Dog bite incidents are more common than most people think. They are painful and can cause lasting harm. Dog owners are responsible for the behavior 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 lawyer. A professional, qualified Newport Beach dog bite attorney will ensure that you get the money you need and deserve after the incident. Whether you are a proud dog owner, understanding state laws on ownership can be useful to you. Preventative measures should always be taken to prevent an accidental situation from happening.
California is one of many states that enforce a strict civil code regarding dog bites. If you were bitten, affected, or faced with a direct legal claim it is important to know how dog bites are legally classified.
Dog bite rulings are determined by how severe the wound is – whether small, moderate to life-threatening. For example, if the dog’s teeth puncture or graze your skin without completely breaking through, it is considered as a “bite.” The second legal factor is the breed of the domesticated pet. Dogs breeds with a history of being vicious are susceptible to being categorized and cross referenced. Examples of dangerous dog breeds include:
First Things First—What to do After a Dog Bite Incident
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The one-bite rule declares owners of domesticated animals are liable on public or private premises if the defendant knew of their pet’s dangerous past and tendencies to engage aggressively. In court, past actions exhibited will be reviewed. The one-bite rule can make filing a claim complicated. Not only does the injured person(s) have to show photographic or physical evidence of the wound, but also prove the owner had knowledge. While other states follow this policy, California does not enforce it.
Dog bite victims do not have to prove the owner was negligent of their pet’s aggressive behavior or had previous knowledge of behaving dangerously. That means owners are at risk of getting sued based on other factors like the type of attack, severity, if preventative measures were taken.
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 a pet owner’s responsibility.
Some states have leash laws. In such jurisdictions, a dog must be one a leash when it is not on the owner’s property.
Dog bites are not always reactionary. If they are uncertain, or sense danger they may respond by acting in self-defense. Not all dogs will bite – others may pounce on you, aggressively pull at your personal belongings, or scratch your exposed skin. You can still file a claim, classified under dog bites, for compensation. This is not a normal occurrence – so if this happens to you, it could be because of an owner’s carelessness.
Canines with wandering curiosity are prone to finding alternative ways to leave the house. Preventative measures that can be taken are as follows:
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 regulated breed. Every dog owner should know the breed-specific laws in their state.
Determining who is liable for your injuries is one of the most important tasks of a personal injury lawyer. 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, 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 will deploy their in-house investigative team. The investigator 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.
While helpful, the laws in place can also limit the success of your case. California laws regarding canine-related injuries are based on the location where it occurred.
If you were bitten on a public or “lawfully” private property your case will be handled differently. More specifically “lawfully private properties” are locations where a public or civil servant is at work.
An example of an attack on lawfully private property is an engagement between a mail carrier and domesticated animal. When the postal service worker is on your property, the risk associated with weakening your claim, as an owner, is high if your dog bites him/her. Though it can get complicated, your lawyer will guide you in the right legal direction.
Similarly, if you were injured by a vicious dog, you may be unable to sue if it was an official military or police dog. In this particular situation the dog must be assisting law enforcement work, such as protecting or defending. Assessment per case will vary. The legal proceeding can be complex and nuanced, subject to change at any time. At Accident Lawyers Firm, we provide a guide including civil codes, laws or policies that may be applicable toward your claim.
As a dog owner, you will be responsible for answering questions pertaining to your role. Lawyers, insurance companies, legal enforcement must rule out that you do not engage in animal abuse, such as:
Such actions can change a dog’s behavior, to match the living conditions. As the defendant you can negate accusations against you by proving your dog was acting in self-defense or your pet obtained training certifications.
In addition to reaching a settlement for the plaintiff, the court will adjudicate the dispute. The ruling will require the dog owner to take action that corrects their pet’s behavior. Almost like a warning sign – as the consequences become more severe if it happens again. It depends on the nature of the attack, and whether the victim was an innocent bystander or trespassing on your property. If the court deems your dog’s actions or behavior are irreversible, he/she will be relocated or euthanized by animal control. Extreme action is only taken when pets cause life-threatening injuries or death.
As the victim, it would not be wise to injure or kill someone else’s dog. A cat, dog, bird, or other domestic animal is considered personal property. Engaging in such actions may put you at risk of compensating the dog owner, although their pet put you in harm’s way. Animal cruelty is a serious offense that also results in jail time, but there are certain exceptions to the rule.
In California, Penal Code 597 PC makes it a crime for any person to kill with hateful intent, harm or torture an animal. It protects:
If charged as a misdemeanor or felony, said person would be required to carry a sentence of up to three years in jail or prison. Misdemeanor is a punishment for up to one year. Whereas a felony is the full three-year sentence.
Most animal cruelty laws make it a crime to inflict pain on any animal without reason or justification. While self-defense might seem like the right choice at the time of the accident, it is best to air on the side of caution. An example of injuring a domesticated pet without reason is, shooting canine’s due to frequent barking or strolling along your property. When you hire an attorney, you must answer questions to clarify if it was necessary to kill. Evidence should support each statement to prove immediate threat of serious injury had actions not been taken.
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:
The non-economic damages they will demand include:
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.