If a dog bit you or a loved one, you might have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. An animal attack can leave a victim with medical bills, mental health issues, and permanent disabilities. Pet owners have strict liability when their dog bites someone and must pay for any damage it causes.
A Gardena dog bite lawyer can investigate your case and navigate through the legal process. If you must speak with an insurance company about a settlement, an attorney could negotiate on your behalf.
Health care expenses, therapy, and lost wages can take a physical, mental, and financial toll. You should not have to pay for the consequences of a dog bite. Contact a member of the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm team about you or your loved one’s dog attack by calling (800) 816-0755 for a free no-obligation consultation.
Determining if You Have Grounds for a Dog Bite Case
California Civil Code (CIV) §3342 holds owners accountable for damage from their pets. Victims can hold pet owners responsible for medical bills and mental anguish if their dog attacks a person. However, the law also has exceptions, such as:
- The dog bit a trespasser
- The victim provoked or hurt the animal
- A law enforcement dog bit someone in the line of duty
- The victim assumed the risk when interacting with the dog
For example, a dog bite is a known risk for people who work with animals, like veterinarians or dog trainers. Likewise, an owner of a dog that bites a burglar may not have liability since the dog protected the house from an intruder.
On the other hand, a guest at a house party may not know of the danger of an attack. California’s dog bite statute specifies a dog owner remains liable when their animal bites someone “lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog.”
California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1 gives victims two years to file a personal injury lawsuit in California. A Gardena dog bite lawyer can help you file suit or make a claim against the owner’s insurance company. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to discuss your potential dog bite lawsuit with a team member.
Compensation from Dog Bite Cases
The purpose of personal injury suits is to receive compensation for losses. A dog bite can result in a loss of money, time, and more. The medical costs for treating a dog bite could become expensive if the victim suffers severe injuries. Health care expenses may include:
- Stitches or sutures
- Antibiotics, vaccines, and other medication
- Facility and physician fees for initial and follow-up visits
- Physical therapy
- Plastic surgery
- Mental health counseling
In some cases, victims spend years trying to recover from an animal attack. Since it takes time to recover from nerve damage, broken bones, and surgical procedures, victims could lose wages or need to leave their job. If the victim becomes disabled, they might lose their ability to earn in the future or have even higher costs to accommodate the disability.
You can sue for reimbursement for medical bills, lost income, property damage, and reduced earning potential. These economic losses are easy to calculate. However, your dog bite case could also qualify for non-economic rewards.
A court may award non-economic damages, better known as “pain and suffering,” as an additional payment on top of calculable costs. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Mental anguish in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of a loved one in the event of death
Dog Bite Trials and Settlements
Hiring a Gardena dog bite lawyer can help you focus on recovering from the injury. They can review your animal attack details and determine what type of case you might have. Dog bites are often personal injury cases, but they can become wrongful death actions if the animal attack killed the victim.
An attorney will gather proof to support your case. Evidence in dog bite cases can include:
- Photos and videos of the attack and injury
- Testimony from witnesses of the attack
- Copies of health records and medical bills
- A journal recording your injuries and daily pain and suffering
- Testimony from a canine expert
A lawyer may also gather information about the breed of the dog that bit you or your family member. Specific dog breeds are more prone to attacks, which you can use to bolster your case.
You and your attorney will need to show evidence of pain and suffering since there is no set calculation for noneconomic damages. Documentation about your injury or disability, including written opinions from medical professionals, can illustrate the attack results. You may want to gather written statements from:
- A medical doctor who details the extent of your physical pain and prescribed pain medications
- A licensed therapist who explains your state of mind
- Your friends and family members who testify to your pain and suffering
How a Lawyer Helps in Dog Bites Cases
You might want to have someone who knows the law on your side as you pursue justice and compensation. A Gardena dog bite lawyer understands local ordinances and legal requirements. They can help you with every step of the process.
You can concentrate on healing and everyday life while your attorney and legal team investigate your case and gather evidence. Even if you have yet to file, speaking with a legal professional can clear up questions you may have.
One of the first steps your lawyer could take includes drafting a demand letter to the dog owner. Your lawyer will draft this notice to inform the owner of:
- Your intent to sue
- The reason for the lawsuit
- Any evidence gathered in support of your case
- The details of your injury
- A settlement amount
If the owner refuses the terms, your lawyer could formally file a lawsuit, starting the process of going to trial. Call (800) 816-0755 to learn more from a team member about how Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you pursue your case.