Dog bites can cause serious and permanent injury. It’s important to understand the liability implications if you or a loved one has been injured by a dog attack. A skilled Pasadena personal injury attorney can review the facts of your case and help you understand your legal options for pursuing compensation.
Basic Dog Bite Laws
As your Pasadena personal injury attorney can explain, California imposes strict liability on dog owners who attack. To understand strict liability, it’s important to understand how general personal injury claims work. In a personal injury case, liability can be imposed on someone whose negligent conduct causes injury to another. To establish negligence in an ordinary personal injury case, courts look at whether the wrongdoer’s conduct deviated from a standard of reasonable care under the circumstances.
Dog bite cases are unique. Most states, including California, provide statutory rules as to the duty owed by the dog owner. Essentially, if your dog bites and injures another person while on your property or off it and you have not properly leashed it, you are automatically or strictly liable for the damages to the victim. It does not matter whether you acted reasonably or if your dog is considered vicious, if you violate the law, you are liable. Your attorney can discuss potential defenses to strict liability, such as provocation.
Filing a Claim for Compensation
Dog bite claims are filed against the homeowner’s insurance policy of the dog owner. Although liability itself may be established by the dog bite laws, the amount or extent of your damages must still be proven. Your Pasadena personal injury attorney can help you compile the necessary documentation. You may be able to recover for out of pocket damages such as medical bills, replacement services and lost wage claims. Additionally, you may be able to seek compensation for your pain and suffering. The more permanent and serious the injury, the higher the benefit may be. Disfigurement and scarring of the face may be worth more from a case valuation standpoint then somewhere else on the body. Your attorney can evaluate your case and give you a realistic estimate about what you can seek in terms of settlement. This is no guarantee that your case will settle, but a qualified attorney can give you a range of possibilities to help you make informed decisions.
Common Strengths and Weaknesses in a Dog Bit Case
As indicated above, dog bite cases may be subject to some of the same defenses as other types of negligence cases such as the plaintiff’s contributory negligence or provocation. Furthermore, as your Pasadena personal injury lawyer can explain, in order to recover you must prove you were injured. Minor scratches generally do not rise to the level of recovery. Your attorney can discuss the viability of emotional distress claims as well.
Put the lawyers from an experienced, aggressive Pasadena personal injury law firm on your case. To schedule an appointment with The Paul S. Norris Law Firm, call 626-993-4415.