Dog bites are unfortunately common, and one in five dog bite victims need medical treatment. Those injuries might require hospitalization, an emergency medical procedure, and stitches.
When a large dog, such as a pit bull, viciously attacks a person, they can suffer extremely serious injuries. Many of those injuries will require immediate medical treatment. Some of the most common injuries associated with a dog bite or attack include deep gashes, bite marks, lacerations, and puncture wounds.
Moreover, in an attack, the dog might forcefully knock its victim to the ground, causing the person to suffer other serious injuries independent of any bite marks or lacerations. For example, the attack victim might suffer a traumatic head injury, soft tissue injury, or bone fracture if they strike the ground directly in the attack.
Injuries that a dog attack victim suffers may require immediate medical treatment, including following up at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center. At one of these facilities, the healthcare provider on duty can render emergency treatment, including closing up the bite wound with stitches. The provider may also need to administer a shot near the wound site.
If the victim suffered a broken bone or serious head injury in the attack, the provider can administer the necessary treatment and take brain scans, MRIs, and X-rays to diagnose the person’s medical condition. Finally, the provider may refer the victim for follow-up medical treatment, such as with an orthopedic doctor or a physical therapist, depending on the extent of their injuries.
After suffering injuries in a dog attack, you should seek follow-up medical care as soon as possible— preferably on the same day as the dog attack incident.
When you delay seeking medical treatment and later file a personal injury claim, insurance company adjusters often become skeptical. Specifically, the adjuster might feel you did not take your injury seriously or that your injuries themselves were not all that serious. The best way around this potential problem is to get the treatment you need right away after the incident.
While you continue treating for your dog attack injuries, your attorney can begin gathering up your medical records and bills to date, as well as other important documents. Those documents might include copies of any police report that an officer prepared after the attack incident, eyewitness statements, and other investigation documents pertinent to the incident.
California Strict Liability Rule in Dog Bite Cases
Since California is a strict liability state regarding dog bite incidents, dog owners may be automatically responsible for a dog bite injury, even if their dog never acted aggressively or viciously before.
The strict liability rule applies to dog bite incidents in California. This makes a dog owner responsible when their dog attacks or bites another person, resulting in one or more injuries—regardless of whether or not the dog had attacked or bitten someone in the past or even shown aggressive propensities.
Essentially, the dog owner can be responsible unless the bite victim trespassed on the dog owner’s property or did something to provoke the dog. For example, if the victim teased the dog or provoked it in some other way, then the dog owner may not be responsible for the bite/attack injuries the victim suffered.
If you or a person you care about has suffered injuries in a dog bite or attack, the skilled legal team at Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel can determine if you can hold the dog owner strictly liable for the incident. If strict liability applies, our legal team can file a claim with the owner’s insurance company. After filing the claim, we can negotiate with the insurance company adjuster and work to obtain a favorable settlement on your behalf.
Dog Owner Negligence That Leads to a Dog Bite Incident
In addition to being strictly liable for injuries that result from a dog bite or attack, dog owners can be responsible for their negligence.
For example, a dog owner might be negligent by letting their dog run around the neighborhood at large. Alternatively, a dog owner may act negligently if they fail to restrain their dangerous dog with a leash or a muzzle. This is especially true if they knew the dog had a propensity to attack or bite others.
To prove that a dog owner was negligent under the circumstances, the bite victim must demonstrate that the dog owner behaved unreasonably. This typically means that the owner did something that a reasonable person would not have done.
Alternatively, the owner might fail to do something that a reasonable person would have done. As with a strict liability claim, to pursue and recover monetary compensation, the dog attack victim will need to demonstrate that they suffered at least one injury in the attack and that their injury directly resulted from the incident.
The skilled Chico dog bite attorneys at Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel can help you prove the legal elements of your strict liability or negligence claim. We can then help you to recover the monetary damages that you need for your injuries through a settlement, alternative dispute resolution proceeding, or, if necessary, jury trial.
Filing a Claim with the Dog Owner’s Insurance Company
Homeowner insurance policies cover many instances of dog bites and attacks. One of the benefits of having a knowledgeable Chico dog bite attorney on your side is that they can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
First of all, your lawyer will need to file a claim and submit a demand package that includes all of your medical treatment records and bills, lost wage statements, and other important documents. The insurance company adjuster can then review all of this information, and they may make an offer to resolve the case through settlement.
Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and work to obtain a settlement that fully and fairly compensates you for your injuries. If the insurance company refuses to offer you the damages you deserve, you can then file a lawsuit in the court system. After that point, the case can still resolve through the settlement process. However, if the case does not settle, the parties can try the case in front of a jury or resolve the case with a mediator or arbitrator.
Call a Knowledgeable Chico Dog Bite Lawyer About Your Legal Claim Today
At Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel, our team prides itself on thoughtful, thorough, and result-oriented legal representation. Let us help you pursue the compensation you need for your dog attack injuries. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a knowledgeable Chico dog bite attorney, please call us today at (530) 891-1909 or contact us online to discuss your possible personal injury claim or lawsuit.