Dogs provide unrivaled companionship and fun, making them popular pets. From single dog owners to large families, most dog owners consider their dogs part of the family. Unfortunately, no matter how much pet owners trust their dogs, they may act differently around others. If you accepted an invitation to a friend or neighbor’s house only to experience a severe dog bite injury, you should contact an attorney.
Pursuing compensation for your damages can prove complex. Contact a Burbank dog bite lawyer today to ask questions and determine your eligibility to file a claim.
Why Dogs Bite
Whether a family pet or a stray, dogs that bite typically do so for a reason.
The following list includes common triggers of dog bites:
- Fear: Some dogs bite when startled, afraid, or overwhelmed by a person or situation.
- Protection: A dog may bite to protect its owner, its puppies, or anything it values.
- Pain or sickness: Changes in behavior may signal that a dog does not feel well or is in pain.
- Frustration: A leash or unobtainable object can cause a dog to bite in frustration.
- Play: Light biting is still biting and dangerous —what may seem playful to a pup can cause serious harm to you or your child.
If a pet owner failed to maintain control of a dog, resulting in serious harm to you or a loved one, a lawyer can help. Contacting a California dog bite attorney can help you learn more about whether you have a case for possible compensation.
The Six Levels of Dog Bites
A scale developed by Ian Dunbar describes six levels of dog bites.
The Dunbar Dog Bite Scale lists the levels:
- Level 1: Aggressive behavior but no skin contact with teeth.
- Level 2: Skin contact by teeth, but no skin puncture.
- Level 3: One to four punctures with a single bite, with no puncture longer than half the length of a dog’s canine teeth.
- Level 4: One to four punctures with a single bite, with the puncture longer than half the length of a dog’s canine teeth.
- Level 5: Multi-bite incident with at least two Level 4 bites or a multiple attack incident with at least one Level 4 bite in each wound.
- Level 6: Bite is fatal, leaving the victim dead.
The Dunbar Dog Bite Scale outlines the severity of specific dog bites on the human body. Dog bites constitute serious injuries that, without immediate medical attention, can risk infection and other dangerous outcomes.
Seeking immediate medical help can help save your life. It also serves as a form of documentation should you decide to pursue compensation. The severity of your dog bite injury may impact your quality of life, leaving you with physical, emotional, psychological, and financial damage.
Dog Bite Injuries in California
Rabies constitutes one of the most dangerous outcomes of a dog bite. The rabies virus affects the human body’s central nervous system. Without immediate and appropriate medical attention, brain disease or death can occur. Proof of a recent rabies vaccination can alleviate your fear of rabies. Unfortunately, if a pet owner fails to produce such documentation, dog bite victims typically face 14 days of uncomfortable treatment.
Infection constitutes another danger of dog bites. Roughly half of a dog’s mouth contains bacteria, according to the Cleveland Clinic. An intravenous antibiotic may become necessary for treating the infection.
Children face a significant risk of head, neck, and facial injuries from a dog bite because their small stature places them close to a dog’s mouth. Some children may require plastic surgery to replace scars. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is another possible outcome for children after a traumatic dog bite.
Dog bite injuries almost always involve more than a scratch; they are life-changing injuries that demand justice when caused by an uncontrolled pet. A professional dog bite lawyer will treat you with care and compassion and aggressively fight for compensation on your behalf.
How a Dog Bite Attorney Can Help You
A dog bite attorney can help you by investigating your incident. An attorney can decide the best path forward for your case upon a thorough review of the what, where, how, and why of your dog bite incident.
Dog bite injuries generally fall under the umbrella of premises liability law. When a neighbor, friend, or another person invites you onto a property, you accept the invitation expecting to remain safe from harm. You assume the property owner maintains a safe environment, especially when it comes to pets.
If a property owner failed to maintain control of a dog, a dog bite attorney can fight for:
- Your medical costs and ongoing expenses relating to the bite;
- Lost wages due to your time recovering;
- Potential future income possible had you not suffered a dog bite; and
- Pain and suffering, including the mental and physical anguish caused by the pet owner’s negligence.
A pet owner may act defiantly when it comes to his or her dog’s behavior. The owner may attempt to fault you for the incident. Victim shaming in this type of case can cause an insurance company to deny your compensation claim.
Protecting your best interests is paramount, regardless of whether the pet owner is a friend or neighbor. Obviously, you want to maintain peace with people that you care about, but you should still pursue compensation for your damages. An insurance company may pay on behalf of your friend or neighbor.
You do not have to face reluctant or aggressive insurance companies alone. However, if an uncontrolled dog seriously harmed you or a close loved one, reach out to a California dog bite lawyer today.
