Dog bite injuries can cause scarring, infections, illness, and even death. If a dog bit you or your loved one, a Culver City dog bite lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you fight for awards to compensate for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. You should not have to pay for the injuries you suffered because of someone else’s pet. Call our team today at (800) 816-0755 for a free case review.
Dog Bites Have a High Risk of Infection
Even the cleanest, healthiest, most well-groomed dogs can carry bacteria in their mouths. Because of this fact, the Cleveland Clinic found that the most significant health concern for dog bite victims is often infection. Some illnesses and infections can turn fatal if left untreated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dog bites and scratches can cause:
- Brucellosis: This bacterial disease can spread from dogs to people through skin wounds. It takes six to eight weeks after exposure for symptoms to develop. Symptoms resemble the flu and may last two to four weeks. Some cases of brucellosis become chronic. Rarely, the disease can affect female reproductive organs and cause a miscarriage in pregnant women.
- Capnocytophaga: Symptoms of this bacterial infection include blisters, swelling, and pain around the bite area. You may experience fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle and joint pain. Rare but serious complications from Capnocytophaga include sepsis (a deadly response to infection), kidney failure, and gangrene.
- Rabies: Rabies is a fatal neurological disease. Rabies symptoms can take months to develop. Once you become symptomatic, it is too late to treat the disease. Only an animal with rabies can spread the condition, which is why it is so critical for dog owners to vaccinate their pets. If the dog that bit you possibly has rabies, you must seek medical treatment as soon as possible and start receiving rabies vaccinations.
- Pasteurella: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this bacteria can cause a severe skin infection called cellulitis. Swelling, redness, and tenderness around the bite can occur, and you may experience fever and chills. More serious complications include infections in the joints, bones, and tendons.
- Tetanus: Doctors who treat your initial wounds will often ask when you last received a tetanus shot. Dogs can carry tetanus, a bacterial infection that affects the spinal cord, nerves, and brain, resulting in muscle spasms and lockjaw. If your last vaccination was more than five years ago, your doctor might recommend a booster shot.
Oral antibiotics are an effective treatment for many infections in the early stages. However, if your condition has progressed, admission to the hospital for intravenous treatment may become necessary.
Other Dog Bite Injuries
Infections are not the only medical concern after a dog bites you. Dog bite injuries can also cause broken bones, muscle, nerve, and tendon damage, and scarring. You may need stitches, surgery, and physical therapy to recover completely.
Dog Owners Liable for Their Pets
California law states that if a dog bites someone, its owner is responsible for the victim’s damages. Under California Civil Code (CIV) §3342, strict liability applies to dog bite injuries unless the victim trespassed on private property, provoked the dog, threatened the dog or its owner, or was bitten by a police or military dog acting in the line of duty. Strict liability means you do not need to prove the dog owner acted negligently or should have known their dog would bite.
Many dog bite litigants resolve their cases outside of court through homeowners’ or renters’ insurance claims. If that is an option in your case, a Culver City dog bite lawyer can work to make sure the insurance company does not deny your claim and that you receive a fair settlement offer. An insurance claim can compensate your medical costs, property damages, and wages for time lost at work.
If you cannot settle your case outside of court, an attorney can help you pursue a lawsuit against the dog owner. In addition to the awards you can seek through insurance, you can also claim noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. These awards would compensate you for anxiety, stress, scarring, or disability.
If you must go to court, California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1 allows you two years from the time of your injury to file your lawsuit. If your loved one died from their dog bite injuries, the statute of limitations allows the same two-year period to file suit for wrongful death.
Other Dog-Related Injuries
What happens if a dog hurt you in some other way? For example, you broke your leg when a large dog knocked you down or contracted an infection from a dog scratch?
You might still recover awards from the dog owner in a personal injury lawsuit, but California’s strict liability law only applies to bite injuries. For other injuries, you must prove how the dog owner’s negligence led to your damages. A Culver City dog bite lawyer could help you establish the owner acted recklessly or should have known their dog was dangerous.
Reporting Your Bite
You should report your dog bite to law enforcement. This report creates a record of the incident in case the dog bites another person in the future or has bitten in the past. It also stands as an official record of the incident for your insurance claim or legal proceedings.
According to the Culver City police department’s Biting Animals and Vicious Ordinances, if an animal bites you or a loved one, you should contact Culver City Animal Services as soon as possible. The ordinance also states that any cat or dog that bites a person will go into quarantine for 10 days to ensure they are not rabid. The city can also take steps to declare dogs with a history of attacking or biting officially dangerous or vicious.
For a free legal consultation with a Dog Bite Lawyer serving Culver, call (800) 816-0755
Helping Victims Across the Country
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has helped clients across the nation with personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. We can take your case at no upfront or out-of-pocket expense to you. We will fight to win your compensation, but we will not charge any attorney’s fees if unsuccessful. To learn more about how a Culver City dog bite lawyer can assist with your case, reach out to our team at (800) 816-0755 for a no-cost consultation.
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