With so many California residents owning a dog, it’s no surprise that some animals end up biting someone. In some instances, the victim provoked the dog or was horse playing. However, in other cases, the victim did not provoke the dog at all. When a dog bites someone without provocation, the victim has the right to pursue a claim for damages in California. Understandably, victims want to know potential dog bite injury compensation amounts.
Every case differs based on circumstances, so there is no average settlement amount we can share with you. If you want to know your potential case value, contact The Paris Firm to schedule a consultation. We have nearly three decades of experience representing injured victims, including for a dog bite lawsuit in California. We understand what a stressful and scary time this is for you. Fortunately, California dog bite law provides you with legal remedies to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Statistics on Dog Bites in California
According to the National Library of Medicine (quoting findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]), dog bites are a serious public health issue and contribute to the burden of injuries across the country. They estimate more than 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Of these attacks, around 885,000 victims need to seek medical treatment. Unfortunately, children are more susceptible to dog bite injuries, accounting for approximately 70% of dog bite-related fatalities.
Steps to Take Following a Dog Bite Injury in California
Wound infection is a primary concern following a dog bite. A dog’s mouth is a significant source of bacteria, which can lead to complications following a bite. The Cleveland Health Clinic recommends that dog bite victims follow these seven steps following a bite injury:
- Wash your wound using mild soap, and then run warm water over it for around 5 – 10 minutes.
- Use a clean cloth to slow the bleeding.
- Put over-the-counter antibiotic cream over the wound if you have some at home.
- Use a sterile bandage and wrap the wound.
- Do not remove the bandage and make an appointment to see your doctor.
- Follow the doctor’s orders on how many times a day you should change your dressing.
- Pay attention to see if you have any signs of infection, such as swelling, redness, fever, or increased pain.
If your injuries are severe, you will not be able to treat your wound at home. You need to get to the emergency room right away, where a doctor can examine the injury and prescribe antibiotics. Your doctor will also inquire about your last tetanus shot, and if you haven’t had one in years, you may need to get the shot as well.
Do you know the dog that bit you? Feral dogs and other unvaccinated dogs can present additional health concerns. You may need to get further treatment, such as a rabies shot.
Legal Recourse Under the California Dog Bite Statute
If you do not know the dog that bit you, it’s essential to try and get the contact information for the dog’s owner and confirmation of breed. Some other states give a dog the first bite “free.” But California holds dog owners responsible regardless of whether the dog bit someone else before or not.
You can find the California dog bite law in California Civil Code § 3342, which says a dog’s owner is responsible for all injuries when:
- The owner’s dog bites someone, causing them injuries; and
- The victim was legally in a private place or in public when the bite occurred.
The statute sets the rule for strict liability for California dog bites. Owners cannot say they did not know their dog had the propensity to attack and displayed no violent tendencies before the incident as a means of escaping liability.
If this is not the first time the owner’s dog bit someone, the district attorney could open an investigation into how the dog is being treated. If the investigation shows the dog is trained to fight or has been mistreated, the owner may have to forfeit ownership of the dog. The owner could also face criminal charges in some cases.
Dog Bite Statute of Limitations in California
Injured victims only have two years from the date of injury to file a dog bite lawsuit in California. While that might seem like a lot of time, it’s really not in a dog bite case. These types of personal injury claims are complex, especially when the victim is seriously injured. Dog bite victims often have lifelong complaints, such as disfigurement and disability. Some dog bite injuries may require multiple surgeries due to the severity of the bite or because of a subsequent infection.
Contact a California Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
Pursuing compensation for a dog bite injury in California requires a skilled legal advocate on your side. Finding applicable coverage through the dog owner’s insurance is often complicated. You should be concentrating on healing rather than trying to figure out how to get reimbursed for your damages.
Our attorneys are familiar with the various factors that impact dog bite injury compensation amounts.
Don’t jeopardize your potential compensation by trying to handle your claim independently. Instead, contact The Paris Firm today. Let us navigate the complex legal issues while you concentrate on recovering. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Paris Firm will work tirelessly to hold the dog owner accountable. Contact our office to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.