Berkeley Dog Bite Lawyer

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When you suffer a dog bite injury, you should know your legal rights. Those who are bitten by a dog or injured by being pushed down by a canine in California can seek fair compensation for their injuries. Selecting a top-rated animal bite attorney in Berkeley is crucial if you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog. It is our goal to help you get the compensation you deserve for the trauma and pain you've been through. 

Injured by a California Dog Bite? State Law Protects You

California is a strict liability state, unlike other states that require the animal to show previous aggression in order to claim compensation if the dog bites you or a related injury occurs. Unless the injured person was teasing or taunting the animal or was trespassing, in California, the dog owner is responsible for their pet's injuries to others under Article 2, Section 3342. A dog attack or injury caused by one would be the owner's responsibility in most cases, even if they tried to prevent it. Exemptions apply to animals working for the military or police. 

Dog Bite Claims: Is it Worth the Effort?

In addition to the impact on one's physical and psychological well-being, dog bites can lead to high economic losses. The number of dog bite claims increases every year. There were 797 million liability claims in 2019 related to dog bite injuries across the country, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That represents a 14.7 percent increase from 2018 over the previous year. There are several reasons for this. There is a substantial increase in medical bills that leads to higher settlements, jury awards and court costs. 

California Dog Bite Claims: How Many?

California ranked first in the country in terms of cases resulting from dog bites in 2020 with 16,991 insurance claims. In spite of a decline in the number of insurance claims, awards made to injured parties nationwide totaled around $854 million. According to the California State Insurance Department, the average payout for a dog-related injury claim was $64,662. 

Dog Injury Claims Are Not Limited to Bites

In some cases, an individual was knocked down and injured by a dog. In many of these claims, the dog was off-leash and roaming around loose. This makes dog owners liable for other types of accidents involving dogs. While you focus on getting better, your Berkeley dog bite attorney can negotiate on your behalf to help resolve your case successfully.

Dog Attacks and Injuries - What to Do

Canine bites are not the only cause of dog injuries. Jumping on an elderly person can cause injury in some cases, especially when the dog is aggressive. People who are older can suffer trauma such as hip fractures or traumatic brain injuries. To ensure that your compensation case is upheld, you need to know what to do after a dog bite. The following should be done right away if you or someone you love has been injured:

  • Get in touch with the dog owner and exchange contact information. Check out the dog's vaccination record to find out if it's up-to-date. Contact animal control if you are unsure of the dog's owner.
  • Consult a physician. You should seek medical attention if you have broken skin from a dog bite, even if the wound is minor. It is possible to contract frightening and dangerous diseases such as rabies and tetanus from dog bites. Follow your physician's instructions, including any follow-up visits.
  • It is still a good idea to notify local animal control or the police if you are bitten, even if it doesn't seem to be too severe. Your case will be stronger if you notify them. 
  • Don't forget to take pictures of your injuries. Keep a record of what happened, and snap a photo of your injuries while the wound is fresh. 
  • Please get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the dog attack.
  • If you are dealing with this kind of case, you might want to contact a Berkeley dog bite attorney. In addition to communicating with the owner of the animal, the lawyer will also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. To ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to, the lawyer can collect the evidence to support your claim to strengthen your case.
What Makes Some People Hesitate to File a Claim

Following a dog bite injury, people may hesitate to file a claim for compensation, especially if they do not consider it severe. Medical expenses, lost wages and emotional turmoil could result from the attack. A dog owner who does not take responsibility may see their pet attack someone else, resulting in far worse consequences. It is possible to incur significant financial losses without compensation. People may not want to file a claim for the following reasons:

  • A homeowner's insurance policy can cover this type of injury, which may not be known to the injured person.
  • There was no serious injury caused by the bite. An infection can result in serious damage if the bite gets infected.
  • This animal is owned by a loved one, friend or neighbor. In this case, homeowner's insurance covers all costs.
Dog Bite Injuries and Compensation

The following compensation may be claimed by anyone who has been injured by a dog:

  • Costs of medical care from now on and into the future if necessary
  • Lost earnings from being unable to work, even for those who are self-employed
  • The loss of earning capacity that results from being unable to return to work or inability to perform present duties
  • The inability to enjoy life because of mental suffering, depression, and anguish
  • Loss of consortium due to your injuries
Investigation of Dog Bite Incidents

It is a frightening and painful experience to be bitten or attacked by a dog. We strongly believe that no one should have to go through this type of situation and then be held financially liable for the consequences. You can count on our investigators to gather the evidence you need to get a fair settlement. The following are some elements of an investigation to collect evidence in a dog attack:

  • Investigations are conducted at the accident site, where witnesses are interviewed.
  • In order to determine whether the animal is aggressive, they interview neighbors and others such as postal workers and UPS drivers.
  • Investigators examine the veterinary records of the dog to see if the canine is fully vaccinated and if any problems have been reported.
Most Cases Are Settled Through Insurance Payouts

A financial settlement can often be worked out with the insurance company in many cases. You may need to take your case to civil court if you have suffered severe injuries, including emotional trauma, scarring and disfigurement. However, we always prepare a case in the event it has to go to court if the insurance company refuses to settle for a fair amount.

The YouTube video below explains why it is essential to hire a lawyer for your dog bite claim.

Dog Bite Lawyers in Berkeley

I’m Ed Smith, and I’m a Berkeley dog bite lawyer. Your injuries may be compensated if you are injured by a dog owned by a negligent owner. You are invited to contact us for our free and friendly advice at (510) 631-0200 or (800) 404-5400 or online. We would be honored to answer your questions, review your case and tell you about options to recover damages. 

Please take a look below at the reviews I have received from my clients as well as some of the cases our injury lawyers have handled:

We are honored to serve in the groups below as California attorneys:

Photo attributions: Image by Esteban Paniagua from Pixabay 

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Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!" Alex & Dinah M.
★★★★★
"Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation." Beverly
★★★★★
"Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything." Annie T.
★★★★★
"Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime." Jeremy M.
★★★★★
"I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone." Shannon D.
★★★★★
"Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury." David M.