Owners are responsible for their dogs’ actions, and they should be held responsible when their dogs bite innocent victims. If you’ve been attacked by a dog, allow a San Diego dog bite attorney to get you the compensation you deserve.
Despite their reputation as man’s best friend, dogs aren’t always friendly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.5 million dog bites occur each year, and nearly one in five bites becomes infected.
In other words, dog bites are common and can be dangerous. Your resulting injuries can affect your life for months or even years.
Fortunately, victims of dog bites can pursue compensation to help them recover from their injuries. A San Diego dog bite lawyer at The Kindley Firm, APC, can fight for your right to fair compensation from the dog owner.
In California, a dog owner can be held legally liable when his or her canine bites an individual, as long as two criteria are met:
Some exceptions to this rule are provided for the dogs of certain military, law enforcement, and government personnel. In addition, you cannot intentionally provoke, harass, or annoy a dog to prompt a dog attack.
California does not use the “one-bite rule” in determining liability. In many other states, the dog’s owner can only be held responsible for a dog attack if he or she knew the dog had previously been aggressive.
Instead, California is a strict liability state, meaning that owners can be held responsible for the dog’s very first bite.
The statute of limitations for a dog bite case in California is two years, meaning that you must file your claim for compensation within that period of time. If you discover any injuries related to your dog attack after the fact, you’ll have a year from the time you discovered the injuries to file your claim.
You won’t want to wait until that time has almost passed, however. While the details are still fresh in your memory and your injuries are still visible, you should consider your options with the help of a San Diego dog attack lawyer.
Dog bites can cause injuries that extend far beyond simple cuts and scrapes. The effects of these injuries can have major physical, emotional, and financial implications on your life.
Some damages you may be able to seek after you’re attacked by a dog in San Diego include the following:
In particularly egregious canine attack cases, you may be able to sue for punitive damages, which can significantly increase the amount of compensation you receive. To win punitive damages, you’ll likely have to prove that the dog owner acted out of recklessness or malice.
A few caveats can affect your ability to receive adequate compensation after a dog attack.
First, it pays to get familiar with the doctrine of comparative fault. In California, a dog bite case is classified as a personal injury claim, which subjects it to the same rules of such a case.
Comparative fault essentially makes it so that if you were even slightly responsible for the dog biting you, your portion of fault will partially free the dog’s owner from liability. For example, if you were not invited on the property at the time the dog bit you, you may be found somewhat responsible for the dog attack, reducing the total compensation you could receive.
Another variable to account for is the insurance company. Some dog owners have insurance policies for any harm their canines might cause, and insurers are notorious for trying to withhold settlements.
The insurance company may try to prove some negligence on your part. Insurers may try to obtain statements, witness testimony, and whatever else they can to reduce your payout.
Fortunately, a reputable San Diego dog attack attorney can help you prove that you were purely the victim.
When you’ve been the victim of a dog bite, you should be concerned with healing, not complicated legal matters.
Still, you deserve compensation for your injuries, so let an experienced San Diego dog bite lawyer at The Kindley Firm, APC, take the reins on your case so you have one less thing to worry about. Call us today at 619-550-1313 or fill out the online contact form below.