Dog Bite Injuries: Understanding Common Injuries, Liability, Medical Treatment, Timeframes, Partial Fault, and Claim Advice
In this article, you can discover:
- How to handle common dog bite injuries and shared liability scenarios.
- Why you should always remember to seek immediate medical treatment.
- The importance of never hesitating to pursue a claim due to relationships.
What Are The Most Common Injuries Sustained From Dog Bites?
Dog bite incidents often lead to severe injuries due to the combination of factors such as a dog’s sharp teeth, powerful jaws, and the swiftness of their attack. When a dog suddenly becomes aggressive and bites, the injuries inflicted can be deep and serious. These injuries encompass deep puncture wounds that can lead to infections, lacerations causing significant tissue damage, and loss of flesh.
Additionally, victims can experience nerve damage and injuries to muscles that might result in permanent damage. The force of a dog’s attack can also cause victims to be knocked down, resulting in fractures and other substantial injuries beyond the initial bite.
Beyond the physical harm, a dog bite can cause permanent and disfiguring scarring as well as a well founded fear of dogs and nightmares and frequent thoughts of the attack.
Is The Owner Of The Dog Always Liable For Injuries?
The legal landscape in California dictates that strict liability laws apply to cases involving dog bite injuries. This means that dog owners are unequivocally responsible for the bites their dogs inflict, regardless of their dog’s past “good” behavior or whether the dog never bit anyone before.
Unlike in the past, where a “one free bite” exemption applied, this principle no longer holds true. Irrespective of where the bite occurs on the victim’s body – be it on their face, hands, or any other body part – the owner is legally liable for the injuries resulting from their dog’s bite. It is worth noting that this strict liability principle specifically pertains to incidents of dog bites and does not encompass situations where a dog accidentally knocks someone over.
How Important Is It To My Case To Seek Medical Treatment Following A Dog Bite?
The urgency of seeking immediate medical attention following a dog bite cannot be overstated. The swift provision of medical care serves multiple crucial purposes. Primarily, it significantly reduces the risk of infection, which is a common complication of dog bite injuries.
Additionally, seeking prompt medical attention can help minimize scarring and other long-term consequences. From a legal perspective, obtaining immediate medical care underscores the seriousness of the injury sustained, thereby reinforcing the potential strength of any legal claims that might arise.
Presenting oneself for medical care without delay demonstrates the gravity of the injury and tends to make a more compelling impression on insurance companies and juries compared to cases where treatment is delayed or minimal.
How Long Do I Have From The Date Of The Incident To File A Claim In California?
In the jurisdiction of California, a strict timeline governs the filing of lawsuits related to dog bite injuries. Specifically, the statute of limitations dictates that any lawsuit pertaining to such incidents must be initiated within two years from the date of the injury.
Failing to meet this deadline can result in the loss of your right to pursue a legal claim, even if ongoing discussions have been held with the dog owner or their insurance company. In cases where the dog involved belongs to a government entity, such as police or sheriff department canines, different rules apply. In such situations, a government claim must be formally filed within a mere six months from the date of the incident.
Irrespective of these legal specifics, it is advisable to report any claim as promptly as possible to the responsible party or their insurance company. Delaying this process might raise questions about the legitimacy of the claim.
If The Dog Victim Is Partially To Blame For The Bite, Does That Impact The Personal Injury Claim?
The degree to which the dog bite victim shares fault in the incident can have significant ramifications on a potential personal injury claim. Deliberate acts that provoke or incite a dog’s aggression might lead to the victim bearing full responsibility for the incident.
However, the specific circumstances surrounding the incident also play a vital role. For instance, unintentional trespassing onto a property with no warning signs might influence the allocation of responsibility. Ultimately, the determination of fault is fact-specific and might vary from case to case.
What Is Your Advice For Anyone Hesitant To Make A Dog Bite Claim?
Instances where individuals are bitten by dogs owned by neighbors, friends, or family members often raise concerns about pursuing legal claims due to worries about damaging relationships. While the concern for maintaining good relations is valid, it is essential to weigh this against the seriousness of the injury sustained. In cases involving minor, transitory injuries, pursuing a claim might not be deemed necessary.
However, in situations where the injuries are severe, requiring substantial medical care and leading to long-term consequences, the scales tip toward pursuing a legal claim. Importantly, it’s worth noting that most claims in such scenarios are directed at insurance companies rather than targeting the dog owner on a personal level. Most dog bit claims are pursued against and paid by the dog owner’s homeowners insurance company.
Insurance coverage exists to provide protection not only for the owner but also for individuals who might inadvertently suffer injury due to their pets’ actions. Pursuing a claim in such situations is thus more about ensuring appropriate compensation and is not a personal insult or attack on the dog owner.