What You Need to Know If You’ve Been Bitten By a Dog

Enduring a dog bite is one of the most devastating things possible. You trust a dog as “man’s best friend,” but some dogs are more dangerous than others. A dog bite can lead to severe injuries, including damage to your bones, muscles, tissues, and nerves, increase the risk of infection, and cause emotional trauma.

When a dog bites you and you suffer harm, it’s crucial to understand your rights. Recognizing California law can help you pursue the justice you deserve and hold the responsible parties accountable for their role in the dog bite.

Here are some of the things our team can help you understand:

  • Dog owner liability
  • Statute of limitations
  • Who pays for a dog bite injury?
  • When another dog bites my dog?
  • Damages I can recover after a dog bite

If you suffer injuries in a dog bite, call our firm today at (916) 520-6639.

Dog Owner Liability

California law dictates that a dog owner is responsible whenever their dog bites someone else or someone else’s dog. However, there are a few situations in which the person who suffers the bite is considered responsible:

  • The plaintiff was a trespasser on private property.
  • The plaintiff was attacking someone, and the dog was protecting someone under the self-defense rules.
  • The plaintiff was attacked after provoking the dog.

However, if you are on someone’s property as a licensee or invitee, you can hold the dog owner accountable for the damages you sustain. Similarly, if the dog owner takes their dog to the park unleashed, and the dog bites you, the owner is responsible for the damages.

Statute of Limitations

In California, the statute of limitations determines how long a person has to file a claim against the responsible party for the damages they sustain. The statute of limitations in California gives dog bite victims two years from the date they were injured to pursue compensation for their damages.

It’s important to remember these timelines because failing to file within the statute of limitations can make you ineligible for compensation.

Who Pays for a Dog Bite Injury?

Very few people have the money lying around to settle a lawsuit after a dog bite. So, who pays? Who is responsible for compensation when you suffer severe damage because of a dog bite? In most cases, homeowners’ and renter’s insurance would be the ones to cover the costs associated with your injuries.

Before you move forward, though, know that some insurance companies put restrictions on their policies regarding dog breeds. This means that they would cover most dog bite injuries, except those caused by specific breeds — such as pit bulls and Dobermans.

Insurance companies often try to protect their profits, though, so they may not be willing to give out a significant compensation amount. Instead, they will try to defend their policyholders and find a way to limit or deny your claim.

When Another Dog Bites My Dog

In California, you may file a claim if someone else’s dog attacks and bites your dog. However, the law constitutes this as property damage because dogs are considered the personal property of their owners. You may file a property damage claim to recover costs associated with veterinarian bills and potential restitution if the attacking dog’s owner is arrested and convicted of animal cruelty.

One big question that may arise is, “were the amounts paid for vet bills reasonable?” If the attacking dog’s owner can argue that you spent more than you needed to for veterinarian bills, they can try to limit how much you recover by filing a claim.

Damages I Can Recover After a Dog Bite

It’s vital to recognize what compensation you may recover if you suffer severe injuries in a dog bite attack. After this kind of attack, you often deal with the physical, financial, and emotional obstacles that arise. As such, you should be able to protect your rights and pursue compensation for all your damages, including the physical and emotional.

These are some of the damages for which you may recover:

  • Economic compensation: Economic compensation covers your damages with a direct monetary value. You can prove the exact amount lost on these damages because you have receipts and bills to show for your losses. These damages include your medical costs, lost income from being unable to work, and property damage if your dog suffers a bite. Vocational training and counseling can also be part of economic compensation.
  • Non-economic compensation: This type of compensation is designed to cover your mental anguish following a dog bite. You can seek compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as emotional trauma from scarring or disfigurement. If you lose a limb because of a dog bite, this may also factor into your recovery.

If the dog owner acted with malice and ordered the dog to attack you unlawfully, you may also pursue punitive damages. Remember, though; it can be difficult to do this without the help of a lawyer to position your case.

At Kershaw Talley Barlow, our Sacramento dog bite attorneys work to safeguard your rights. We know how devastating this can be, so we stand in your corner to protect you from insurance companies who may try to take advantage of your situation during this vulnerable time. From start to finish, we will walk you through the process and help you understand your rights.

Call our firm today at (916) 520-6639 for a free consultation, and speak with an attorney about your options.