Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the United States. Nearly half of the population currently owns or has owned a dog at some point in their life. But even the most well-behaved, lovable dogs can cause serious injuries if they bite. According to the American Veterinary Association (AVMA), more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and more than 800,000 of those bites require medical attention.
If you were the victim of a dog bite, under California law, the dog’s owner is liable for your injuries in most instances. A Malibu dog bite lawyer can help you with an insurance claim or a lawsuit to seek compensation. To learn more, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 816-0755 for a free consultation.
Common Dog Bite Injuries and Complications
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that about 20% of dog bite victims will need professional medical help. Dog bites can result in:
- Infection – Even the cleanest, healthiest dogs can have bacteria living in their mouths. If the bite is hard enough to break the skin, there is a risk of infection.
- Rabies – This viral illness invades the central nervous system and can result in death if not treated. If an unvaccinated dog bit you, or if you do not know if the animal that bit you had its shots, you will likely need treatment to prevent rabies.
- Muscle and nerve damage – If a bite is deep enough, it may cause damage to muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and/or tendons. This can be true even for small puncture wounds.
- Bone injuries – Dogs can bite with a lot of force, resulting in broken, fractured, or crushed bones.
- Scarring – Dog bite wounds can cause tearing of the skin, which sometimes leads to serious and permanent scarring.
- Tetanus – Dog bites can develop into tetanus, which is a bacterial disease. You will need a tetanus booster shot if you have not had one for more than 10 years.
Be sure to seek medical treatment if necessary after a dog bite. You may need to take an oral antibiotic or receive intravenous (IV) antibiotics to prevent infection. Severe bites may require surgery.
Dog Bite Liability in California
Most personal injury lawsuits require you to prove that the person who caused you harm was negligent—not so for dog bite cases in California. Under California Civil Code (CIV) §3342, dog owners are strictly liable if their animal bites another person. You do not have to prove the owner was acting recklessly or should have known their dog had the potential to become aggressive. However, strict liability does not apply if the victim:
- Provoked the dog
- Was bitten while threatening the dog or its owner
- Was trespassing on private property
- Was bitten by an on-duty police or military dog
After the occurrence of a dog bite, California Penal Code (PEN) §398 mandates that the dog’s owner provide the victim with their name, address, phone number, and dog license number. The dog’s owner should give you this information, as well as information about the status of the dog’s vaccinations, within 48 hours.
If you have not obtained this information, a Malibu dog bite lawyer can help you do so. A lawyer can also help you file a dog bite report with the local police or animal control agency. If this is not the first time the dog has bitten someone, the owner could be subject to criminal penalties in addition to civil action. To learn more, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free case review.
For a free legal consultation with a Dog Bite Lawyer serving Malibu, call (800) 816-0755
Medical treatments can add up, but a Malibu dog bite lawyer can help you seek compensation to help with your care, both now and in the future. If your injuries are serious, you may need:
- Physical therapy
- Skin grafts
- Plastic surgery
You may be able to settle your case via a homeowner’s insurance claim. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), California leads the nation both in the number and cost of dog bite claims. In 2019, around 2,400 claims were made, totaling more than $122 million. A Malibu dog bite lawyer who is familiar with California dog bite laws can help you through this process, including representing you in insurance negotiations.
If the insurance company denies your claims, your settlement does not fully pay your bills, or the dog owner does not have insurance, you can fight for damages in a civil lawsuit. Unlike an insurance claim, a lawsuit also allows you to seek damages for pain and suffering. Awards for pain and suffering may compensate you for things like the trauma you endured because of your dog attack. These damages also seek to compensate victims for the ways their injuries, such as permanent scars and limited mobility, may reduce their quality of life.
If a dog injured you but did not bite, compensation may still be available, though strict liability will not apply. A Malibu dog bite lawyer may still be able to assist you if you were badly scratched or otherwise injured. For example, you may seek damages if a large dog knocked you over and caused you to break your wrist. In these types of cases, your lawyer will need to help you prove negligence on the part of the dog owner.
Statute of Limitations
Do not hesitate to contact a Malibu dog bite lawyer and get started on your case. Going through the insurance system can take time, and you may still need to resolve your case in court. The statute of limitations in California gives you a time period of two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit, or you may be unable to take legal action.
Malibu Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me (800) 816-0755
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
Any dog can bite anyone at any time. When bites happen, the owner must take responsibility. In California, assuming that liability is part of dog ownership under the law. A Malibu dog bite lawyer can work to help you achieve fair compensation for your injuries, so you are not left paying for medical bills and other costs that are not your fault. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 816-0755 to discuss your legal options.