Manteca Dog Bite Lawyer
Dogs are considered trusted companions and friends for many people. Owning a dog has been found to improve overall physical and mental well-being. However, dogs are still animals, and they can sometimes bite causing serious injuries to people.Common Dog Bite Injuries
The types of injuries from a dog bite are endless. Many dogs have the potential to inflict serious bodily harm to an individual such as:
- Bite Wounds
- Bone Fractures
- Eye Injury
- Head Injury
- Internal Trauma
- Nerve Damage
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Tendon and Ligament Damage
- Torn Muscles
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- The number of dog bite claims has increased nationwide from 18,123 in 2016 to 18,522 in 2017, accounting for an overall increase of 2.2 percent (according to the Insurance Information Institute)
- More than 28,000 reconstructive surgeries were performed on dog bite victims in 2015 (according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons)
- Over 6,750 employes for the U.S. Postal Service were attacked by dogs in 2016. The city with the most dog attacks was Los Angeles with 80 incidents (according to the United States Postal Service)
Understanding why dog bites happen is crucial in preventing them from occurring and ensuring your safety. Some of the most common reasons why a dog bite occurs include:
- Fear: A dog can bite when it feels threatened, startled or frightened by the approach of someone they know or a complete stranger. When a dog bite occurs out of fear, they often happen suddenly and without notice.
- Maternal Instincts: If someone approaches a mother dog who is tending to her puppies, she may bite that person to protect her litter.
- Pain: Dogs should be left alone when they are in pain or not feeling well. Even the friendliest of dogs can inflict a bite when experiencing pain.
- Prey Demeanors: These prey-driven instincts may include carrying, chasing, pouncing, pulling or shaking. This type of aggressive behavior can occur when a dog spots someone cycling, jogging or running.
- Possessiveness: A dog can present this type of aggression towards other individuals and animals when protecting it's property like it's owner, home, food, chew toy or bone.
Every dog has the potential to bite or even attack those they may know. However, some dog breeds have a history of biting such as:
- Alaskan Malamute
- Australian Shepherd
- Bull Terrier
- Chow Chow
- Cocker Spaniel
- Dogo Argentino
- German Shepherd
- Great Dane
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Lhaso Apso
- Siberian Husky
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five people who have been bitten by a dog required emergency treatment for resulting injuries. Below are some tips to help keep you and your family safe from a dog bite:
- Avoid coming into contact with an unfamiliar dog
- Do not disrupt a dog while it is tending to puppies, eating or sleeping
- Do not run away from a dog
- Do not panic or make loud noises in front of a dog
- Do not encourage a dog to play with you in an aggressive manner
- Never leave a small child unsupervised with a dog
- Remain motionless when approached by an unknown dog
- Request permission before petting the dog of someone else
Watch YouTube Video - How to Survive a Dog Attack. The following video offers some useful safety tips for protecting yourself in the event of a dog attack.Who is Most at Risk of a Dog Bite?
The most common victims of dog bite injuries are children and the elderly. Children are much more vulnerable to aggressive dogs as they may not be able to escape or defend themselves in these types of situations. A majority of dog bites in young children have been found to have occurred while interacting with familiar dogs and during everyday activities. The elderly are also susceptible to suffering a catastrophic injury from a dog bite due to their fragility. Females are less likely to be bitten by a dog when compared to the male population. Nearly 50 percent of all dog bites involved an animal owned by the neighbors or family of the victim.What to Do After a Dog Bite
There are many crucial steps to take after being bitten by a dog to ensure the safety of yourself or your loved one. These steps include:
- Locate the dog's owner. Finding out who owns the dog or where the dog lives and whether the dog's immunization shots are up to date is critical information to have when bringing a claim for damages.
- Wash the wound. The wound area should be thoroughly washed with warm water and soap promptly following a dog attack.
- Seek medical attention. Since a dog bite has a known risk of infection, it is essential to receive medical care promptly.
- Report the incident to the City of Manteca Animal Services Division or other area animal control agency. Even if you suffered a minor injury, file a report with local law enforcement and your city or county animal control.
- Take photos of your injuries. These should show any bruises, wounds, and injuries resulting from the dog bite.
- Contact an experienced attorney to understand what rights you have and what recourse can be taken for claiming compensation.
Many people may be unaware of the severity of dog bites. Most dogs have strong jaws and chest muscles that can be used to cause traumatic injuries. Those who have been bitten by a dog may be able to claim payments for damages such as lost wages, loss of earning potential (if the injury causes permanent disability), disfigurement, emotional distress, mental anguish, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. The replacement of personal property such as glasses, clothes or watches that may have been damaged during a dog attack may also be considered for reimbursement.Who Pays in a Dog Bite Claim?
Under California Civil Code section 3342, the owner of any dog that causes injuries to another party while lawfully in private property or public space can be held liable for damages incurred. Dog bite victims have the right to recover compensation by filing a claim against the homeowner's insurance policy of the dog owner. While recovery is not available for those who provoke a dog or trespass a private space, dog owners are usually financially responsible for all losses most of the time. If insurance is not available, a victim may be able to take action against the owner, but the chances of collecting compensation may be limited unless the owner has independent wealth.Statute of Limitations
There is a strict limit on the amount of time allowed to file a lawsuit in California. This is known as the statute of limitations, which is usually two years from the date of injury in a dog bite case. However, if a minor is involved (under 18 years of age), the time limit is extended until they are 18. For instance, a 10-year-old was bitten by a dog on January 1, 2018. That adolescent has two years from the time he or she turns 18 in which to file suit against the owner or keeper of the dog.
If a victim fails to file before this deadline, the case may be dismissed by the court. This is why it is critical to retain a personal injury attorney to protect the statute and secure your right to fair compensation.Dog Bite Injury FAQs
Q: I was petting a dog before it attacked me. Can I still bring a claim?
Yes. A claim can be brought so long as you were not provoking the dog. For instance, teasing, poking, or yelling at a dog would all be considered as forms of provocation, which could affect the outcome of your claim.
Q: I was bitten by a dog when I was visiting someone's apartment. Do I have a claim?
Yes. You may be able to file a claim if the tenant has renter's insurance. If the tenant does not have this type of insurance or has insufficient policy limits, you still may be able to file a claim against the landlord and/or the owner for dog bite injuries. A landlord may only be held liable under California law if that landlord was aware that the tenant's dog was dangerous and had the power to prevent the harm.
Q: I suffered a dog bite while I was at work. What now?
A: If you were bitten by a dog during the course of your work duties, you may have the grounds to file a workers' compensation claim in California against your employer. If the dog was owned by another party that is not your employer, you may also be able to bring a claim against that individual. Since every dog bite case is unique, it is essential to contact an experienced lawyer for further clarification.Manteca Dog Bite Lawyer
I'm Ed Smith, a Manteca dog bite lawyer. Dog bites can leave people with serious injuries, resulting in both mental and physical damages. Physical injuries from a dog bite can require weeks or even months of rehabilitation to recover from while psychological trauma can last a lifetime. If you or a loved one have been injured due to a dog bite or other injury inflicted by a dog, please reach out to me at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.
We take cases on a contingency fee basis which means you pay no attorney's fees upfront. We get paid at the successful outcome of your case.
I belong to the National Association of Distinguished Counsel as a member of California. The nation's top one percent of lawyers are promoted in this organization.
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You are invited to browse our Verdicts and Settlements page for a list of our past cases and their outcomes.
Photograph Attribution: By "freegr" via Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 5.14.19]