Costa Mesa Dog Bite Attorney
Dogs are popular pets throughout the United States, and many Costa Mesa residents own dogs. Unfortunately, while most dogs are well-behaved companions, dogs are also capable of inflicting severe injuries on people. Even seemingly harmless dogs are capable of biting and causing other wounds, including puncture wounds and injuries from knocking a victim to the ground.
Representing Dog Bite Victims in Costa Mesa, CA
If you or a loved one recently suffered a dog bite injury in Costa Mesa, CA, you likely have grounds for a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner. California state law enforces strict liability on dog owners whose pets injure others. A Costa Mesa dog bite attorney can help you hold the dog owner accountable and secure compensation for your damages.
Why You Need Legal Representation For A Dog Attack
When another person’s dog has injured you, it’s natural to assume that fault is obvious, and you may wonder whether you can simply hold the dog owner accountable on your own. While it is technically possible to file your personal injury claim without an attorney, this is not advisable for several reasons.
Even seemingly straightforward personal injury claims can evolve into very complicated legal battles when you do not have legal counsel on your side. Additionally, filing your claim involves many more procedural requirements than most people initially realize. As a result, you could make filing errors or other mistakes that may not only delay your collection of compensation but potentially jeopardize your case. You would also need to meet the procedural requirements of your case while managing the aftermath of your injuries.
Hiring an experienced Costa Mesa dog bite lawyer not only increases your chance of success with your claim but also provides you the freedom to rest and focus on your recovery while your legal team manages your case on your behalf. Your attorney will handle court filings and ensure you meet all required deadlines. In addition, they can provide you with timely updates during your recovery and provide the information you need to make informed decisions about your case. As a result, you not only have a better chance of winning your dog bite injury claim with the help of an attorney but will also likely secure much more compensation than you could have on your own.
Who Is Liable for a California Dog Bite Injury?
California upholds a strict liability rule for dog bite injuries. Some states have “one bite” rules and similar laws that offer legal protection to dog owners who have no idea their pets might attack people. In these states, dog owners can potentially escape liability for injuries their dogs cause. California’s strict liability law ensures that a dog owner is responsible for all damages their dog causes, regardless of whether the dog had any known history of aggression.
It’s essential to understand how the conditions for strict liability apply to a dog bite injury. These conditions pertain to the victim and the location where the incident occurred. First, the victim must have been lawfully present at the location of the dog attack. For example, walking in a public park or visiting private property with permission from the property owner. Strict liability does not apply when a dog attacks an intruder or trespasser on the dog owner’s private property. For example, if someone breaks into your home at night and your dog injures them, you would not be liable for their injuries since they were not legally present on your property.
Common Injuries From Dog Attacks
When most people think of dog attacks, they imagine painful bites. However, while a bite itself can be tremendously damaging, dogs can inflict many other injuries when they attack people. Some of the most commonly reported injuries from dog attacks include:
- Crushing injuries. Some dogs have powerful jaws, and their bites can not only inflict severe puncture wounds but also crush bones, tendons, and soft tissues. Some crushing injuries result in permanent nerve damage.
- Deep cuts and scratches. Dogs with sharp claws can easily cause lacerations, some of which can cause severe bleeding.
- Traumatic brain injuries. If a dog knocks a person to the ground and the victim hits their head, they may suffer tremendous brain injuries. Some brain injuries heal with rest and appropriate treatment, while others cause long-term or permanent medical conditions.
- Spinal injuries. A fall caused by a dog attack can also cause the victim to suffer spinal injuries. Depending on the location and severity of a spinal injury, the victim can suffer a host of problematic symptoms and may even develop paralysis or lost functionality in part of their body.
These are just a few examples of the injuries a dog attack may cause. If you or a loved one suffers a dog attack, it is essential to seek immediate medical care. Your physician can examine you to determine the full scope of your injuries and provide you with a report you may need for a subsequent personal injury claim.
Damages Claims For Dog Bites
Dog bites are excruciating injuries that can cause long-term damage to victims. Dog attacks are also highly traumatizing incidents. California state law allows personal injury victims to claim compensation for all damages resulting from a defendant’s negligence. In a dog bite injury case, this means the dog owner is liable for all of the victim’s damages resulting from the attack.
In a dog bite injury case, the plaintiff has the right to claim compensation for all the medical treatment they require. This includes short-term medical expenses like hospital bills and any long-term medical expenses they incur. For example, if the dog bit their hand and caused crushing injuries, they may require extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation to restore range of motion. Therefore, the plaintiff could claim compensation for their initial hospital bills and their long-term treatment costs.
A dog bite injury claim can also compensate for lost income if the victim cannot work due to their injuries. In addition, if the victim cannot return to their previous job due to a permanent medical condition caused by the incident, they have the right to claim compensation for their lost earning capacity.
