Santa Maria Dog Bite Attorneys
If you or your child was bitten by a dog, you may have grounds for a claim against the dog owner or the party who was in control of the dog at the time of the attack. There are, however, several ways for the at-fault party to challenge your claim. They might even argue that you instigated the attack. Our Santa Maria dog bite attorneys can make sure you are treated fairly and will fight aggressively for the compensation you deserve.
We have many years of experience representing dog bite victims, so we are able to anticipate disputes before they arise. Even if we expect to reach an out-of-court settlement, we will build your case as if we are going to trial. Our lawyers will perform a meticulous investigation, gather all available evidence, and bring in expert witnesses for deposition and testimony if needed.
To set up a free case review, call us today at 1-800-GO-HARRIS. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What Can I Do to Strengthen My Dog Bite Claim?
Although your Santa Maria dog bite lawyer will handle the logistics of your case, there are steps you can take from day one to strengthen your claim. Those steps include:
- Gather and Preserve Evidence: While at the scene, use your cellphone to take photos of the dog that bit you, your injuries, and the surroundings. Look for surveillance cameras, and if you see them, ask to view the footage. Record the footage with your cellphone, and request a copy in writing. You should also write down the names and contact information of eyewitnesses and the dog owner. If you were at a business establishment or residential complex, ask the manager on duty to draft an incident report, and request a copy. After leaving the scene, you should preserve the clothes you were wearing during the attack. If they were torn or bloodied, your attorney might use them as evidence to demonstrate the ferocity of the attack.
- Report the Incident to Animal Control Authorities: It’s important that you have official documentation of the attack. Your lawyer might use records from animal control authorities to strengthen your case. This is especially true if the dog had already been reported for biting someone in the past.
- Seek Medical Care: You might be confident in your ability to treat a few cuts or scratches, but if you intend to bring a personal injury claim, it’s essential that you seek medical care right away. You will need official medical documentation to prove the types of injuries you suffered and their severity. If you wait too long to visit a doctor, the opposing party might say that you were injured by something else or that you couldn’t have suffered the injuries you’re claiming since they would necessitate immediate medical care. Generally speaking, you should visit a clinic or hospital immediately upon leaving the scene but no later than 48 hours after.
- Call a Santa Maria Dog Bite Lawyer: After your medical evaluation, you should call an attorney right away. At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, our phoneline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you hire an attorney from day one, you’ll be able to direct all correspondence from the insurance company to your lawyer so you don’t end up providing statements that jeopardize your claim. Your attorney can also gather time-sensitive evidence and help you avoid critical mistakes.
Does Strict Liability Apply to Dog Bite Cases in California?
In many circumstances, yes. Strict liability means that a finding of fault (i.e. negligence or intent) is not necessary to impose liability on a defendant. In other words, even if a dog owner isn’t negligent per se, he or she may still be liable for damages if the dog attacks someone.
Are Punitive Damages Available in Dog Bite Cases?
Although punitive damages are not awarded in most dog bite cases, they might be available if the dog owner intentionally instructed the dog to attack you. They also might be recoverable if the dog had attacked other people in the past and the dog owner knowingly put you in danger by letting the dog roam free and unrestrained.
There are elements beyond ordinary negligence that must be proven in order to recover punitive damages. Our Santa Maria dog bite attorneys have a track record of success seeking punitive damages, and we won’t hesitate to pursue them if warranted given the facts of your case.
Dial 1-800-GO-HARRIS for a Free Case Review with a Dog Bite Lawyer in Santa Maria
During your free consultation, we will answer any questions you have about the proceedings and help you plot the way forward. If you decide to hire us for representation, we will build your case as if we are going to trial, and we will aggressively fight for the highest settlement possible. To speak with a member of our team, call 1-800-GO-HARRIS or send us a message by clicking here.