Have you or someone you love been bitten by a dog in Sacramento? Did this attack cause you serious or costly injuries? If so, you should consider speaking to the Sacramento personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw about filing an injury claim or lawsuit for compensation.

If your dog bite was caused by another party’s negligence, call today for a free consultation, and let us help you get the compensation you deserve after a dog bite.

How Dog Bites Occur

Sacramento is a dog-friendly city. From the hotels to museums and restaurants, dog owners are spoiled for choice if they want to take their canine companion with them to see the sights. But if they haven’t taken the time to socialize their pets or, worse, decide to leave the leash at home, it can spell disaster for everyone involved.

Dog bites can happen anywhere, even while the dog is safely behind a fence or on a leash. Even the most mild-mannered dog can react violently if surprised or provoked, leading to serious injuries that affect not just you but the dog and the owner as well. Once a dog has bitten or attacked someone twice, any person or the district attorney can bring an action against the owner for damages, which can include removing the dog from the owner’s care.

California leads the nation in the number of dog bite claims, cost per claim, and the total overall value of claims. Dog bites are a real problem here, and if you or someone you love has been bitten or attacked, you have options for recovering compensation.

Common Injuries Suffered in Dog Attacks in Sacramento

Even small dogs can cause serious injury or harm. Some of the more common injuries we see related to dog bites include the following:

  • Puncture wounds. Puncture wounds are probably the most common injury from dog attacks and occur when the dog’s teeth puncture your skin.
  • Crushing injuries. Even if a dog’s teeth don’t puncture your skin, the force exerted by their jaws is enormous and can easily crush bone and cartilage.
  • Infections. Infections from dog bites, like rabies or tetanus, can have more severe consequences than the injuries themselves if left untreated.
  • Lacerations. Cuts or tears in the skin from dog bites can be serious and painful.
  • Abrasions. Scrapes sustained from a dog attack or from escaping an attacking dog are common.
  • Avulsions. “Avulsion” is a tearing away of tissue from the body, such as when a dog tears away a flap of a person’s cheek or removes an ear or digit in an attack.
  • Nerve damage. When dogs bite, they can sometimes hold on to the victim with such force that their teeth damage nerve tissue, leading to loss of feeling or numbness in the affected body part or beyond.
  • Disfigurement and scarring. The bite of a frightened or provoked dog can result in permanent disfigurement or scarring that may require surgery to correct.

Dog Laws and Regulations in California

In California, the dog’s owner is liable for any and all injuries suffered after their dog bites someone, regardless of whether they are on public or private property and regardless of whether the dog has bitten anyone before. For the owner to be liable, the victim must be on the property where the bite occurred legally, and they can’t have provoked the animal in any way. There are exceptions, such as if a dog was protecting their owner or another party from an attack.

The only other concrete exception to this law is when a dog is “working,” like when they are used to arrest someone or stop them from committing a crime by a government agency. This exception applies to police dogs and others in service. The victim must also suffer an actual bite or attack, not just a scratch from a jumping or excited dog, though if your injury was severe enough, you might still be able to pursue a claim without an actual bite wound.

Unlike some other states, it is not necessary to prove that the dog’s owner had knowledge of the dog’s viciousness, and California does not follow the one-bite rule, meaning that the dog need not have ever bitten someone before for the owner to be held liable for injuries inflicted by the dog.

Compensation for Dog Bites in Sacramento

Compensation in dog bite cases usually comes in the form of a settlement from the dog owner’s insurance company. Homeowners’ insurance usually covers accidents like dog bites, so they will usually be the ones handling dog bite claims for their customers.

According to one study, three out of five dog bite victims were bitten by the family dog or a dog living in the surrounding neighborhood. This can make pursuing a claim for compensation more difficult as you’re not dealing with a stranger. You’re dealing with your neighbor. When you’re injured at a friend’s home by their dog, you may feel uncomfortable talking to them about compensation for your injuries. Knowing that their homeowners’ insurance policy will cover it and that the money for your expenses doesn’t come directly from your friend’s pocket should help you move forward with your claim.

Compensation depends on the severity of the dog bite injury and the losses you suffered as a result. There’s no way to determine exactly how much compensation you might obtain after a dog bite without first reviewing your case and the surrounding circumstances, but in general, the more severe your injury, the more you should demand in restitution.

The amount of compensation you’re entitled to depends on losses, or damages. Some of these damages are straightforward, and some are more difficult to understand and estimate.

Economic damages are losses with a specific monetary amount attached. Some examples of economic damages include:

  • Lost wages. If your dog bite requires you to take time off work to recover, you could be compensated for any lost paychecks.
  • Medical bills. You can be compensated for any and all medical expenses related to the dog bite. This can mean emergency room fees, ambulance or other emergency transport, prescription medication, surgery fees, rehabilitation, or therapy.
  • Property damage. If the dog bite damages or destroys your personal property, you can obtain compensation to repair or replace it.
  • Increased household expenses. If your injury requires hiring additional help with household chores, you can be compensated for this loss.

Non-economic damages are intangible losses without a price tag. Compensation for these damages is intended to make up for the abstract losses associated with your injuries. These losses could include:

  • Pain and suffering. Compensation for pain and suffering applies to the mental toll a dog bite can take on your well-being.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life. If your dog bite injury is severe enough to limit your ability to enjoy the activities you once cherished, you could be compensated for this.
  • Mental anguish. Dog bites can leave you with feelings of anger, fear, anxiety, or depression. Compensation for mental anguish is intended to make up for this loss.
  • Emotional distress. Compensation for emotional distress applies to the emotional trauma inflicted upon you after a dog bite, such as anxiety, inability to sleep, or post-traumatic stress disorder triggered by the attack.

Statute of Limitations on Dog Bite Claims in Sacramento

Dog bite claims are considered personal injury claims in California and thus fall under California Civil Code 335.1, which states that “an action for assault, battery, or injury to, or death of, an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect or another” must be filed within two years from the date of the injury. This could provide ample time for you to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) and the full financial toll to be assessed before filing your claim for compensation. Even if you’re not fully healed by the two-year mark, you may want to talk with your attorney about filing a lawsuit to preserve your ability to pursue compensation through the court system.

There are exceptions to this law. For example, if you were a minor when the dog bite occurred, you have two years from the date of your 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. If your dog bite injury was not discovered until after the attack, you have two years from the date of the discovery of the injury to file.

Why Choose OnderLaw for My Dog Bite Case?

You have many options when it comes to legal representation, but here are a few reasons why you should choose OnderLaw to assist with your dog bite claim:

We take personal service seriously. We treat all our clients with respect and dignity as we believe the most effective way to represent you is to listen fully to your side of the story and build a relationship centered on trust, candor, and compassion.

We work on a contingency fee basis. This means that if we aren’t successful in obtaining compensation for your case, you don’t owe us a dime.

We support the communities that have helped us to grow. We regularly donate to charities such as MADD, Lupus Foundation of America, and Toys for Tots.

But most importantly, we get positive outcomes for our clients. We’ve successfully obtained over $3 billion in compensation and awards, and we can put the skills that created that success to work for you and your family.

Call Today for a Free Consultation

If you’ve been injured in a dog attack, you have limited time to file a claim for compensation. Call the attorneys at OnderLaw right away and let us start building your case with a free, no-obligation consultation. Don’t let a dog bite derail your plans or determine your future. Call today.