If you suffered injuries in a dog bite attack, your injuries might be physical and emotional.
Before your traumatic experience, you may have viewed dogs as loving companions.
Now you may be reeling from the psychological trauma and the hardship of recovering from your injuries.
You deserve to recover compensation from the dog owner for the losses you experienced as a result of the attack.
Read on to learn the steps for filing a dog bite lawsuit, what you may be entitled to recover in compensation, and how an California dog bite attorney can help you.
6 Steps for Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit
It may be difficult to stay calm and know what to do immediately after a dog bite attack. However, remembering the following six steps help protect your rights and assists your future attorney in filing a solid case on your behalf.
- Seek Medical Attention
Seek medical attention immediately after a dog bite attack. Dogs carry various types of bacteria in their mouth. Even if a bite initially seems minor, it’s best to avoid a possible infection by seeing a medical professional.
They may prescribe antibiotics to prevent any further complications. It’s also important to connect your medical expenses directly to the dog attack.
Waiting or delaying a medical evaluation could open up arguments from the dog owner that your injuries did not result from the attack, but happened at a later time.
- Gather Information
If you are physically able, get the name and contact information of the dog owner. Take down the names and contact information of any witnesses to the attack, as they may provide testimony during negotiations and at trial.
- Report the Attack
Call the police and contact the local health department. California requires the dog owner and the victim to notify their health departments of the attack. An official police report strengthens your insurance claim and personal injury lawsuit.
Once an attack is reported, the county agency usually conducts its own investigation to determine the accident’s circumstances, identify the owner, and evaluate potential risks from the attack.
For example, they may assess whether or not the dog is vaccinated and determine if further medical treatment is required for your injury.
- Document Your Injuries
Take photographs of the surrounding area and the property where the attack occurred. For example, helpful information to photograph might include a faulty fence that failed to enclose the dog securely.
Additionally, take photographs of your injury to coincide with your medical treatment.
Write down your immediate recollection of the events that happened immediately before, during, and after the attack. And write down as much detail as possible.
Memories fade quickly, and it’s imperative that you remember all the relevant details that can help your compensation claim.
- Maintain Records
Keep all records related to the dog bite attack in a safe place. Your attorney uses these documents to build a strong case on your behalf.
Maintain paperwork of costs and medical treatment along with proof of any missed work due to your injury. Additionally, documentation such as invoices and bills helps calculate the extent of your economic losses.
- Retain an Attorney
Speak to a qualified personal injury attorney to discuss your options for getting compensation from the dog owner. Y
our attorney gets to work immediately on establishing a solid case on your behalf. With the knowledge of this complex area of personal injury law, they get the evidence needed to support the validity of your claim.
More You Should Know Regarding Your California Dog Attack Lawsuit
California divides compensatory damages into economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include direct financial losses resulting from your injury and usually include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and
- Property damage.
Documentation assists your attorney in calculating a value for your economic losses. You should keep pay stubs, invoices, bills, and other similar documentation for the duration of your lawsuit.
Noneconomic damages represent more subjective losses resulting from your injury’s psychological and emotional impact on your life. Noneconomic damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of consortium,
- Loss of enjoyment of life,
- Permanent disability, and
Due to the traumatic nature of a dog bite attack, many victims suffer from prolonged trauma. Noneconomic damages include these intangible losses that severely interrupt a victim’s daily life.
Though no one can physically see these injuries, they can forever change a victim. Without an attorney, noneconomic damages are challenging to prove and recover.
California Statute of Limitations for a Dog Bite Personal Injury Claim
The California statute of limitations for a dog bite personal injury claim is the period of time within which the law allows a person to file a lawsuit.
While exceptions may exist in limited circumstances, a failure to file within the prescribed period forever bars an individual from filing at a later time. So if you do not file on time, you will not be able to get compensated for your losses.
The statute of limitations in California for dog bite attacks is two years from the date of the attack. Situations where the statute of limitations may be tolled include the following:
- If the dog owner leaves the state after the injury but before the lawsuit can be filed, the statute of limitations is tolled, or paused, until the owner returns; and
- If the dog bite victim was under 18 at the time of the attack, the statute of limitations doesn’t begin to run until the victim turns 18.
Don’t miss out on your opportunity to pursue the financial compensation you deserve. Speak to an attorney to determine the statute of limitations in your case and whether any exceptions apply.
Contact Our Expert California Dog Bite Lawyers Today
At the Weinberg Law Offices, we work tirelessly to fight for the just compensation you deserve. We understand that after a dog bite, you may feel overwhelmed, scared, and traumatized by your experience.
As you focus on your recovery, our legal team works on your case. We communicate with you throughout the entire process to ensure that you know the status of your case at every phase.
Our ultimate mission is to ensure you get the financial compensation you need from the party responsible for your injuries.
We are skilled negotiators who are always bold in taking your case to trial if negotiations fail to progress. Contact the Weinberg Law Offices today for a free case review to learn how we can help you.