Have you or a family member been bitten by a dog in California? If so, don't underestimate the costs involved in physical and emotional recovery. The Hartunian Law Firm is experienced at handling dog attack cases and can help you get the compensation you deserve after an incident.
When dogs bite, they instinctually go for the face and neck which can produce disfiguring or life-threatening injuries that might leave scar tissue and psychological damage that lasts a lifetime. Compensation to victims in dog bite cases might include reimbursement of medical bills and lost wages, along with pain and suffering.
Americans love having four-legged canine companion so much that dog ownership approached nearly 90 million in 2017, an increase of 20 million dogs since 2000 when pet owners surveyed reported owning 68 million dogs. Most dogs are friendly but can bite if provoked or they perceive danger to their owner; according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 4.5 million dog bites take place in the US each year.
Bites are usually minor but as many as 800,000 require medical care.
- Dog bites are the fifth most frequent cause of emergency room visits among children.
- Emergency room visits in California number nearly 40,000 each year, with the most frequent biters being pit bulls (29%), German Shepherds (15%), and Chihuahuas (11%).
- In 2015, dog bite injuries required more than 28,000 reconstructive surgeries. In-patient costs of dog-bite related hospital stays wer double the cost of in-patient stays for other injuries.
- Health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid pays 81% of the costs to those hospitalized and 75% of those treated on an outpatient base. The liability portion of homeowner's and renter's policies paid a small portion (16,000) of the 750,000 claims that fell on other insurance and the victims.
- Dog bites are often work-related with letter carriers on the receiving end in over 5,800 cases in 2019. Seven hundred seventy-seven (777) took place in California, with 74 occurring in Los Angeles.
Who is Responsible for Dog Bites?
California's civil dog bite statute California Civil Code section 3342 establishes that canine owners are responsible for injuries their dogs inflict upon others as long as the incident occurred on public property or lawfully on private property. The owner does not have to know if the dog has bitten others in the past for the law to be strictly applied – even if the bite does not break the skin. The statute is designed to prevent dogs from being a hazard in the community so liability is automatic.
However, because California is a comparative negligence state, the victim must not have provoked the dog in any way to be awarded the full settlement; to the extent the dog owner can prove that you were partly responsible for your injury, your compensation will be reduced by that percent. Your attorney's job is to strengthen your case that you did little or nothing to encourage the dog to bite. Trespassers on the property who are bitten by a dog can claim no compensation.
While the statute only applies to dog bites, your attorney might be able to find other provisions in the law that cover other injuries the dog might have caused. He might look to other responsible parties beyond the dog's owner who might be liable, such as a landlord who knew a dangerous dog was on the premises. Suing both parties might increase the chances that you are fully compensated for your loss.
Even if you are bitten by a dog belonging to a family member or friend, you should learn your options about a lawsuit. Since homeowner's or renter's insurance typically covers the cost of dog bite claims. the individual dog owner is not usually going to pay the costs personally. So you shouldn't hesitate to sue. That is what insurance is for.
Contact Hartunian Law Firm Today
After a dog bite, calling the Hartunian Law Firm is the best way to protect your interests, both now and in the future. We offer a free consultation about your case in English or Spanish, assist with costs along the way, and don't get paid until we win your case.
If you can't come to our Palm Springs or Los Angeles office, we'll even come to your home, office, or hospital room to learn about your case. Our staff will provide you with the reliable and compassionate personal service you need throughout the process of winning your case.
If you've had an accident, access to justice awaits at the other end of the phone. Call us today Toll-Free at 844-404-0007 or at our Palm Springs office at 760-575-5555 or our Los Angeles Location at 310-552-0007.