Ventura Dog Bite Lawyer
If you’ve suffered a dog bite, you need an experienced Ventura dog bite lawyer with a proven track record of success. Call for a free consultation.
Dogs make wonderful companions and pets. But they can also be very dangerous. Sometimes this danger is intended, such as having a dog protect its owner or when the dog is part of the police or military force. But other times, the owner of the dog never intends for anyone else to be bitten by the dog.
Unfortunately, dog bites are common, with thousands of dog bite insurance claims being filed each year. And this is only a fraction of the total bites. Estimates put the actual number of humans bitten by dogs at around 5 million each year.
If you’ve ever found yourself the victim of a dog bite, you may be lucky enough to only have a sore leg, hand or arm. But if you aren’t fortunate, you can end up with serious injuries resulting in hospitalization, sky-high medical bills and missed work. If this happens to you, you should consider taking legal action against the owner of the dog.
No, you aren’t trying to take advantage of an insurance company or cash in on a minor accident. Imagine you get bitten on the hand, requiring stitches and immobilization of your hand for several weeks. Also, imagine you need to use both your hands for your job. This can include almost any job, from cashier to plumber to accountant. With your hand unusable, you may have to miss work or take unpaid days off. At the very least, you will be unable to work at full capacity. All you’re trying to do is make sure your medical bills get paid and any lost income or other expenses are taken care of.
This is perfectly reasonable, but many dog owners and insurance companies refuse to provide this basic level of compensation. When this happens, you might need a Ventura dog bite lawyer to help you make a full recovery from your dog bite injuries.
California Dog Bite Laws
California is one of many states that impose strict liability on dog owners whose dogs bite others. Strict liability refers to a legal theory where someone can become legally liable for certain types of harm, no matter what actions they took (or didn’t take) to prevent the harm. Within the context of dog bites, this means a dog owner is legally responsible for the injuries resulting from its dog biting another person. This liability exists regardless of whether the owner knew the dog could engage in such behavior and any steps the owner took to prevent the bite from happening.
There are a few exceptions to this strict liability dog bite rule. First, if the victim was trespassing when they were bitten, the owner isn’t likely to be liable for the dog biting the trespasser. Second, if the victim was harassing or taunting the dog when they were bitten, they cannot sue for the dog bite injuries. Third, dog owners of police and military dogs who bite a victim during the course of their duties, will not be legally liable.
California’s dog bite laws differ from earlier dog bite laws where the dog owner would only be legally responsible if they knew the dog had a propensity to bite others. In reality, this meant that the dog owner was only legally liable for the dog’s second bite (with the first bite serving as notice to the owner that their dog has a propensity to bite others). This led to a somewhat cynical saying among legal professionals that “the first bite is free.”
What You Need to Do If You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog
If your injuries are serious, dial 9-1-1 or get immediate medical attention. Your first thought must be to avoid further injury and make sure your injuries do not worsen.
If possible, get as much information as you can about the dog’s owner. This is important because it’s the dog owner (and the dog owner’s insurance company) that is legally responsible for paying for your injuries. As you can imagine, a court can order a dog owner to pay you, but not a dog.
After things have settled down, you should report the dog bite. Ideally, this will be the appropriate local animal control agency or department, but it may be a local police department depending on where you live.
Finally, gather evidence of your injuries and the harm you have suffered as a result of them. Take pictures, get copies of your medical records and have your boss or human resources department document the work you had to miss (if applicable) because of your injuries from the dog bite.
You should also consider hiring an attorney who handles dog bites. In theory, the homeowner’s insurance policy of the dog owner will be able to fully compensate you for your injuries and losses. But there is often dispute over the extent of the injuries or whether you also played a part in the dog deciding to bite you. Therefore, you may be in for a lengthy battle with the dog owner’s insurance company. Additionally, even if the insurance company cooperates and pays out, it may not be enough to fully compensate you. As a result, additional legal action may be required and it’s nice to have an attorney to be able to take that next step if necessary. At the very least, contact a Ventura dog bite lawyer for a free consultation to get a better idea of your legal rights.
Are You Looking for a Ventura Dog Bite Lawyer?
Let’s talk. Really, you and me. Call today for a free one-on-one consultation.