Irvine Dog Bite Injury Lawyer

Although some breeds of dogs have reputations as being more harmful than others, any type of unprovoked dog bite could potentially be cause for an injury claim. Therefore if you have been bitten or suffered injuries due to an attack from a dog, schedule a consultation today with an Irvine dog bite injury lawyer to go over your case. An experienced personal injury attorney can help guide you through the legal process and ensure that all available evidence is accounted for and documented. For more information or to begin your road to recovery, call today.

What Are California’s Dog Bite Rules?

Under California law, if an individual sustains a dog bite, the applicable statute dictates that the dog owner is strictly liable for the injuries sustained by the victim. There is no “one-bite rule” in California, which is seen in other states. This means that negligence does not have to be specifically proven. If the defendant’s dog bites someone, they are responsible for the injuries if the incident happened in a public place or while the victim was in a private place with permission.

The statute, California Civil Code § 3342, applies only when a dog causes injuries by biting. If a dog jumps on a person, knocks them over, and breaks an arm, for example, the strict liability dog bite law will not apply.

Although people who sustain non-bite animal attack injuries cannot use the strict liability statute, they still have a means to seek damages in court. An Irvine animal attack lawyer could bring a negligence action to seek damages for the injured person.

Proving a Dog Owner Was Negligent

Negligence refers to the failure to use the degree of caution that a reasonable person would use in similar circumstances. Proving negligence in a dog attack case requires an injured person to show that the dog’s owner or handler failed to behave reasonably to control the animal, and the plaintiff’s injury was the direct result.

Failure to comply with the law could be evidence of negligence. Irvine requires that dogs be on a leash no longer than six feet in length when they are off their owner’s property. Local ordinances also require that every dog be handled by a competent adult. If a dog attacks when it is unlawfully unleashed or not properly handled, the owner or handler could be found negligent.

Irvine Central Bark and other dog parks allow dogs to be unleashed. If an attack occurs in a dog park, proving negligence might be more difficult. An experienced lawyer could assess whether a negligence suit is viable in a particular circumstance.

What Are the Steps to Building a Dog Bite Injury Case?

When an injured victim has been attacked and bitten by a dog, it is important for a dog bite injury lawyer in Irvine investigate all the facts regarding what transpired. Obtaining statements from witnesses to the incident will assist in analyzing the liability and responsibility of the dog owner. The identity of the owner of the dog who caused the injuries is extremely important because they are responsible for the conduct of the animal. It is also important to obtain information regarding applicable insurance of the dog owner. Generally, the homeowner’s insurance of the owner of the dog will cover the damages sustained by the dog bite victim. These damages include:

  • The nature and extent of the dog bite injuries
  • The medical treatment required
  • Medical expenses incurred for such treatment
  • Pain and suffering, emotional distress
  • And any loss of earnings if the injured victim lost time from work

An Irvine dog bite injury attorney can provide you with assistance in determining the amount of damages.

Statutory Time Limits

Every state has laws governing the timeframe in which an individual could bring a lawsuit seeking damages for personal injuries. In California, the law requires a dog attack victim to file suit within two years of their injury.

Although the law provides two years, waiting that long is typically unwise. When an Irvine attorney has the opportunity to begin working on an animal attack soon after it happened, the quality the evidence they collect is likely to be better than if significant time passes between the injury and initiating the lawsuit.

Unique Aspects of Bite Cases

The injuries in dog bite cases can be extremely serious depending on how the individual was attacked by the dog. Our firm has represented individuals who have sustained serious injuries, including puncture wounds, orthopedic and blood vessel injuries, and serious scarring which can require treatment over a number of years.

Children are, sadly, especially likely to receive significant dog bite injuries. Their small size makes it easier for a dog to inflict severe bites, especially to the face and head. A victim could receive damages for disfiguring injuries and the humiliation and embarrassment that might result from severe scarring. People also could suffer significant psychological harm from dog attacks, and damages could compensate losses related to emotional trauma.

Make Your Claim with an Irvine Dog Bite Attorney

It would be important to retain an experienced dog bite injury attorney in Irvine who has handled dog bite cases previously because there are specialized statutes in California dealing with this type of case. It would also be important to obtain any agency reports, such as whether there was an official investigation or hearing regarding the conduct of the animal and the ultimate disposition of the particular dog. An experienced attorney can assist the client injured in a dog bite incident to present the case and medical injuries in a proper fashion in order to obtain damages or compensation for the injured victim.