Getting bitten by a dog is a terrifying experience that can leave life-long physical and emotional scars. Victims of dog bites can suffer lacerations, tissue damage, disfigurement, nerve damage or even broken bones or infection. For months after the attack, the victim may experience post-traumatic stress symptoms: feeling weepy, depressed or quarrelsome for “no reason,” or being anxious and fearful in ordinary situations.
Devastating injuries such as these can result in substantial medical bills, missed days at work, lost wages, and a great deal of pain and suffering. It’s entirely understandable that dog bite victims want and need compensation for injuries and financial losses.
Dog Bite and Attack Attorneys
Under California law, dog owners are “strictly liable” when their dog bites someone. This means that the owners will be held legally responsible for their dog’s actions, even if the dog doesn’t have a history of viciousness or biting. As long as the dog bite victim was lawfully on the premises of the place of the attack, the dog’s owner will almost always be liable for any injuries sustained from the bite. Usually, the dog owner’s homeowners insurance covers dog bites – but not always.
At the Appel Law Firm LLP, our dog bite lawyers have successfully represented numerous dog bite victims in the Walnut Creek and San Francisco East Bay region. We’re unafraid to go head-to-head with the powerful insurance companies that try limit or deny your claim, and we’ll defend you against dog owners who may insist that you provoked the dog, or weren’t legally on the property. If you’re entitled to receive compensation, we will fight for every penny you need and deserve.
Contact us or call today toll-free at 855-262-7735 for a free consultation if you, your child, or another loved one has suffered a dog bite in the Walnut Creek area.
Aspects of a Dog Bite Claim (Civ. Code §3342)
In order to successfully bring a dog bite claim in California. The plaintiff must prove that:
- That the defendant owed a dog;
- That the dog bit the plaintiff while the plaintiff was in a public place or lawfully on private property;
- That the plaintiff was harmed; and
- That the defendant’s dog was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s harm.
What to Do After a Dog Bite Attack
If you become one of the 4.7 million Americans who are bitten by a dog each year, it’s essential that you take certain steps after the attack to preserve any rights to compensation, should you decide to sue.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Dog bites can cause severe harm, if not through the damage to flesh, muscle or bone, then through infection. If the bite is serious enough, call your doctor or go to the emergency room for treatment. In any case, be sure to take pictures of your dog bite injuries to document them.
- Collect information about the dog, its owner, and the attack. Try to identify the dog that bit you as soon as possible after the attack. Make sure you get the full names and addresses of the dog’s owners as well as those of any witnesses. If you can’t do it, ask a friend or family member to help. The more evidence collected immediately after the attack, the stronger your case will likely be.
- Report the attack. Contact local animal control to report the attack. It’s important for the authorities to know that a potentially dangerous dog is in the area. Also, they may be able to tell you whether the dog has bitten anyone before.
- Call the CCC Animal Services Dept. For dog bite attacks that occurred in Contra Costa County, please contact the CCC Animal Services Dept.
- Avoid contact with the dog owners or their insurance company. You are not required to speak to the dog owners or their insurance company. Often, you can innocently make a statement that will later be used against you. If the insurance company tries to make any offer of compensation to you, don’t agree to anything or sign any papers without first consulting an experienced dog bite lawyer.
Let Us Help You
If you have been injured in dog bite attack in the Walnut Creek or East Bay region and wish to speak to an experienced dog bite attorney, please call the Appel Law Firm LLP at 855-262-7735 or contact us online for a free consultation.