Use the technology available to you to create a record of the dog bite. Your cellphone can become an incredible tool, allowing you to take pictures of the animal – if it is still at the scene – the location the attack took place, and the name, address and phone number of the dog’s owners. If you are able to ascertain the name, breed and age of the dog who bit you, take that information down as well.
Take photos of your injuries right away, as well as follow up pictures after you have received care, to create evidence as to how the injury has affected you through imagery. If it is possible to take a picture of the dog’s owner, you certainly should.
Dog owners are very protective of their pets, and will often make excuses for the attack by stating that they escaped from the yard. If this is the case, ask the owner to show you where the dog escaped from and record the exit by taking pictures. Get as much information as possible, including any and all pictures, while you are still at the scene of the attack. When the incident is recorded in real time, our attorneys can use that information as evidence going forward.
Lastly, even if the dog has had all of its shots, seek medical care right away and inform the physician that you have been bitten by a dog. This will help you recover fully by getting the medical attention you need right away.
Compensation in a Dog-Bite Claim
Compensation in a dog-bite claim may a wide variety of financial losses and other damages, including:
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Past, present, and future loss of earnings, including salary, wages, and commissions
- Other related economic losses
- General damages, often known as pain and suffering
Potential Evidence in a Dog-Bite Case
The key to winning any personal injury case is to have the right evidence to prove the other party was liable, and that the attack caused your injuries. When you meet with your lawyer for the first time, bringing as much of this information with you as possible may speed up the case. This may include details of the incident such as:
- When and where the incident happened
- Who owned the dog
- Whether or not there was a report filed by Animal Control or the Humane Society
- The name, phone number, and other information for any responding agency
- Paperwork from any medical treatment, including medical records and bills.
If you can obtain pictures or video of the scene where the incident occurred, of the dog or of your injuries, that may also be useful. Eyewitness testimony can also be important in these cases, so collecting names and contact information for any witnesses is key.
Examples of Binder & Associates Dog-Bite Cases
In many dog-bite cases, the injured party and the dog owner are friends, or at the very least neighbors or acquaintances. Luckily, though, Binder & Associates can often help maintain a positive relationship between the two parties while also securing the victim the compensation they need to cover their damages.
Recently the firm represented a client who was attacked while attending a Super Bowl party at his best friend’s house. For whatever reason, seemingly out of nowhere, the friend’s dog attacked the client, biting him on the face. The attack victim was not upset with his friend, but still needed the money to pay for medical care and surgery to reduce scarring. By taking on the dog owner’s insurer while also ensuring Binder & Associates did not create an adversarial environment between the two friends, the firm was able to secure our client a fair and substantial settlement to pay all his medical bills and ongoing costs to repair the damage, and he also maintained a friendship both men value.
In another case, a client lost full use of her hand after being bitten by another lawyer’s dog. Binder & Associates had to fight against this other lawyer, who participated in his own defense. Throughout that case, our legal team was very adversarial with this lawyer, and we were certain he hated us. Ultimately, we won that case for a very substantial settlement. Later, when this lawyer was the victim of a dog bite himself, he called on Binder & Associates to represent him in his claim.
Contacting Binder & Associates
Binder & Associates represents the victims of dog attacks, getting them all the compensation available under California law. If you were bitten in Pasadena, we can help you get the money you need to cover your damages as well as the expert medical care necessary to make a full recovery. Call us today at (626) 793-9124 for a free case evaluation.