Dog Bite Lawyers in Ventura, Fighting for Your Compensation
If you’ve suffered an injury due to a canine attack, you need an experienced dog bite lawyer in Ventura who has a proven track record of success. Call Murphy & Murphy Law Offices for a free consultation.
Dogs make wonderful companions and are devoted pets. Unfortunately, they can also be very dangerous. Sometimes this danger is intended — such as when a dog protects its owner or is part of a police or military force. But in other instances, dog attacks come unexpectedly and surprise both owners and whoever is bitten by a dog. Unfortunately, dog bites are common, with thousands of related insurance claims filed each year. And this is only a fraction of actual cases. Estimates put the true number of humans bitten by dogs at around 4.5 million every year.
Most animal attack victims are lucky enough to walk away with only a sore leg, hand, or arm. If you’re not one of those lucky individuals, though, dog bites can cause serious injuries that result 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. Do not fall into the guilt trap of thinking you’re trying to take advantage of an insurance company or cash in on a minor accident. After all, injuries sustained in such an attack don’t have to be catastrophic to seriously interfere with your life.
Imagine you get bitten and require stitches and immobilization of your hand for several weeks. If you’re like most people, you use both of your hands for your job. This is true for almost every career — cashiers, plumbers, writers, and accountants all need full use of their hands. Due to the injuries caused by what some may consider a minor attack, you may have to miss work or take unpaid days off. This can result in lost wages on top of the medical costs you’re already facing. At the very least, you will be unable to work at full capacity. The simple fact is that those who file dog bite claims aren’t taking advantage of a situation. They’re merely trying to cover their medical expenses, lost income, and other damages suffered due to the attack.
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 dog bite attorney in Ventura to help you make a full recovery from your injuries.
What Are California’s Dog Bite Laws?
California is one of many states that impose strict liability on dog owners whose pets bite others. Strict liability refers to a legal theory where someone can become legally liable for certain types of harm — regardless of actions they took (or didn’t take) to prevent the harm. Within the context of dog bite cases, this means a dog owner is legally responsible for the injuries resulting from their pet biting another person. California Civil Code Section 3342 states that liability exists regardless of whether the owner knew their animal could engage in such behavior. Liability also exists even if the owner took steps to prevent dog bites from occurring.
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 if a personal injury case is filed. Second, if the victim was harassing or taunting the animal when they were bitten, they cannot sue for the dog bite injuries. Third, police and military dogs who cause a victim’s injuries during the course of their duties will not result in their owners facing liability or owing compensation.
California’s dog bite laws differ from earlier animal attack statutes, where the owner of the dog would only be legally responsible if they knew their pet had a propensity to bite others. This created a one-bite rule and meant that the owner was only legally liable for their animal’s second bite. In essence, the first bite served as notice to the owner that their dog had a propensity to hurt others. This led to a somewhat cynical saying among legal professionals that “the first bite is free,” but California has since updated its statutes to offer more protection for an attack victim in most cases.
What to Do After Suffering Dog Bite Injuries
If you suffer a serious dog bite injury, dial 9-1-1 or seek medical attention immediately. You can worry about a potential personal injury case later, but your first thought must be to avoid further damage and ensure any harm done doesn’t worsen. If possible, get as much information as you can about the dog’s owner. This is important because it’s the pet owner (and their insurance company) that will be legally responsible for paying for your injuries. After all, you can’t very well obtain compensation from the dog itself — but the courts can mandate monetary relief from the owner.
After things have settled down, you should report the dog bite. Ideally, you can do this with the appropriate animal control agency or department. Depending on where you live, however, you may need to report it to local law enforcement 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 missed (if applicable) because of your injuries from the animal attack.
You should also consider hiring a dog-bite attorney in Ventura to handle your personal injury case. In theory, the owner of the dog will have a homeowner’s insurance policy that can fully compensate you for your injuries and losses. But there is often dispute over the extent of the injuries or whether the victim provoked the attack. Therefore, you may be in for a lengthy battle with the dog owner’s insurance company. Additionally, even if the insurer cooperates and pays out, it may not be enough to fully compensate you. As a result, additional legal action may be required. In such situations, it’s nice to have a team of lawyers on your side to take that step if necessary.
Fortunately, you don’t have to guess how much compensation you’re entitled to. Murphy & Murphy Law Offices will provide a free consultation to help you better understand your rights and how to hold liable parties responsible.
What if I’m Bitten by a Dog on Private Property?
One of the biggest concerns of animal attack victims is whether they can get compensation for being bitten on private property. As discussed above, an attack that occurs while someone is trespassing in a private place will lead to no liability for the dog owner. It’s typically attacks that occur in a public place that result in successful personal injury claims. If the dog owner allowed you to be on their property, however, it’s a different case altogether.
The law firm you hire to represent your case should be able to easily prove you were legally allowed on the property. Phone records, social media messages, witness testimony, text exchanges, and a variety of other pieces of evidence can show you were not illegally on private property. If your Ventura injury lawyer presents these facts in court, it likely won’t matter that the attack didn’t occur in a public place. And when the insurer knows these facts, they’re more likely to offer a fair settlement to avoid trial.
The law is on your side in this situation, and many clients at Murphy & Murphy Law Offices have been able to recover compensation even when injured on private property.
Are You Looking for a Dog Bite Lawyer in Ventura, CA?
Dog bites can result in significant injuries that can take a long time to recover from. During this time, you may face substantial medical expenses, severe pain and suffering, and even lost wages from your employer. Whether your attack was relatively minor or led to permanent disfigurement, you deserve to receive compensation for the troubles you’re having to deal with. Dog bite lawyers cannot guarantee a specific outcome, but they can fight to ensure you get every penny you deserve.
That’s exactly what we’ll do at Murphy & Murphy Law Offices. We don’t believe individuals bitten by dogs should have to shell out money simply to know their rights. That’s why we will provide a free consultation to help you better understand your unique situation. We’ll strive to hold the dog owner responsible and help you get back to a semblance of normalcy. Contact us today by calling (805) 330-3393 — because you deserve to have a dog bite attorney in Ventura with your best interests in mind.