If you suffered injuries from a dog bite, do not hesitate to contact OnderLaw to discuss the incident with us. We can help you seek the compensation you need to pay for your medical treatment and other expenses. If your actions didn’t contribute to your injury, you should not be financially responsible for any associated costs.

Some dogs are inherently dangerous breeds. However, any breed could cause significant damage during an attack. With sharp teeth and strong jaws, these animals can rip through a person’s skin, exposing tissue and bones beneath. Many people need hospitalization to stitch up wounds and prevent infections from developing.

The medical bills you receive while treating a dog bite injury can become expensive and cause financial strain. If you can’t afford your incurred expenses, you could face crushing medical debt. The dog’s owner should be held liable and provide the compensation necessary to cover the losses you suffered.

At OnderLaw, our Santa Clarita personal injury lawyers are ready to take on the responsibility of your case and pursue the money you’re owed. We can provide the support and guidance you need to cope with this traumatic experience and move forward with your life. Call us right now for a free consultation to learn about your available legal options.

How Dog Bites Occur

When anyone encounters a dangerous dog breed, they could become the victim of a severe attack. However, even small or non-threatening breeds could bite someone out of fear or instinct, resulting in injuries.

Many dogs won’t bite a person for no reason. There is typically some underlying cause of an attack. Knowing the common causes of dog bite injuries could help you to prevent yourself from becoming another statistic.

The most common causes include:

  • Rough play – An innocent game of fetch could become dangerous if the dog plays too rough and accidentally chomps down on a hand or finger near their jaw.
  • Illnesses – Sick or injured dogs are in pain and could respond aggressively to a person touching the injury site or approaching them when they want to be left alone.
  • Protective instincts – Sometimes, a dog’s instinct is to protect itself from a perceived threat. Whether they’re guarding their food, puppies, or favorite toy, they could suddenly lunge at anyone they think is a threat to them.
  • Fear – Fear can play a significant role in dog attacks. Any breed could become fearful of someone approaching them and bite to protect itself.
  • Provocation – If you provoke any animal, they could fight back. Many dogs will growl or show their teeth as a warning. If you don’t back off, they could lunge at you and cause injuries.
  • Startled – Some dogs spook easily. It could be a loud noise or unexpected petting that scares them. Instinct takes over, and they nip or bite at anyone invading their personal space.

If you didn’t do anything to cause the dog attack, the owner should be held accountable for your injury. It is their responsibility to restrain their dog, so it doesn’t cause harm to others.

Common Injuries Suffered in Dog Attacks

The initial attack can cause immediate physical injuries. Subsequent injuries can occur if the victim falls to the ground and hits their head. Medical complications can also arise, such as infections, if bacteria enter the wound.

The most common injuries dog attacks can cause are:

  • Psychological trauma
  • Scratches and wounds
  • Injuries to the eyes and face
  • Disfigurement
  • Damaged nerves, tendons, and tissue
  • Torn muscles
  • Permanent scarring
  • Bone fractures in the extremities

Dog bite victims could suffer a range of complications following a dog attack. Infections are particularly common. Bacteria such as Pasteurella, Staphylococcus, and Capnocytophaga live in the mouths of dogs. These bacteria can enter an open wound and spread throughout a person’s body. In some cases, surgical amputation is necessary to prevent the further spread of infection. Without immediate medical care, the infection could lead to organ failure and even death.

The emergency room physician might recommend tetanus or rabies shots after a dog bite. These infections can also spread to other areas of the body from the injury site and cause severe medical problems.

Dogs Laws/Regulations in California

California law places strict liability on a dog’s owner if a victim suffers losses from a dog bite. You can hold the owner liable if you were lawfully on private property or in a public place when the attack happened. Trespassers don’t have similar rights and might not be allowed to pursue compensation.

One exception to the strict liability statute could prohibit you from holding the owner liable. You might not be entitled to compensation if the bite resulted from a dog performing military or police work for a government agency and:

  • Assisted law enforcement in apprehending a person suspected of committing a crime;
  • Defended a peace officer or someone else;
  • The bite occurred while executing a criminal investigation or warrant; or
  • The dog defended itself from you annoying, provoking, or harassing it.

In Los Angeles County, an owner or custodian of a dog must use a leash six feet in length or less to control the dog while in common areas on private property or public property. A dog does not have to be restrained on private property if the lessor or owner gives consent.

Compensation for Dog Bites

It’s common for injured victims to know the owner of the dog that attacked them. Typically, it’s a friend, family member, or neighbor. If you were injured on their property, you could file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance company.

Request a copy of the policy to determine if coverage applies to the incident. Some insurance companies won’t provide compensation for dog bite injuries or injuries caused by specific breeds.

It’s critical to understand that you’re holding the insurance company financially responsible for the losses you suffered when you file an insurance claim. You don’t have to go after your friend or relative directly for compensation. They will not be involved in the case in any way or have to face civil or financial penalties due to the claim.

The settlement you receive could compensate for numerous losses suffered during the attack, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Emotional distress
  • Physical impairment or disfigurement
  • Damage to personal property
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity

Some dog bite injuries become fatal, causing the victim to die. If you lost someone to a dog attack, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit. Only a surviving family member or dependent can pursue this type of case. The compensation you could recover in a wrongful death suit include:

  • Loss of the deceased’s guidance
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Lost benefits or gifts surviving family could have received from the deceased
  • Loss of financial support
  • The reasonable monetary value of household services the deceased can no longer provide
  • A spouse or domestic partner’s loss of intimacy
  • Lost companionship, care, love, protection, assistance, comfort, society, moral support, and affection

In a wrongful death lawsuit or lawsuit for the injuries you sustained, you could also pursue exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are designed to punish the defendant for their wrongdoings. If you want to receive this financial award, you must show the jury clear and convincing evidence of the dog owner’s fraud, oppression, or malice.

Statute of Limitations on Dog Bite Claims

Anyone injured due to someone else’s negligent actions must follow a specific timeframe to sue that person. California follows a two-year statute of limitations for dog bite cases. That means you must file your lawsuit within two years of the attack if you want to seek compensation for your losses. The courts strictly enforce this statute and will likely dismiss your case if you initiate the lawsuit after the statute passes.

Why Choose OnderLaw?

The Santa Clarita dog bite injury lawyers of OnderLaw will put forth our best efforts to try to reach a favorable outcome in your case. You will be our top priority and receive ongoing communication throughout the entire process. We aim to provide our clients with excellent customer service and treat them with the professionalism and compassion they deserve.

At OnderLaw, we understand the economic struggles many dog bite victims face. Paying for medical treatment can drain your bank account. If you can barely afford the bills associated with the attack, you may worry that you do not have the financial means to hire a lawyer. We take cases on contingency, which means that we won’t collect our legal fees and costs unless we secure compensation for you.

Our Santa Clarita Dog Bite Injury Lawyers Can Help You Fight for Justice

If you suffered injuries from a dog bite or attack in Santa Clarita, contact OnderLaw to discuss your case with one of our attorneys. We can develop a strategy to meet your needs and try to achieve the best possible results on your behalf. You can depend on our team to handle all aspects of your case, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

Call OnderLaw today for your free initial consultation with one of our dedicated Santa Clarita dog bite injury lawyers.