Representing Dog Bite Victims in Orange County, CA
Dogs have been regarded as “man’s best friend” for many generations, but unfortunately, dogs can inflict severe injuries to people in certain situations. For example, a dog attack can be both painful and traumatizing, and a dog bite can result in long-term medical complications or even permanent disabilities for the victim. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries from a dog in Orange County, it’s natural to wonder whether you can hold the dog’s owner accountable for your damages. An Orange County dog bite lawyer can provide the legal guidance you need to determine your best avenue of recovery after this type of incident.
Chris and Frank are accomplished Orange County attorneys who have years of experience handling complicated personal injury claims. We understand the severe damages a dog attack can cause for victims and their families and the lasting trauma these incidents often cause. When you choose Chris and Frank as your Orange County dog bite attorneys, our goal is to maximize your recovery so you and your family can recover from the incident with peace of mind.
Is It Worth Suing for a Dog Bite?
If any other party causes an injury or economic loss to you or a loved one, California law allows you to hold them accountable with a personal injury claim. If a negligent dog owner failed to prevent their dog from injuring you, you should not have to shoulder the cost of their negligence. It is always worth exercising your legal rights after suffering an injury caused by someone else, and hiring an experienced Orange County dog bite lawyer is likely your best option after a dog attack.
You may wonder whether the damages you experienced qualify for legal action. Some dog attacks only result in minor injuries. For example, your neighbor’s dog nips your hand or foot, and the injury does not require any medical treatment beyond what you can manage from your home’s medicine cabinet. The pain subsides in short order, and your everyday life is virtually unaffected by the experience. In this situation, you probably don’t need to file a lawsuit against your neighbor. However, suppose a dog attack results in severe injuries, which in turn generate substantial medical costs. In that case, you should exercise your rights under California law and hold the dog owner accountable for your losses.
Why Would I Need to Hire an Attorney for Dog Bites?
If you suffered injuries in a dog attack and the dog’s owner is responsible for the incident, you may wonder whether you need to hire an attorney to hold them accountable for your losses. Even if your case seems perfectly straightforward, it is essential to understand the value an experienced Orange County dog bite lawyer can provide in this situation.
The average person with no legal training or professional legal experience would likely struggle to navigate the complex civil court system. Doing so while simultaneously managing the aftermath of a dog attack will be even more difficult. Making even slight procedural errors with your claim could lead to significant delays, or worse, a judge may throw your claim out on a technicality before it ever really begins.
Even if you do manage to see your way through your claim unassisted, you are likely to overlook various channels of compensation and could unintentionally settle for much less than you deserve. So instead of risking your recovery or putting yourself through further stress after a traumatic dog attack, have an experienced Orange County dog bite lawyer manage your case on your behalf.
How Much Do Dog Bite Attorneys Cost?
Many attorneys charge for their services by the hour and bill their time working on a client’s case in 10- or 15-minute increments. When you multiply an attorney’s hourly rate by the time typically required to fully complete a case, this can amount to substantial legal fees. However, most personal injury attorneys throughout the US use a different system because they realize that the average person cannot afford to spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees when they are already facing financial problems from an injury.
If you are concerned about the cost of legal fees, Chris and Frank offer contingency fee billing, which means our clients pay nothing upfront and only pay legal fees once we win their cases. Your attorneys’ fees will be a percentage of your case award, ensuring you receive appropriate compensation while taking full advantage of the benefits that professional legal counsel provides during a personal injury case.
Who Is Responsible for a Dog Bite in California?
California enforces a strict liability rule for dog attacks. This means that a dog’s owner is strictly liable for all injuries their dog causes another person. California state law requires all dog owners to exercise reasonable control over their pets. When a dog bites a person, the victim has the right to file a personal injury claim to secure compensation for their losses as long as they were lawfully present where the attack took place. This might include public property, such as the sidewalk or in a public park, or private property if the victim had permission to be on the property.
It’s important to note that dog owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers and illegal interlopers on their private property. For example, suppose someone illegally enters a dog owner’s home without the owner’s permission, and the dog bites and injures them. In that case, the intruder will not have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the dog owner since they were not legally present where the attack occurred.
It is also vital to understand how California’s pure comparative negligence law works in personal injury claims. This statute upholds that a plaintiff may still recover compensation for losses in a personal injury claim even if they are partially responsible for causing their damages. The judge overseeing the case would evaluate the plaintiff’s behavior and assign a fault percentage based on their actions. The plaintiff then loses a percentage of their case award equal to their percentage of fault for causing the incident in question. For example, if a plaintiff seeks $200,000 in damages, but the judge determines they are 50% at fault, they lose 50% of their case award and receive $100,000 instead.
