Carlsbad Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bites send thousands of Californians to the emergency room every year, where they receive stitches and antibiotics to prevent complications. At Pursley Law Firm, we know how difficult it is to recover from a dog attack. Dogs have very sharp teeth which can damage nerves and other tissue, leaving victims with disfiguring scars. To determine if you have the right to sue the dog owner, contact our Carlsbad dog bite lawyer for a free consultation.
Your Right to Sue for a Dog Bite
California has a dog bite statute on the books which gives victims the right to sue the owner if they are bitten while in public or lawfully on private property. The law does not require that the owner know a dog is dangerous. Instead, this is a strict liability statute.
Based on this law, you can seek full compensation for:
- Medical services to treat your injury, including ambulance transportation, surgery, medication, and doctor visits.
- Future medical care, such as rehabilitation and physical therapy to help recover from serious dog bite injuries.
- Lost income if the bite keeps you out of work as you recover.
- Loss of earning capacity, where a permanent injury forces you to change jobs.
- Pain and suffering, for the emotional and physical distress that accompanies dog bites.
Dogs can crush bones, damage nerves, and tear soft tissue. Many dog bites leave behind disfiguring scars which can be a source of embarrassment. Young children, in particular, can suffer deep psychological trauma from an attack. Some children struggle with nightmares, or they never are comfortable around dogs again.
Your own negligence can limit the amount of compensation you receive. For example, if you were tormenting the dog or accidentally ran into it, then you might receive less. Comparative negligence is an important consideration in all personal injury cases, including dog attacks. Likewise, if you were trespassing, you might not be able to sue at all under the statute.
Some people are bitten by a dog that escapes an apartment building or kennel. In certain situations, you might sue the property owner for failing to use reasonable care in the upkeep of their property. A landlord, for example, could know a dog is dangerous but fails to fix a fence that is falling down. When the dog escapes and bites a pedestrian, the property owner might be liable.
California Dog Bite FAQs
When is a dog owner liable for a dog bite injury in California?
Animals are unpredictable, and humans cannot always control them. However, pet owners still have to answer when their dog attacks another person. California has strict liability laws for dog owners, which means that the state will automatically hold the owner liable if their dog bites someone while on public premises or while lawfully on private premises.
What types of compensation can I recover for my child’s dog bite?
When dogs attack children, the damages can prove catastrophic. On behalf of your child, you may have the right to recover compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Future rehabilitative care
- Prescription medications
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning potential
It is important to not accept an offer from the dog owner or their insurance provider without speaking to an attorney first. To get a better idea of what your claim is worth, contact my office today, virtually or over the phone. I offer free consultations.
Can I file a claim if any dog bit my child or only certain dog breeds?
When it comes to dog bite claims, California does not have any laws regarding the breed of dog. Whether the dog responsible for the attack is a golden retriever, pit bull or bichon frise, you still have the right to file a personal injury claim to recover damages. However, some insurance policies have language that deny coverage for certain breeds of dogs. Even so, you may have the option of filing a lawsuit directly against the homeowner instead of their insurance provider.
Are there defenses a dog owner can use to bar my recovery?
Most dog owners and/or their insurance providers will try to avoid paying your claim. They might argue that:
- The bite did not take place on public premises.
- You were not on their private premises lawfully.
- Your injury does not count as a bite under California law.
- You have a share of fault in the injury.
I have seen these defenses myself while handling dog bite claims. I work to dismantle these defenses through tireless evidence-gathering and other techniques to make sure that you recover the fair and just compensation you deserve.
So Why Do I Need A Lawyer?
There a many reasons why victims of dog bites need legal advocacy. In some cases, the dog owner may refuse to pay if you do not have legal representation. Or, the dog owner may claim trespassing or provocation (valid defenses to a dog bite lawsuit).
In other situations, you may need a buffer in the awkward situation in which the dog’s owner is your friend, neighbor or relative. Further, hiring a lawyer who knows the law and can access your damages is vital to ensuring any insurance company involved offers you a fair settlement for your specific situation.
Representing Dog Bite Victims
At Pursley Law Firm, we have helped many people secure favorable compensation after an accident. The fact is that dog bites are expensive. Your medical bills could cost thousands of dollars, and your pain is worth that much and maybe more. Many homeowner’s’ insurance policies cover dog bite claims, so they are an important source of compensation. In other situations, we might need to go to court, especially if the policy excludes the type of dog that injured you.
Call our law firm or send an online message. Our Carlsbad dog bite lawyer will gladly provide more detailed legal advice in a free consultation that is no risk to you.