Dog bites are also painful and traumatizing experiences. California personal injury laws allow plaintiffs to recover compensation for pain and suffering. The amount received hinges on the extent of the plaintiff’s physical injuries and the unique details of the incident. For example, a plaintiff who suffered life-threatening injuries in an attack by a large and aggressive dog would likely receive much more in pain and suffering compensation than a victim who only sustained a bite to their hand.
Proving Fault for a Dog Bite Injury
Every personal injury claim filed in California revolves around the concept of “negligence” or a failure to exercise reasonable care in a given situation. When it comes to California’s strict liability rule for dog bite injuries, the victim of a dog bite does not necessarily need to prove the dog owner was negligent, only that they were lawfully present where the dog attack occurred. They did not provoke the dog to attack in any way. However, suppose a dog owner was negligent in handling their dog. In that case, they will not only face strict liability for the victim’s damages but may face additional liability due to their failure to exercise reasonable care.
Provocation can be a difficult concept for some dog bite injury claims. It’s natural for dog owners to look for reasons their pet may have attacked someone, so a dog owner may attempt to claim that the victim of a dog bite provoked the dog in some way. If an investigation determines the victim did provoke the dog somehow, this will influence their case and potentially their compensation.
California enforces a pure comparative negligence statute. This law states that a plaintiff who is partially responsible for causing their claimed damages still has the right to compensation. However, they lose a percentage of their case award equal to their percentage of fault for causing their damages. For example, if a plaintiff did provoke a dog in any way, the judge overseeing the case would likely assign the plaintiff a fault percentage based on the severity of their actions. Therefore, a plaintiff can absorb partial liability for provoking a dog even if they did not realize their actions might provoke the dog to attack.
When comparative negligence comes into play, a plaintiff could lose a substantial portion of their case award. For example, if a plaintiff seeks $200,000 in damages, but the judge assigns them 10% fault, they lose 10% of their case award and receive $180,000 instead.
What to Expect From Your Lawyer
An experienced Costa Mesa dog bite lawyer is an invaluable asset if you or a loved one recently suffered injuries from someone else’s dog. Whether you know you did nothing wrong or have concerns about comparative negligence coming into play in your case, your attorney will help you gather the evidence you need to prove liability for your damages. They can also assist in proving the full extent of your damages.
Many personal injury plaintiffs in California are surprised to discover their cases are worth much more than they initially expected once they secure legal counsel. Your attorney can also help you navigate your case with greater confidence by providing the answers you need to your most important legal questions.
California Dog Bite FAQs
The attorneys at Chris and Frank strive to help our prospective Costa Mesa clients understand how dog bite cases work. Review the following frequently asked questions to learn more about what you can expect in a dog bite injury case.
Q: How Much Is a Dog Bite Lawsuit Worth?
A: This is one of the plaintiffs’ most common questions about their injury claims. Every dog bite injury case is unique, and every plaintiff will have a different experience. Your compensation could include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and additional damages depending on the details of how the dog attack occurred.
Q: Is It Worth Suing for a Dog Bite?
A: If you only suffered a minor dog bite that does not demand medical attention, you may not need to take legal action. However, if you suffered any serious injury that required a trip to the hospital or if you experienced substantial trauma from the event, it’s a good idea to consult a Costa Mesa dog bite lawyer to discuss your options for legal recourse. California upholds a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, so you have two years from the date of your dog bite injury to take legal action against the dog’s owner.
Q: Can I Claim Compensation for a Dog Bite?
A: California’s personal injury law allows a plaintiff to claim compensation for all damages caused by a defendant’s negligence. Your Costa Mesa dog bite attorney can help you calculate the full extent of your claimable damages. However, you can only file a personal injury claim if you suffered actual harm.
Q: Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering for a Dog Bite?
A: Dog bites are physically painful and psychologically traumatizing. A good attorney can help their client obtain compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and psychological trauma resulting from a dog bite. The amount received hinges on the severity of the experience. A dog attack resulting in life-threatening injuries and permanent medical complications will yield substantial pain and suffering compensation.
Find Legal Counsel Now
Time is a critical factor in any personal injury case. While it’s natural to feel lost and uncertain in the aftermath of a personal injury, it’s vital to understand your rights and your options for legal recourse after a damaging personal injury like a dog attack. The sooner you secure legal counsel, the better your chances are of making the fullest recovery possible.
Chris and Frank’s attorneys understand how devastating dog attacks can be for victims and their families. If you have suffered significant damages from your experience, you need to take swift legal action before these losses compound into greater financial troubles for your family. We can provide the answers you need to your most important legal questions and guide you through the personal injury claim process. Contact Chris and Frank today to consult with an experienced and compassionate Costa Mesa dog bite lawyer.
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