Fullerton Personal Injury Attorneys | Accident Lawyers
Fullerton Dog Bite Lawyers
Dogs are said to be man’s best friend, but this cliché is too broad. Some dogs are very friendly, and many owners treat their dogs like a part of the family. But certainly, not every dog is friendly or well mannered. Some dogs are aggressive and territorial routinely, to strangers, or when they perceive a threat. When you or your child come into contact with a dog, you may have no way of knowing the dog is dangerous until it is too late. Following a dog attack, you should contact a Fullerton dog bite attorney at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers for advice.
In California, when a dog bites you despite you doing nothing wrong, you are typically entitled to seek compensation from the dog’s owner. Or, you can pursue compensation by proving negligence on the part of the dog’s handler or sitter. In either case, the insurance company handling your claim is unlikely to hand you a large check right away. The adjuster may attempt to deny your claim or limit your recovery.
Having a skilled dog bite lawyer on your side can help you obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries. Our team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers is proud to have helped more than 5,000 clients win over $300 million in settlements and verdicts.
Call us today at 1-800-GO-HARRIS to schedule your free consultation.
California Dog Bite Law
Many people have heard of the “one bite rule.” This is not the law in California. You do not have to prove the dog ever attacked or bit someone else in the past to recover compensation. Instead, California has a strict liability law.
If a dog bites and injures you when you are on public property or lawfully on private property, then the dog’s owner is automatically liable for your injuries.
Proving Liability and Obtaining Compensation
To obtain compensation from the dog owner, you must establish:
- The defendant owned the dog at the time of the attack;
- You were on public property or lawfully on private property (not trespassing) at the time of the attack; and
- The dog bit you, causing you an injury.
If you can establish these three elements, then the owner is responsible for compensating you for your physical, psychological, and financial injuries.
In many cases, the dog owner’s homeowners’ or renter’s insurance policy covers these damages.
Dog Bite Compensation
When a dog attacks and injures you or your child, you may be entitled to compensation for your:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Disfigurement and Scarring
- Reduced Earning Potential
- Loss of Spousal Affection
The value of your claim will depend on several factors, including the type and severity of your injuries. The compensation you may receive for puncture wounds that did not cause any additional soft tissue damage may be less than the compensation you would receive for a sizeable scar on your face.
To learn more about the factors that influence dog bite settlements, talk with our dog bite lawyers in Fullerton, CA.
What Happens if the Owner Claims I Provoked the Dog?
Dog owners have very few defenses to dog bite claims. They can seek to prove they did not own the dog at the time, that you were trespassing on private property, or that you provoked the dog.
Our Fullerton dog bite attorneys often have to contend with allegations that our clients provoked the dog. This is an all too common defense when a dog owner wants to avoid liability for their dog’s actions. We will thoroughly investigate your claim and gather evidence that you were not doing anything to threaten or antagonize the dog before the attack.
We will look for evidence of your conduct, including any eyewitness testimony or nearby surveillance camera. We may bring in an animal behavioral specialist to prove your conduct did not amount to provocation.
If the dog owner only claims you provoked the dog but has no evidence of this, this defense is unlikely to succeed anyway.
Although if there is evidence you threatened, intimidated, annoyed, or in any way provoked the attack, your compensation may be reduced. An insurer or jury may weigh your amount of responsibility. If you are less than half responsible for the attack, then your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of liability. If you are more than half liable, then you are prohibited from receiving compensation.
Was a Dog Handler Negligent?
You may have been attacked and injured while the dog was under the care of a person or business other than the owner. Under these circumstances, you may be entitled to pursue additional compensation from this other party if you have evidence that they were negligent in controlling the dog.
For example, if the dog was with a professional dog sitter who let the dog off the leash in an inappropriate area, you can file a claim against that dog sitter or their employer. Taking the dog off-leash in an area that was not designated as an off-leash area may be against the law and proof of negligent conduct.
Call Our Fullerton Dog Bite Lawyers Today
To talk with us about your dog bite injuries and pursuing compensation, call 1-800-GO-HARRIS.