Whether a dog is big or small, it could cause significant physical harm if it bites someone. The Oakland personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw have seen the lasting effects of a dog attack and how it can upend a person’s entire life. You should not be financially responsible for your injuries if the dog’s owner was at fault for the incident. We could represent you in your case and pursue the compensation you need to pay your medical bills and other expenses.

Dog bite injuries can range from minor to severe. However, even if there’s minimal damage, you could develop an infection or another complication that causes severe medical issues. You could also suffer psychological damage from the attack that lasts for years or the rest of your life. Some people become disabled or lose a limb if the injury is debilitating. It can result in financial strain if you can’t afford the costs associated with the attack.

The Oakland dog bite lawyers of OnderLaw are ready to take on the negligent dog owner and hold them liable for their actions. Call us for a free consultation to learn how we can help you get on the road to recovery.

How Dog Bites Occur

Sometimes, dogs attack people when they feel provoked. Other times, the dog is inherently aggressive or dangerous and might bite someone invading their space. The most common reasons dog bites happen are:

  • Possessiveness – Dogs sometimes feel possessive over their food or toys. Anyone attempting to take those things away from them could suffer severe injuries if the dog lunges at them to protect their belongings.
  • Playing – Dogs enjoy playing with people and other animals. However, the fun can turn into a dangerous situation if the dog plays too rough and unintentionally clamps down on someone’s hand.
  • Diseases – When a dog is sick or in pain, it might become aggressive or attack if someone pets it on a sensitive part of its body.
  • Fear – Dogs instinctively protect themselves if they feel threatened. If you pet them without warning or sneak up behind them, they might become fearful and bite you as a way to defend themselves.
  • Maternal instincts – Females will do whatever it takes to protect their babies. If the mother dog perceives you as a threat when you’re approaching their babies, they could attack to keep them safe.

You have a right to seek compensation if your actions didn’t contribute to the dog bite injury. You shouldn’t be forced to pay for anything out of pocket. A dog owner becomes liable for an injured person’s losses if they were at fault for the incident.

Common Injuries Suffered in Dog Attacks

When a dog attacks someone, it could knock the person to the ground, bite various body parts, and cause a variety of different injuries. Some of them are only minor and don’t require much medical attention. However, severe injuries need emergency medical care and ongoing treatment to heal.

A dog’s jaw is strong enough to puncture a person’s skin and damage nerves, tendons, and muscles. Dogs also carry bacteria in their mouths that can lead to infections if they bite someone.

The most common injuries dog attacks can cause are:

  • Torn muscles and tendons
  • Nerve damage
  • Broken bones in the fingers, toes, feet, and hands
  • Eye injuries
  • Facial disfigurement and scarring
  • Internal bleeding
  • Neck and head injuries
  • Puncture wounds
  • Psychological injuries, such as fear of dogs and post-traumatic stress disorder

When recovering from a dog bite, the initial injury isn’t the only worrying factor. You could develop an infection or suffer additional complications. The most common medical issues resulting from dog attacks are:

  • Tetanus – Bacteria can enter a person’s wound and cause headaches, muscle pain, fever, and seizures.
  • Sepsis – Sepsis occurs when the body has an extreme response to fighting off an infection.
  • Rabies – This viral infection can enter and spread throughout a person’s body if a dog bites them and breaks the skin.
  • MRSA – MRSA is a complicated bacterial infection to treat. It can cause boils, abscesses, blisters, and skin irritation.
  • Pasteurella – Dogs can carry this type of bacteria in their saliva. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pasteurella can be found in 75% of dog bite injuries.

Injuries from a dog attack can become life-threatening if you don’t seek proper medical care. Even if your visible injury doesn’t seem that bad, you could have underlying problems that are difficult to spot unless you see a doctor. That’s why it’s critical to go to the hospital immediately after a dog attack so a doctor can evaluate your condition and determine the right treatment plan.

Dog Laws/Regulations in California

California follows strict liability when determining who’s at fault for a dog bite. If you didn’t do anything to provoke the dog and were lawfully on private or public property, you could pursue a case against the owner and hold them liable for your losses. It also doesn’t matter if the dog has behaved viciously in the past or if the owner was aware of their dog’s viciousness before the attack.

Local ordinances prohibit any dog from running at large. That means they cannot roam free while on public property. The owner must use a leash no more than six feet long and securely attach it to a harness or collar. Tethers and chain leashes are not allowed. If the dog is on private property, it must remain in an enclosed area and have permission from the property owner to be off-leash.

If a person’s dog bites someone, they must provide their contact information and dog’s license tag number within 48 hours of the incident. They are also required to provide information on the status of all vaccinations received by their dog.

Compensation for a Dog Bite

You might be entitled to compensation if you suffered injuries during a dog attack. Most victims know the owner of the dog that injured them. It could be a friend, family member, or neighbor. Although this can be a tricky situation, if you suffered injuries at their home, you could file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance company. That way, you’re not suing your friend for compensation directly. However, you must request a copy of the policy to determine if there’s coverage for dog bites. Most insurance companies offer it, but many people choose not to include it in their policy.

If you can file an insurance claim, you could seek compensation for the losses you suffered, such as:

  • Damaged personal property
  • Past and future medical costs
  • Physical impairment or disfigurement
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity

If you were on public property at the time of the dog bite, you might be able to file a claim with the business owner’s insurance company. Many people purchase general liability insurance to compensate for an injured person’s losses. Determining who owns the property and the available insurance coverage can be a challenge. Hiring an Oakland dog bite attorney from OnderLaw would help you since we know how to investigate cases like this to discover who should be held liable.

You also have the option of filing a civil lawsuit. Civil lawsuits are different than criminal cases. When you pursue a civil lawsuit, you’re attempting to recover your monetary losses. In a criminal case, the goal is to reach a guilty verdict, so the defendant serves time in prison or pays a fine.

Statute of Limitations on Dog Bite Claims

If you want to sue the dog’s owner for your injuries, you must follow the statute of limitations, which is a strict timeframe for pursuing legal action against another person. The statute of limitations in California is two years. That means you must file your lawsuit within two years of the attack if you want to seek compensation for your past and future losses.

The only exceptions to this rule that could extend the timeframe are:

  • The defendant is out of state. The clock would pause temporarily and start again once the defendant returns.
  • You were under 18 when the incident occurred. You would have two years from the date you turn 18 to file your lawsuit.

It can take a while to prepare a lawsuit. Even though two years might seem like enough time, multiple factors could delay the process. It’s critical that you hire an Oakland dog bite lawyer immediately after suffering an injury to begin preparing your case.

Why Choose OnderLaw?

OnderLaw has a legal team that will work together towards a positive result in your case. We will put your needs first. We’re here to guide you through the complicated procedures of claims and lawsuits and address any concerns you may have. We never make false promises or pressure our clients into making decisions they’re not ready to make. Our goal is to work towards your goals, so you feel satisfied with the outcome we reach.

Our track record of success speaks for itself. We hold an AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell and have received awards from multiple legal organizations, such as Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We’re proud of the reputation we’ve been able to build over the years and strive to maintain it.

Contact Us

At OnderLaw, our Oakland dog bite attorneys have recovered over $3.5 billion in settlements and awards for accident victims since 2002. We always fight hard for our clients and seek the justice they deserve. When you hire us, we will tirelessly work to hold the dog owner accountable for their careless actions and recover the compensation you need to heal your injuries.

Call us for a free consultation if you suffered injuries from a dog attack in Oakland.