If you suffered a dog bite injury, you might be entitled to compensation from the dog’s owner. The Orange County personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw could represent you in your case and help you hold them liable for the costs you incurred. You deserve to be compensated for the losses you suffered if your actions didn’t contribute to the attack. You should not be forced to pay out-of-pocket expenses for the medical care you need.

Dog attacks can result in severe injuries and even death. Children can suffer fatal injuries from a dog bite. The teeth are sharp and can easily tear through the skin and damage nerves, tendons, muscles, and bone. In some situations, infections develop and cause life-threatening problems.

At OnderLaw, our Orange County dog bite lawyers have experience holding dog owners liable for the injuries their dogs cause and can help you recover the maximum available compensation. We will remain by your side and fight for the justice you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation and learn more about the services we offer.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

How to handle the aftermath of a dog attack might not be clear. Most people don’t know the steps they need to take to pursue compensation or who should be financially responsible for their medical treatment, lost wages, and other losses. That’s where an experienced and knowledgeable Orange County dog bite lawyer can step in.

Seeking legal representation is one of the best decisions you can make after sustaining a dog bite injury. You’ll need the guidance of someone with investigation experience that also has the resources to obtain critical evidence. Handling an insurance claim or lawsuit alone will likely result in a dismissed case or much less compensation than you deserve.

In addition, if the dog who bit you belongs to a friend or family member, you may be fearful that asking them for money to pay for your medical bills will damage your relationship. When you hire a lawyer, you take yourself out of the immediate equation. Your lawyer could negotiate with your friend’s homeowner’s insurance company on your behalf, preserving your relationship.

Common Causes of Dog Bite Injuries

Although some dogs attack without any provocation, there are times when they might feel scared and bite out of fear or feel threatened and attack to protect themselves. The most common causes of dog bite injuries are:

  • Playing – Some dogs play rough. They might not realize their own strength or how hard they’re biting someone. If they get too excited and lunge for a toy, they could accidentally bite the person’s hand or fingers.
  • Pain and disease – Even if a dog isn’t violent, it could suffer an injury or develop an illness that causes them pain. If you touch them in a sensitive spot, they might turn around and bite you.
  • Perceived threats – Even if you’re not approaching a dog aggressively, they might think you’re a threat to them in some way and attack to protect themselves.
  • Possessiveness over treats and toys – Dogs can be very territorial, especially when it comes to their food and favorite toys. They might jump up and clamp down on your hand while attempting to grab a toy or treat you’re holding.
  • Becoming startled – If you sneak up on a dog or pet them suddenly without warning, they could become startled and attack out of fear.

If your actions didn’t contribute to your injury during the dog attack, you deserve compensation for the total losses you suffered. That could include surgery, prescription medications, physical therapy, and hospital admissions. The dog’s owner could be held accountable for their dog’s actions, even if they had no warning beforehand that the dog would bite.

Common Injuries Suffered from Dog Bites

During an attack, the dog can scratch, bite, and knock you to the ground. The initial injury you suffer isn’t your only concern. You could develop a deadly infection requiring additional medical care. If left untreated, you could be at risk of organ failure or even death.

The most common injuries associated with dog bites include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Torn ligaments and tendons
  • Broken bones in the feet and hands
  • Puncture wounds
  • Facial scarring or disfigurement
  • Eye injuries
  • Psychological trauma
  • Muscle and tissue damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Amputated fingers

Any dog bite injury could result in a complication that puts your health or life at risk. Common complications include:

  • Sepsis – Sepsis occurs when the body overreacts to an infection and aggressively attacks it. If you don’t seek immediate treatment, it could lead to organ failure, tissue damage, and death.
  • Tetanus – Tetanus causes a range of debilitating symptoms, such as seizures, muscle pain, headaches, and fever. Bacteria from the dog’s mouth can enter an open wound and cause tetanus.
  • MRSA – Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus is a challenge for doctors to treat because the bacteria is resistant to many antibiotics. This infection causes skin irritation, blisters, and abscesses. In serious cases, it spreads throughout the body and can affect the lungs, heart, bloodstream, and joints.
  • Rabies – Rabies is a viral disease dogs can spread to humans through their saliva. It affects the central nervous system and can lead to fatal brain diseases. Common symptoms of rabies include headache, fever, confusion, agitation, and weakness.
  • Pasteurella – Bacterial organisms live in a dog’s mouth and enter a person’s skin through a bite injury. Cellulitis, a serious skin infection, could develop from pasteurella.

Some dog bite injuries are minor and might require some shots to prevent rabies or tetanus. Others are more severe and could need surgery to repair damaged nerves and tendons. In life-threatening situations, amputation surgery is necessary to stop an infection from spreading throughout the body.

What Compensation Is Available?

You could hold the dog’s owner liable for the injury you suffered during the attack. California is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. That means the owner becomes responsible for the injured party’s resulting losses. As long as you were lawfully on someone’s private or public property and didn’t do anything to contribute to the attack, you could pursue the total value of your losses from the accident.

The losses you could seek compensation for might include:

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

The circumstances of the incident will determine how you can recover compensation. If you were at someone’s private home when the attack occurred, you could file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance company. If their policy covers dog bite injuries, you might be able to obtain money for the losses you suffered.

Business and property owners might purchase general liability insurance to cover a guest’s medical expenses and other costs if there’s an injury on their property. You could file a claim with their insurance company and hold them liable for the incident.

You also have the option of filing a lawsuit against the liable party. California follows a two-year statute of limitations. This is a strict timeframe you must follow if you want to sue the dog’s owner or someone else for the injuries you sustained. You must file suit within two years of the date of the incident, or you could lose your right to pursue compensation.

What to Do After a Dog Attack

A dog attack is a traumatic experience. Even if your physical injuries heal, you could be left with emotional or psychological damage that lasts a lifetime. Post-traumatic stress disorder and a phobia of dogs are common after dog bites.

After a dog attack, the steps you take could determine whether you have a right to recover compensation from the dog’s owner. First, you need to seek medical treatment. If the owner is a stranger, be sure to obtain their contact information before going to the hospital. The doctor should clean up the wound and evaluate the injuries you sustained. If they recommend follow-up care, follow their instructions.

Hire an Orange County dog bite lawyer to build your case and handle the legal process. If you’re in pain and struggling to afford your medical bills, the last thing you want to deal with is an insurance claim or lawsuit. OnderLaw can take on the responsibility so you can focus on healing. We will investigate the incident, speak to witnesses, gather evidence, and seek the compensation you need to cover your losses.

Maintain any evidence associated with your case, such as:

  • Surgical reports
  • Imaging test results
  • Doctor bills
  • Insurance company letters
  • Photos of visible injuries and personal items damaged during the attack
  • Hospital and medical records

We have the resources necessary to collect all the evidence we need to prove what happened but if you receive any documents during your ongoing case, forward them to us.

Why Choose OnderLaw?

Our Orange County dog bite lawyers care about our clients. This has been a devastating experience and one that you probably want to put behind you as soon as possible. We will make you a priority and start working on your case immediately after you hire us. We provide personalized attention and services to meet your needs. You will have a dedicated legal team in your corner to advocate for your rights.

OnderLaw puts forth the same amount of effort for every case we take, whether big or small. We will maintain open communication throughout the whole process so you always know the status of your case and what to expect next.

Contact Us

OnderLaw is available 24/7 to speak to you about your case. If you sustained a dog bite injury in Orange County, call us immediately for a free consultation. Let us help you pursue the maximum compensation you deserve and get you on the road to recovery.