Bites from dogs and other animals can lead to serious infections, permanent scarring, and lifelong physical and emotional injuries. If you are injured by someone else’s animal, you can file a lawsuit against the owner and recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. The attorneys at Freedman Law can represent your case and help you secure the compensation you deserve. Our Fresno dog bite and animal attack injury lawyers have the skills, experience, and resources necessary to fight for your right to maximum recovery.
How Freedman Law Handles Dog Bite Cases
Our firm has won several million-dollar settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of our clients. We will work to identify all avenues to compensation and advocate aggressively for your highest possible award.
For over 20 years, our Fresno personal injury attorneys have served over 10,000 clients in the Central Valley in their injury claims, including animal attack lawsuits. We understand the local court system and will handle all aspects of your case on your behalf.
Our law firm is always available to support our clients’ needs. Our efficient support staff is the largest of any personal injury firm in the Central Valley and they are prepared to work closely with doctors, physical therapists, and other medical professionals.
California Dog Bite and Animal Attack Laws
In the United States, dog bite laws typically fall into two categories: strict liability and the one-bite rule. In states that follow the one-bite rule, an animal’s first act of aggression is essentially free. However, if the animal harms a person again, the owner would be liable for the victim’s damages.
California follows a strict liability system for dog bites and animal attacks. An owner is liable if his or her animal bites anyone, regardless of previous incidents or whether the owner knew that the animal could hurt someone. However, the owner is strictly liable only under the following circumstances.
The victim suffered a bite from the animal. Under California law, a bite occurs when an animal grabs someone with its teeth. The animal does not have the break the skin for the attack to qualify as a bite.
The attack happened in a public place or while the victim was lawfully in a private place. If the victim was trespassing on private property, the owner would not be liable if the animal bit him or her.
If a person is injured by an animal but is not bitten, California’s strict liability rules would not apply. Instead, liability will be based on the dog owner’s negligence, just like other types of injury claims. If the owner failed to properly control his or her animal and the animal harms a person, the owner could be liable for the victims’ damages.
Compensation Available to Animal Attack Victims
If you or a loved one has been attacked by an animal or bitten by a dog, it’s an extremely traumatic experience. As a victim, you are entitled to the following applicable compensation:
Future medical care
Plastic surgery if necessary
Recovery of loss of earnings
Medical attention for all injuries
Money for pain and suffering
Compensation for emotional distress
Reimbursement of medical bills
Psychological counseling if necessary
Possible Defenses to California Animal Attack Lawsuits
To avoid paying a maximum settlement in a dog bite lawsuit, an animal owner claim that the victim was trespassing at the time of the accident. He or she may state that the victim provoked the animal into attacking, and therefore he or she is not liable for the victim’s injuries.
If the court believes these claims, the victim’s ability to recover compensation could be impacted. In cases involving shared liability, California has a pure comparative negligence rule. The court will reduce the plaintiff’s award by the amount of fault he or she allegedly shares, even if the plaintiff is 99 percent responsible for the incident.
For example, say that a person is severely bit by a dog after playing rough with the animal in the hour before the attack. The owner claims that the victim provoked the dog and is partially responsible for the incident. The court assigns the victim 40 percent of the fault. If the victim asks for a $20,000 award, he or she will only receive $12,000.
To protect your right to recovery after an animal attack, it is important to consult with a Fresno dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can protect you against accusations of shared fault.
Additionally, an attorney can help you identify whether your case qualifies under strict liability or negligence. He or she will gather the evidence you need to prove your right to compensation and craft a compelling case in your favor.
What to Do After a Dog Bite or Animal Attack
If you are bit or attacked by an animal, it is important to remain calm and get to a safe place away from the animal as soon as possible. Take the following steps to protect your future claim and seek the help you need.
If possible, call 911 and report the incident to law enforcement. Discuss the incident with the police and save the officer’s information so that you can find the police report at a later date.
In cases involving bites, it is crucial to clean the open wound to prevent dangerous infections. You should perform basic first aid by cleaning your wound with soap and warm water, applying antibiotic cream, and wrapping the wound in clean bandages.
As soon as possible following the attack, seek emergency medical attention, even if you believe that you do not need treatment. Dangerous infections can develop without prompt treatment, and your medical records will be crucial evidence in your claim. Go to the hospital and save all records related to your injuries.
If you are able, document physical evidence after the accident. Take photographs of your injuries, property damage, and the animal if you are able. Find the owner’s contact information, if you do not have it already, and ask any witnesses in the area for their details as well.
Do not speak with the dog owner or any person representing the owner after the accident. Instead, contact a Fresno dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and next steps.
Speak to a Dog Bite Attorney in Fresno Today
Dog bites and animal attacks can be extremely traumatic. If you have been injured by someone else’s animal, you have the right to hold him or her accountable through a lawsuit. In these situations, the Fresno dog bite and animal attack injury lawyers at Freedman Law can help. Contact us today or give us a call at 559-447-9000 to schedule a consultation and identify your optimal path to recovery.