Being attacked or bitten by a dog is a traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally. No matter its severity, a dog attack can have serious health effects and lead to lasting fear and stress.
The San Diego personal injury attorneys at CaseyGerry understand how damaging one incident with a dog can be. We represent injury victims and their families against responsible dog owners and their insurance companies.
Unfortunately, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the U.S. One-fifth of those bites require medical attention. Children are at a higher risk of being bitten, and their injuries tend to be more severe. Even when they don’t bite, dogs often attack people. Because they are frequently large, powerful animals, they can inflict serious harm.
If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog, seeking legal recourse might not be at the top of your mind. But an ER visit, stitches, possible surgery, medication, and other expenses add up fast. When injuries are severe, such as disfigurement, muscle damage, ligament tears, and infections, ongoing treatment, and multiple surgeries may be required. If your injuries prevent you from working, lost income can cause additional financial hardship.
We have experience with dog bite and animal attack cases and can work with the dog owners and their insurance company. We will seek compensation for your medical bills, future medical expenses, time away from work, pain and suffering, and other losses related to the incident. We offer a free initial consultation, so you can tell us your story and discuss the next steps without obligation.
You may have heard of the one-bite rule when it comes to dog bite liability, but there is no such rule in California. Under one-bite defenses, a pet owner is not responsible for their pet’s first bite incident but is responsible for every bite or attack thereafter. A dog’s past behavior is irrelevant in California because owners are liable for the first bite and any subsequent bites.
California’s strict liability law favors those who have been injured by dogs. The law provides that pet owners are responsible for dog bite and attack incidents that occur in public places or when lawfully on private property. Strict liability is only applied to dog bite cases, however. If you sustain other types of injuries caused by someone else’s dog, you do not have a strict liability claim, but you may seek compensation under a negligence claim.
Dogs, especially large ones, are capable of causing injuries without even opening their mouths. Excited dogs often jump up to meet people, run to greet them, run in circles around them, and play aggressively. Dogs are capable of knocking people to the ground and causing them to trip and fall.
Sometimes these injuries are minor, but they can often be serious. The types of dog bite injuries that commonly prompt insurance claims are:
To recover compensation in these cases, you need to show that the owner’s negligence caused your injuries. For example, evidence that the dog was off-leash on public property when you were injured can be used to demonstrate the owner’s negligence.
In some cases, pet owners are unwilling to accept responsibility for their dogs. In these cases, dog owners blame injury claimants for their own damages. Common dog bite defenses include the following:
Our injured clients are often hesitant to bring injury claims against pet owners, especially when they have personal relationships with the owners. We understand that it can be uncomfortable to tell a neighbor or family member that you are going to pursue a claim for your injuries, and you might be worried that a claim will hurt your relationship.
Many pet owners are covered under homeowner’s insurance policies for dog bites, which means that instead of coming out of the dog owner’s pocket, an insurance company would pay your losses. This can ease tensions between family members, friends, and neighbors. Ultimately, dog owners are responsible for their dog’s actions, and if you have been injured, you deserve to be compensated.
If you suffer a dog bite or witness a loved one get attacked, there are a few very critical steps you should take next to protect your health and your rights:
Dog owners are strictly liable in California when their pet bites someone. That means the owner is responsible for any resulting damages. By filing a dog bite claim, you can recover the following types of compensation:
This includes on-site treatment from emergency responders, ambulance services, emergency room treatment, wound cleaning, stitches, tetanus and/or rabies shots, surgical procedures, medication to prevent infection, physical therapy, etc., and any ongoing medical care.
If you must miss work while you recover or care for a loved one, you may receive compensation for your lost income.
If your injury is debilitating and prevents you from returning to work or to the same line of work you were in previously, you can recover diminished earning capacity.
Compensation for the physical and emotional pain you have endured. This includes any resulting psychological conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, insomnia, loss of enjoyment in life, mental anguish, and more.
Spouses can recover this type of compensation for loss of companionship, love, affection, or sexual relations.
For example, if any personal possessions were damaged from the attack, such as your clothes, phone, handbag, etc., you are entitled to compensation for their repair or replacement.
Founded in 1947, CaseyGerry is San Diego’s most experienced personal injury law firm. We have helped many people recover from a dog bite or attack. We offer the personal attention you deserve as you navigate a traumatic moment in your life or the life of a loved one. Many of our people have been with CaseyGerry for more than 30 years. We also have a dedicated investigation department with two full-time investigators.
If you were bitten or attacked by a dog, the first step is to ensure you have received all necessary medical attention. Then call us, so we can help you recover from your injuries and the financial burden they cause. We welcome you to contact CaseyGerry at (619) 238-1811 to schedule a no-obligation, confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.