RIVERSIDE DOG BITE ATTORNEYS
Nearly 5 million people are bitten or attacked by dogs every year in the United States. Regardless of whether you are attacked or bitten by a small dog or a big dog, it can be a traumatic experience, resulting in life-long physical and emotional injuries. Most victims are caught off guard when bitten or attacked by a dog, especially when it is a dog they know and are familiar with. Children are amongst the vulnerable victims.
If you or a loved one suffered a dog bite attack, the experienced Riverside dog bite injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can help protect your rights. Our legal team has the knowledge and resources to hold the responsible parties liable and help you get the full monetary compensation that you deserve for the injuries you suffered.
With multiple offices located in Riverside, Irvine, Los Angeles, El Segundo, and San Diego, our personal injury attorneys represent dog bite victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our dog bite lawyers, please call 949-449-2703.
California Law on Dog Bite and Attack Cases
Dogs need not be provoked to attack or bite. Even the most gentle dog can aggressively attack a victim in a split second. Dogs can easily become violent if they feel cornered, threatened, or see sudden movement.
California enacted a strict liability law for dog bites and attacks in 1931. This law, California Civil Code Section 3342, otherwise known as the Dog Bite Statute, replaced the one-bite rule. Whereas the one bite rule required proof that the owner did something wrong, strict liability holds a dog owner liable regardless of what they did, whether they took necessary precautions, or if they knew about the vicious propensity of their dog. In other words, a dog owner is simply responsible for their dog’s actions even if the dog never displayed the propensity to bite or attack.
California Civil Code Section 334, known as a “strict liability” statute, puts strict liability on dog owners for bites and attacks that happen either:
- In a public place;
- Lawfully on private property; or
- On the dog owner’s property, so long as the victim is there legally.
This leaves some important exceptions to the rule that dog owners are strictly liable for their dog attacks. These exceptions include:
- The owner is not the one being sued,
- The victim was a trespasser on the owner’s property,
- The dog was a law enforcement animal in the line of duty,
- The victim was partially responsible for their injuries, and
- The victim assumed the risk of being bitten by a dog.
If any of these exceptions apply, dog bite victims cannot hold the dog owner strictly liable for their injuries. However, the victim can still pursue money damages for their injuries by arguing the owner was negligent.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites & Attacks?
California law allows dog bite and attack victims only two years from the date of the attack to bring a personal injury claim against the dog owner. This is known as the statute of limitations. Investigating and handling a dog bite claim, in general, can be a lengthy process. As such, it is important that you immediately contact an experienced Riverside dog bite attorney to protect your legal rights and bring a timely claim against the dog owner. If you fail to file your claim within this time frame, you may be forever barred from seeking the money damages you deserve.
Compensation for Dog Bite Victims
Dog bites and attacks can cause serious and debilitating injuries and wreak financial havoc on your life and the lives of your loved ones. Our Riverside dog bite attorneys will aggressively fight on your behalf to obtain a settlement with compensatory damages for:
- Past and future medical bills for all treatments related to the bite
- Other types of rehabilitation services
- Property damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Any other out of pocket expenses related to the incident
- Wrongful death, if the dog bite resulted in the death
Getting money damages will not undo the harm caused, but it can bring financial relief and a sense of justice after an emotionally traumatic experience.
Common Types of Dog Bites and Attacks
Prior to settling your dog bite case, you should understand the full extent of the injuries you suffered. Once you settle your case, you cannot ask for more money. Dog bites can result in permanent disfigurement and long-lasting injuries which require expensive reconstructive surgery and long-term medical care and treatment.
Below are some common injuries associated with dog bites and/or attacks:
- Puncture wounds, abrasions, and lacerations
- Broken, shattered, or fractured bones
- Eye injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Face injuries
Dog bite injuries are not limited to only physical pain. It is common for almost all dog bite victims to suffer mental and emotional trauma as a result of the vicious dog attack or bite. It is important that your Riverside dog bite attorney factors in all the physical, emotional, and mental injuries you suffered before advising you to settle your claim.
Important Steps to Take After a Dog Bite or Attack
The steps you take after a dog bite or attack can impact your ability to successfully seek compensation from the dog owner. If you or someone you know has been attacked or bitten by a dog, you need to take certain steps to protect your legal rights. Below are some important steps you need to take after getting attacked or bitten by a dog:
- Identify the dog that bit or attacked you.
- Identify the dog’s owner. Obtain the owner’s information, including name, address, and telephone number.
- Get the name, address, and telephone number of any witnesses to the attack. Generally, dog owners will deny an attack or a bite, fearing that their dog might be taken away or put to sleep. In such cases, a witness statement or testimony will be imperative in getting you the compensation that you deserve.
- Contact Animal Services Agency or Law Enforcement to file an incident report.
- Take photographs of your wounds, bruises, and clothing.
- Obtain medical treatment.
- Contact an experienced Riverside dog bite attorney.
To fully protect your rights, you should avoid doing the following:
- Signing any documents prepared by the dog owner, landlord of the property where the bite took place, insurance representatives, or adverse attorneys.
- Failing to seek medical treatment.
How a Riverside Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Legal Rights
Hiring an experienced Riverside dog bite attorney should be a priority after an attack, which can leave you frustrated and confused as to what to do to protect your legal rights. When you hire an attorney you can fully concentrate on your healing process, while feeling confident that an expert is fighting for your rights.
Most dog bites and attacks are covered under the dog owner’s homeowner insurance policy. Fighting a big insurance company without being legally represented could leave you with unpaid medical bills. The legal team at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates will take every step possible to make sure you are fully compensated and all of your medical bills are paid.
Contact an Experienced Riverside Dog Bite Attorney
If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog, the legal team at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can help. We specialize in handling dog bite injury cases. We have the experience to help you recover your lost wages, medical expenses, and any other costs related to your dog bite injury.
With multiple offices located in Riverside, Irvine, Los Angeles, El Segundo, and San Diego, our personal injury lawyers represent dog bite victims across Southern California. The Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates is dedicated to helping dog bite victims receive just compensation for their dog bite injuries. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our dog bite attorneys, please call 949-449-2703.