Dog bite incidents are more common than most people think. They are painful and can cause lasting harm. Dog owners are responsible for the behaviour of their pets. They must do everything in their power to prevent them from lashing out at people.
If you have suffered a dog bite injury, then you must take immediate and decisive action. You will probably need to involve a Newport Beach dog bite attorney. A dog bite lawyer in Newport Beach is the only professional qualified to handle your case. A Newport Beach dog bite attorney will ensure that you get the money you need and deserve after the incident.
First Things First—What to do After a Dog Bite Incident
1. Go to the hospital
You must go to the hospital. You are not a doctor and are not qualified to assess the seriousness of a dog bite injury. You must put yourself into the care of those who can examine the wound, determine its severity, and provide the proper treatment. Even a minor bite can lead to an infection that spreads to other parts of your body. There is also the possibility of contracting rabies.
2. File a police and animal control report
You must report the incident to the police and animal control. Once you have done so, they will have to investigate. This will leave a documentary trail of the incident, which will make it much easier for you to hold the dog owner accountable.
3. Photograph the wound
You should take pictures of the wound while it is fresh. If you were with friends and family when the incident occurred, have them do it. You may also be able to press the medical personnel to photograph the injury before they treat and bandage it.
4. Speak with a lawyer
You will need to speak to a dog bite lawyer in Newport Beach. You should do this before you speak to anyone else, including the insurance company of the dog owner.
Dog Owners are Responsible
All dog owners know that they are ultimately responsible for the behavior of their pets. Some act accordingly; others do not. Each state has laws governing what pet owners are responsible for.
Some states have leash laws. In such jurisdictions, a dog must be one a leash when it is not on the property of the owner.
Most states mandate that dogs receive vaccinations. A dog owner who does not have their pet immunized will be liable for all illnesses and diseases that result from a bite.
There are also states that have strict laws on breeding. Pit Bulls are the most commonly regulated breed. Every dog owner should know the breed-specific laws in their state.
Establishing Liability in a Dog Bite Case
Determining who is liable for your injuries is one of the most important tasks of a personal injury lawyer in Newport Beach. This can be done in several ways. Your lawyer can invoke strict liability, which will hold the dog owner liable for all damages caused by their dog as long as it was not provoked. There is also the one-bite rule in which dog owners are held liable for injuries caused by their animal if they have reason to believe it is dangerous.
Establishing liability is not always easy. The dog owner may refuse to acknowledge responsibility for the incident or the injury. If that is the case, then your lawyer will need to investigate the matter to prove that the incident happened and that the owner you have identified is responsible.
To do so, your personal injury lawyer in Newport Beach will deploy their in-house investigative team. The latter will contact people who witnessed the incident to get their statements. It is also possible for your lawyer to get the court to order DNA samples from the dog. If they match the dog DNA in your wound, then you will have proved the veracity of your claim.
Paths to Justice
The best dog bite injury lawyers know how to get money for their clients without dragging things out for too long. Your lawyer will seek to negotiate with the dog owner and their insurance company. They will primarily seek economic and non-economic damages.
The economic damages they will demand include money for:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
The non-economic damages they will demand include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Trauma and emotional distress
Dog bite injury lawyers will only push for a trial if the other side refuses to offer a reasonable settlement or acts in bad faith. If you need to go to trial, your lawyer will ensure that the facts and evidence are on your side. They will be able to make the case to the jury that the respondent was negligent and that this negligence did great harm to your health.