If you sustained injuries from a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. At OnderLaw, LLC, our Newport Beach personal injury attorneys know the pain and complications a dog bite can cause. You could get an infection, suffer significant nerve damage, or worse.
Although some dogs don’t seem dangerous, even the teeth of smaller dogs are sharp enough to break the skin and puncture the muscle. Big dogs can also knock you to the ground causing additional injuries. According to research reports, 4.5 million dog bites occur every year, and 800,000 of those require medical treatment.
With the help of OnderLaw, LLC, you could hold the dog owner liable for the injuries you suffered and seek the compensation you need to pay for your medical treatment, lost wages, and other expenses.
Our attorneys also understand that, in many instances, the dog owner may be a friend or even a relative. It’s important for you to know that, in almost all dog bite cases, it is the pet owner’s homeowners’ insurance company that will cover the compensation you need, not the pet owner themselves.
Don’t suffer the physical and financial strain of a dog bite injury on your own. An experienced and dedicated Newport Beach dog bite lawyer can help you navigate your dog bite case and achieve your legal goals. Call us today at (314) 963-9000 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Start Building Your Case Immediately After the Dog Bite Occurs
Following your dog bite injury, there are various steps you should take to protect your right to compensation, whether you choose to file an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Secure the dog. Don’t let it run away if it’s a stray. If the owner is nearby, inform them that their dog bit you and get their name and phone number. You should also ask for vital information about the dog, such as its breed, age, and recent vaccinations.
File an incident report. Notify the manager if you are on commercial property and ask them to complete an incident report. Request a copy to keep for your records. You should also ask them for their liability insurance information so you can file a claim.
Notify animal control. Call animal control. When they arrive, they will investigate and could petition for a hearing if they think the dog poses a threat to the public.
Seek medical care. Go to the doctor for an evaluation of your injuries. If necessary, get an ambulance ride to the hospital. Follow the doctor’s recommended treatment plan until you recover.
Hire an attorney. Contact a Newport Beach dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to represent you in your case. They will help you gather evidence to support your case for compensation, and they’ll ensure you don’t miss any crucial deadlines.
Dog Bite Laws In California
California follows a strict liability law when it comes to dog bites. Pet owners can become financially responsible for the injured individual’s losses if the bite occurs in a public place or on public property where the visitor is legally entitled to be.
If a dog attacked you, but it did not bite you, you may not be entitled to compensation under the strict liability dog bite law. For example, the owner cannot be held accountable if you suffer a traumatic brain injury after a dog charges at you and you fall to the ground. However, you might have the option to seek legal action if you can prove negligence in that instance.
Proving negligence means you must show evidence that the owner:
- Had a duty to use reasonable care in controlling their dog;
- They failed in their duty; and
- Their negligence directly caused your injury.
Reasonable care could include using a leash, confining the dog to a fenced-in property, or taking extra precautions if it has a history of attacking people.
Common Injuries Caused by Dog Bites
Dog attacks can lead to various injuries and levels of severity. You could suffer a minor laceration that heals after a few weeks or end up with significant scarring or permanent disfigurement.
Common injuries associated with dog bites and attacks include:
- Facial scarring
- Nerve damage
- Puncture wounds and lacerations
- Injuries to limbs and extremities
- Amputated digits
- Psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Torn muscle or soft tissue
Dog bites require urgent medical attention to avoid serious infections that could result in the loss of a limb. Some injuries don’t heal entirely and might require lifelong treatment to manage pain and improve mobility.
If you end up with a physical disability or impairment, you could seek compensation from the dog owner or their insurance company to compensate you for your present and future medical costs, as well as your other losses.
How to Maximize the Value of Your Case
Insurance companies’ first priority is their bottom line. If you don’t have an experienced Newport Beach dog bite lawyer by your side, they might try to take advantage of you. They could persuade you to sign a form that prevents you from pursuing the maximum insurance coverage available. They might pressure you into accepting a low settlement offer so they can close out the claim and move onto the next one.
OnderLaw, LLC will not allow that to happen. We know the tactics used by insurance companies to deny claims and offer lowball settlements. We will ensure they don’t mistreat you, and we will aggressively seek the maximum compensation available.
There are two main types of monetary damages, or compensation, you could incur after a dog bite: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include expenses and other losses that come with a monetary value, such as:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Out of pocket costs
- Medical bills
Non-economic damages include intangible losses that can be difficult to calculate, such as:
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
Your Newport Beach dog bite lawyer will review your damages and other factors associated with your case to determine how much compensation you should receive from the insurance company. Some of the factors we might consider include:
- The total cost of medical bills
- The severity of the injury
- Duration of the recovery period
- Type of medical providers handling the treatment
- Whether there was a permanent injury, disfigurement, or disability
- Effect of the incident on daily life
- Prescriptions required to manage symptoms or relieve pain
- Availability of evidence proving fault
- Inability to return to work or earn usual wages
- The estimated value of necessary treatment in the future
Our legal team will leverage our resources, knowledge, and skills to thoroughly investigate your dog bite incident and gather evidence that supports your case. We know that the insurance company wants to save money and look for any reason to deny your claim. Our job is to submit evidence that proves the dog owner’s liability and that you are entitled to financial compensation for the trauma you experienced.
Can I File a Lawsuit?
Yes. If the insurance company of the dog owner fails to offer you the settlement you deserve in an injury claim, you may wish to file a lawsuit. In order to successfully file a lawsuit, you must comply with California’s civil statute of limitations. It is a strict two-year deadline, and if it passes before you file your lawsuit, you could lose your right to seek compensation in this legal matter.
Lawsuits are complicated, but a Newport Beach dog bite lawyer can guide you through every step of the case. At OnderLaw, LLC, we have decades of experience litigating cases and aggressively pursuing compensation for our clients in court. We never back down from a fight and will advocate for your rights, so you won’t have to bear the weight of your medical costs on your own.
You can pursue more than just economic and non-economic damages when you file a lawsuit in California. You might be able to recover punitive damages as well. This award is also called exemplary damages, and instead of compensating an injured victim for their losses, it’s intended to punish the defendant for their actions.
A jury will only award you with punitive damages if you can provide clear and convincing evidence that the dog owner acted with:
- Malice – Conduct intending to cause another person harm, or with conscious and willful disregard of someone else’s safety or rights;
- Oppression – Conscious disregard of another person’s rights that subjects them to cruel and unjust hardship; or
- Fraud – Intentional deceit, concealment, or misrepresentation of material facts to deprive someone of their legal rights or property or to cause injury.
Contact a Dedicated Newport Beach Dog Bite Lawyer Today
OnderLaw, LLC has recovered over $3.5 billion for our clients since opening in 2002. We know that a dog bite can upend your life, and you want to move forward as soon as possible. When you hire us, we will thoroughly review your case, come up with the right legal strategy for you, and execute it efficiently to help you get the compensation you need to heal and put this traumatic ordeal behind you.