Regarding dog attack lawsuits, a plaintiff could face comparative negligence if they did anything to provoke the dog into attacking. This could include attacking the owner or attacking the dog itself. If you are unsure whether you could face comparative negligence for your dog bite claim, it is essential to speak with an experienced Orange County dog bite lawyer as soon as possible about your situation.
Damages and Compensation for a Dog Bite Injuries Claim in Orange County
California’s personal injury statutes allow a plaintiff to claim compensation for all damages resulting from a defendant’s negligence. Unfortunately, when it comes to dog bite cases, dog attacks can result in numerous possible injuries, including:
- Bites. Dog bites are extremely painful, and if a dog bites and does not let go immediately, it can cause severe puncture wounds, crushing injuries, broken bones, and nerve damage. These injuries can also result in permanent scarring.
- Deep scratches and cuts. Dogs’ claws are sharper than many people realize, and even regularly trimmed dog claws can inflict severe scratching injuries, many of which can cause severe bleeding and require multiple stitches.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Large dogs can easily knock people to the ground. If a dog unexpectedly lunges at a person and the person falls over, they may hit their head on the ground and suffer a traumatic brain injury. Some brain injuries will heal completely, while others can result in permanent disabilities.
- Leg, hip, and knee injuries. Dogs that attack the lower body can cause damage to the joints of the legs, and if a dog knocks a person down, the person may hit their legs quite hard and sustain damage to their joints.
- Soft tissue injuries. When a dog attacks and clamps down on the victim, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the body are especially vulnerable to crushing and tearing. Some of these injuries may require surgical correction and result in permanent disability.
In addition to these physical injuries and the associated pain, dog attacks are also psychologically traumatizing, and the injuries a victim suffers could result in permanent scarring.
California state law allows the dog attack victim to sue the dog’s owner for their medical expenses resulting from the incident. This includes immediate medical expenses like hospital bills and ambulance fees and long-term medical expenses resulting from the attack. For example, a severe dog bite may require multiple surgeries, and the victim may need physical therapy to regain function and range of motion.
Severe dog attacks can also force the victim to stay home from work while they recover. The victim can sue the dog owner for lost income during this time. If a dog attack results in catastrophic injuries that prevent the victim from returning to work at all in the future, an Orange County dog bite lawyer can help the victim sue the dog owner for their lost future earning capacity.
California law also allows personal injury plaintiffs to hold defendants accountable for their physical pain, emotional distress, and trauma resulting from a dog attack. While it may sound hard to quantify an abstract concept like “pain and suffering” in a monetary figure, your Orange County dog bite lawyer can use several methods to determine an appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation to include in your lawsuit.
If you suffered very painful injuries, but you are expected to eventually make a full recovery, your attorney may seek “per diem” compensation that awards a specific amount of money per day until you reach maximum medical recovery. It is also possible for your attorney to seek a larger lump sum in pain and suffering compensation. This is more likely if you developed any permanent damage from the dog attack. Your attorney would likely multiply your claimed economic damages by a factor of two to five or even more, depending on the severity of the long-term effects you experienced.
What Happens to the Dog After a Dog Bite Case?
It’s natural to have concerns about what might happen with the dog who injured you after your experience. In most cases, nothing happens with the dog in question aside from a few days of quarantine. The court may require that the dog undergo a medical examination to rule out infectious diseases. However, if the dog has a history of attacking people or caused particularly brutal injuries, the local animal control authority may require the dog to remain in confinement or, in extreme cases, be destroyed.
How An Orange County, California Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
A dog attack is a painful and traumatic experience, and there is no reason you should be left paying for the aftermath if your damages resulted from a dog owner’s negligence. Chris and Frank can provide the comprehensive, responsive, and meticulous legal counsel you need to confidently navigate a dog bite claim.
Some dog attacks involve complex questions of liability, and it is common for dog owners to claim that the victims of their dogs’ attacks provoked the attacks or otherwise bear comparative negligence. We can consult expert witnesses to support your case if necessary, whether you require their input to establish liability for your losses or prove the exact extent of your losses in court.
We will thoroughly review the details of your dog attack and help you gather whatever evidence is necessary to establish the dog owner’s liability for your damages. You can also rely on our team to help you calculate the full scope of your claimable damages to maximize your recovery. If you are ready to discuss your legal options with an experienced team of Orange County dog bite lawyers, contact Chris and Frank today to schedule your consultation and find out how our firm can assist with your recovery.
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