A dog bite is often a physically and emotionally traumatic experience that leaves you in need of substantial medical treatment. Too many dog bites go unreported in the U.S. each year and victims do not get the compensation for their injuries for which they might be eligible. If you or a loved one suffers injuries from a dog bite, you may want to explore your legal options with the help of a South Gate dog bite lawyer.
Even if you report your dog bite and attempt to make a claim with the insurance company for the dog owner, you may be disappointed at the response that you receive. In many cases, the insurance company will minimize your injuries and offer you a settlement amount that is significantly less than what your claim is worth. If you find yourself in this situation, you may benefit from getting legal advice from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. Call (800) 816-0755 right away and learn more about your legal rights to compensation following dog bite injuries.
Dog Owner Responsibility for Dog Bite Injuries
Like many states, California law holds dog owners strictly liable for any injuries that occur when their dogs bite others. Strict liability is a legal term that makes dog owners responsible for the costs of dog bite injuries in most circumstances. In many types of personal injury cases, people are not liable for injuries to others unless they were negligent or unreasonably careless in some way. In a dog bite case, however, injury victims need not prove any type of negligence to qualify for compensation from dog owners. Likewise, dog owners can be liable for dog bite injuries even if the dog had never bitten anyone before or if they had no knowledge of the dog being vicious in the past.
As a result, the California Civil Code (CIV) §3342 provides that dog owners face liability for any injuries that their dogs inflict by biting others, so long as they are present in:
- Public places or
- Private places in which they are lawfully present
Being legally present on private property also includes people who enter a property in the course of their duties by law, such as police officers or mail carriers. Individuals also might be lawfully on private property by implied consent, such as if a property owner had told them in the past that they were welcome to use a wooded area on private property at any time. A South Gate dog bite lawyer can help ensure that you file the most effective claim for compensation possible from the dog owner or other responsible parties.
Exceptions to Strict Liability for Dog Bites
If an individual is not legally present on private property, they cannot hold a dog owner strictly liable for their injuries. The logic is that if they were not illegally present on the property in the first place, then they would not have received a dog bite.
Another exception to strict liability outlined in this code section is when military members or law enforcement officers are using a dog in connection with their official duties. While this section does not cover all situations in which a police or military dog bites others, it does cover a variety of situations, such as when dogs are assisting in any of the following activities:
- Defending themselves from any annoying or harassing act
- Apprehending or holding a person whom officers reasonably suspect has committed a crime
- Investigating a crime or possible crime
- Executing a warrant
- Defending an officer or another person
This exception prevents individuals who suffer injuries from a dog bite in this situation from making a claim for compensation against the relevant government agency that owns and utilizes the dog. However, if the dog bites a person who is not involved in any of the above incidents, that person still could bring a claim for compensation against the appropriate government entity.
For a free legal consultation with a Dog Bite Lawyer serving Gate, call (800) 794-0444
The Statute of Limitations and Dog Bite Claims
The California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1 establishes the statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims stemming from dog bites and many other types of injuries. Under this code section, injury victims must formally file their claims for compensation in court no later than two years from the date of the dog bite. If they do not file their claims within this timeframe, they could lose the ability to seek any compensation for their dog bite injuries.
However, CCP §352(a) sets forth an exception to general statutes of limitations in dog bites and other similar claims. If the injury victim is under the age of 18 or legally incapacitated at the time of the dog bite, then the statute of limitations stops until the victim becomes an adult or obtains legal capacity. As a result, a child who suffers injuries in a dog bite may have until his or her 20th birthday to file a claim for compensation. Likewise, if a person falls into a coma following a dog bite, the two-year statute of limitations does not begin to run until the person awakes from the coma and can make legal decisions.
State law also creates other exceptions to the general statute of limitations, especially when filing dog bite claims against public employees or entities. Therefore, checking with legal counsel about your legal rights and options as quickly as possible after a dog bite incident may be wise.
Gate Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Seek Compensation for Your Dog Bite Injuries Today
When you are struggling to recover from severe dog bite injuries, you are likely to need assistance in paying for medical bills and covering your living expenses while you are unable to work. A South Gate dog bite lawyer can review your situation and determine the most effective means of pursuing compensation in your case.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm knows how stressful and overwhelming times like these can be. We offer you legal assistance without you paying any money upfront. You will not pay us until you receive payment from those responsible for your injuries. Call (800) 816-0755 and learn more about your legal options.