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Dog Bites

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Dog Bites Claim in California: How to Hire an Expert Attorney!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year. Hiring the best lawyer for the claim can mean all the difference in getting the results you are looking for. VBV Law Group are expert attorneys when it comes to Dog Bites in California.

How Common are Dog Bites in California: What are some Causes?

Dog Bites & Severity of Injuries:

Around 1 in 5 dog bites require medical attention. In severe cases, dog bites can lead to significant injuries or even fatalities.


Children and Dog Bites:

Children are more likely to be bitten by dogs than adults. The CDC reports that children between the ages of 5 and 9 years have the highest rate of dog bite injuries.


Breed-Related Incidents:

While it’s essential to avoid generalizations about specific dog breeds, certain breeds have been associated with a higher number of severe dog bite incidents. However, it is crucial to note that breed is not the sole factor determining a dog’s behavior, and individual dogs’ temperaments vary widely.


Hospitalization Rates:

Dog bites can lead to hospitalization. In 2018, over 26,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery due to dog bite injuries in the U.S. (source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons)


Insurance Claims:

Dog bite incidents account for a significant portion of homeowner’s insurance liability claims. In 2020, insurance companies paid out nearly $854 million in liability claims related to dog bites. This represents one-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims. (source: Insurance Information Institute)


Legal Consequences:

Dog owners can face legal consequences for their pet’s actions. California imposes strict liability on dog owners for injuries caused by their dogs.

What goes into Establishing Liability for a Dog Bite Claim?

Establishing liability in a dog bite accident typically involves demonstrating that the dog owner or another responsible party was negligent or acted in a way that led to the dog bite. The specific elements to establish liability can vary based on the laws of the jurisdiction where the incident occurred.

Top 7 Common Causes for Liability: Dog Bites

  1. Dog ownership: Confirming that the person you believe to be the dog owner is, indeed, the owner. This can be determined through witness statements, dog licenses, or any other official records.
  2. “Strict liability” or “one-bite” rule: Some jurisdictions have strict liability laws for dog bites, meaning the owner is held liable for the injuries caused by their dog, regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of its aggressive tendencies. In contrast, other places follow the “one-bite” rule, which means the owner may be liable only if they were aware of the dog’s prior aggressive behavior.
  3. Negligence: If strict liability doesn’t apply, you may need to prove negligence on the part of the dog owner. This could involve demonstrating that the owner failed to control the dog properly, allowed the dog to roam freely, or disregarded warning signs of the dog’s aggressive behavior.
  4. Leash laws and ordinances: If there are local leash laws or ordinances in place, you might be able to establish liability if the owner violated these laws and the violation contributed to the dog bite incident.
  5. Provocation: If the dog was provoked by the victim or another person, the owner might argue that the victim’s actions contributed to the dog bite, potentially affecting liability.
  6. Defenses: The owner may try to avoid liability by asserting certain defenses, such as trespassing on private property or being involved in criminal activity at the time of the incident. Your attorney can address these potential defenses.
  7. Evidence: Gathering evidence, such as witness statements, medical records, photographs of the scene and injuries, and any previous complaints or incidents involving the dog, can strengthen your claim.

What Should You Do After A Dog Accident? Best Practices for Personal Injury Case!

If you’ve been bitten or injured by a dog and wish to make a personal injury claim, it’s essential to follow certain steps to ensure the process goes smoothly. Keep in mind that personal injury laws can vary depending on your location, so it’s advisable to consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area for specific guidance.

The General Steps to Consider:

Seek medical attention:

Your health and safety should be the top priority. Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they seem minor. This not only ensures proper care but also establishes a record of your injuries, which can be crucial for your claim later on.


Identify the dog owner:

If you can, identify the owner of the dog responsible for the bite or injury. This may involve talking to witnesses, taking photos of the dog, or obtaining any available surveillance footage if the incident occurred in a public place.


Report Dog Bites:

Contact your local animal control or law enforcement agency to report the dog bite or injury. They may conduct an investigation and document the incident, which can be helpful for your claim.


Document the incident:

Take photos of your injuries, the location where the incident occurred, and any visible signs of the dog’s ownership (tags, collars, etc.). Also, gather the contact information of any witnesses who saw the incident.


Preserve evidence:

If you have torn clothing or any other items damaged during the incident, keep them as evidence.


Obtain medical records:

Request copies of your medical records related to the dog bite or injury. This documentation will help support your claim and establish the extent of your injuries and treatment.


Consult a personal injury lawyer for dog bites:

It’s generally advisable to consult with a personal injury lawyer experienced in handling dog bite cases. They can guide you through the legal process, assess your claim’s strength, and represent your interests when dealing with insurance companies or in court.


File an insurance claim:

If the dog owner has liability insurance, you may file a claim with their insurance company. Your lawyer can assist with this process to ensure your rights are protected.


Negotiate or file a lawsuit:

Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer may attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, they may advise you to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.

Remember, laws and regulations related to dog bites and personal injury claims can vary significantly, depending on your location. Consulting with VBV Law Group will provide you with the most accurate and relevant advice for your specific case.

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