How Much Compensation Could I Get From a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
Getting attacked by a dog is a terrifying experience. A dog bite can leave victims with severe physical and emotional injuries that last a lifetime. The cost of long-term medical care, therapy, and rehabilitation can leave victims financially unstable and worried about how to pay the bills. If you suffered injuries in an animal attack, a Pasadena dog bite lawyer from the Law Offices of Pius Joseph can demand maximum compensation for you. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries can range from mild to severe. Some of the most common dog bite injuries are:
- Deep cuts and lacerations
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Eye injuries and vision loss
- Ear injuries
- Nerve damage
- Permanent scarring
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If someone else’s dog bit you, you shouldn’t be responsible for the medical bills, lost wages, or any other associated costs of regaining your health. You can also receive compensation for your psychological and emotional suffering.
Tragically, dog bites can sometimes be fatal. If you lost a family member in a dog bite incident, you and your loved ones could be entitled to seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses, lost financial support, and more through a wrongful death claim.
How Much is My Dog Bite Injury Claim Worth?
Numerous factors will influence the value of your dog bite injury claim, including:
- The severity of your injuries
- Your medical expenses and lost income
- Long-term consequences of the injury
- Whether the injury left you with permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Whether the dog had a history of biting or attacking humans
- Whether you were trespassing at the time of the dog attack
The compensation you receive for a dog bite injury should be covered by the owner’s homeowners’ or renters’ insurance. Filing a claim with the dog owner’s insurer allows you to avoid unpleasant personal disputes. Instead of directly suing a friend, family, member, or acquaintance, you can go through their insurance provider.
How is Pain and Suffering Valued in a Dog Bite Claim?
It can be challenging to put a dollar amount on the pain and suffering you’ve endured, but any good personal injury lawyer has experience quantifying these losses. While no amount of money can make up for your suffering, the only way that insurance companies and courts can reimburse you for intangible losses is through financial compensation.
To place a pain and suffering amount on your dog bite claim, your attorney will gather evidence to show how your life has changed due to the injury. Let’s say the attack was so vicious that you can no longer live independently and will require multiple surgeries over the years to address expected health complications. Your attorney can gather statements from friends, doctors, and others to show the effects of the injury on your life before placing an appropriate value for pain and suffering on your claim.
California Dog Bite Liability Laws
California Civil Code Section 3342 states, “The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog.” It does not matter whether the dog displayed any vicious behavior in the past when determining liability, nor if the owner was aware of the dog’s aggression.
California’s dog bite statute is a strict liability law, meaning that the owner of a dog who bites someone can be held liable regardless of whether they were negligent. Even if the owner took steps to prevent the incident or did not realize that the attack occurred, they can still be held responsible for the injured person’s losses.
In California, a public place includes any area open for public access, including parks, streets, parking lots, and commercial properties such as bars and restaurants. If a dog bit you on public property or while you were a lawful guest on private property, you have a legal right to seek compensation from the dog’s owner.
There are a few exceptions to the law:
- The dog’s owner will not be strictly liable if the victim is trespassing.
- The handler of a law enforcement dog typically cannot be held responsible if the dog bites someone who provoked it.
- People who regularly work with animals, including veterinarians and animal shelter staff members, also generally can’t hold the dog owners strictly liable for bite injuries because they have an “assumed risk.”
Proving Liability in a California Dog Bite Case
Because of California’s strict liability statute, most dog bite victims don’t have to prove negligence, an essential element of most other personal injury cases. If a dog bit you while in a public space or as a guest on private property, you likely have a claim for compensation.
If someone else’s dog has bitten you, you should:
- Seek medical treatment right away.
- Report the incident to the police.
- Take photos and videos of your injuries.
- Ask witnesses for their contact information.
- Write down everything you remember about the incident as soon as possible.
- Keep all copies of your medical bills, co-pays, rehabilitation costs, and other bite-related losses.
These steps can help your attorney prove the owner’s liability when you file a claim later.
How Can a California Dog Bite Lawyer Help?
You deserve compensation for your expenses after a dog bite. You improve your chances of obtaining maximum compensation with an attorney involved. A dog bite lawyer can negotiate a settlement that accounts for all your losses, including future costs, like reconstructive surgery. Placing a value on non-economic damages like pain and suffering can also be difficult without an attorney’s help.
Hiring a lawyer can also give you peace of mind, allowing you to concentrate on your health instead of your claim. You should give special consideration to retaining a lawyer if you suffered severe injuries or if the dog’s owner disputes your claim.
Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer in California
Were you injured in a dog attack in California? Contact our firm today for a free consultation. Attorney Pius Joseph has more than 25 years of experience helping victims of dog bite injuries in Pasadena and the surrounding communities. With a success rate of more than 90 percent and a long history of recovering multi-million-dollar settlements for injured clients, our legal team has the experience and track record you can trust. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.