Do Not Accept a Settlement On Your Own
Insurance companies seek to convince dog bite victims to settle quickly and without legal representation. If an insurance adjuster tells you that you do not need an attorney, do not follow that advice. Instead, trust your gut instinct and contact a Burbank personal injury lawyer without delay.
If you accept a settlement offer, you may not pursue further compensation should your medical condition worsen. Accepting the offer will close your claim and leave you with no other options for additional compensation.
Insurance companies want to settle claims quickly and for the least amount possible. Unfortunately, some insurance companies will deny claims or simply not respond. If this happens to you, you should contact a lawyer. Dog bite attorneys can easily spot insurance company tactics and counter them. These legal skills will prove invaluable when it comes to pursuing compensation.
Most dog bite cases settle without going to trial. However, if necessary, your attorney may decide to take your case before a judge and jury. If this happens, your lawyer will keep you updated from start to finish.
No one can predict the outcome of your case. However, a fair settlement is worth fighting for, and a California dog bite lawyer can help you fight for it.
Level 6 Dog Bites
While somewhat rare, a fatal dog bite can turn your world upside down. If you lost a close loved one due to a dog bite, the pet owner may face liability for your loss. If you choose to pursue legal action, you should refrain from speaking with the pet owner until the conclusion of your claim. Protecting your case is crucial as you start the legal process.
Compensation can never replace a loved one. It can, however, lessen your stress when it comes to financial costs. Funerals cost thousands of dollars and constitute an unexpected expense for many families. You can pursue compensation for these costs and other damages in a wrongful death claim and lawsuit.
Wrongful death cases involve heightened emotion. You don’t want to have to deal with insurance companies during this time of grief. If you suffered a tragic loss due to an out-of-control dog, contact a California wrongful death attorney today.
You Should Consider Pursuing Treatment and Compensation for Your Dog Bite Injuries a Top Priority
The dog responsible for your injuries may belong to a friend. As a dog bite victim, you may feel anxious about pursuing compensation from someone you know and whose company you enjoy.
Friendship does not pay extensive medical costs, compensate for lost income, or provide for all other damages. Therefore, maintaining a strong focus on your need for compensation and justice is vital to helping you through this difficult time.
The bottom line is that a true friend or neighbor must do everything possible to maintain a safe environment for guests. Failure to do so makes pet owners liable for the harm caused by their dogs.
A dog bite is a severe and frightening matter. The trauma of such an event can stay with you throughout your lifetime. Protect your best interests against insurance companies and pet owners and consider contacting a lawyer as soon as possible.
Understanding Dog Bite Attorney Fees
Hiring a dog bite attorney does not mean you need money upfront to retain such services. Most California dog bite attorneys work on a contingency-fee-basis. Therefore, if they do not win your case, you do not owe them legal fees. However, if and when they do successfully recover compensation on your behalf, they will deduct their fees from the compensation.
Far too often, accident victims delay contacting an attorney because they fear the costs. The reality is that accident victims cannot afford not to contact an attorney for help. Insurance companies are highly skilled at confusing accident victims. Protecting your best interests is paramount as you deal with mounting medical bills and no or reduced income.
Depending upon the severity of your injuries, you may require extensive medical care. A lawyer can help you fight for compensation; however, you must act quickly. The statute of limitations sets a strict deadline for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
A dog bite is a traumatic event that can cause you to lose track of time. Consider hiring an attorney to deal with the specifics of your case —including court deadlines —and focus on your rest and recovery.
Having a lawyer managing your case, along with knowing that you owe no money upfront, can place your mind at ease. What happened to you was not fair, and you should not pay for your damages out-of-pocket.
Seek Legal Help for Your Dog Bite Case
Dog bites can prove both painful and scary. An especially violent attack can forever change how or if you approach a dog again. Due to dogs’ unpredictable behavior, pet owners must maintain reasonable control of their dogs when inviting visitors over.
A neighborhood cookout or time spent with friends can turn tragic in a second. If your social event on someone else’s property left you or a loved one with emotional and physical scars, you may want to contact an attorney.
You should consider contacting an attorney for help with your dog bite case. You can assist your attorney by providing as much information as possible. For example, documenting the date, pictures of your wounds, and eyewitness statements can help build your compensation case.
A free case evaluation constitutes an important first step following a dangerous dog bite. After you seek immediate medical care, consider contacting a California dog bite lawyer. The sooner you reach out to a lawyer, the faster he or she can get to work for you.
Many dogs become lovable and faithful companions. However, all dogs have the potential to bite when scared, protective, sick, or playful. If your dog bite injuries resulted in extensive medical bills, lost wages, and nightmares, think about contacting a dog bite lawyer without delay.
Do not agree to any terms offered by your friend, neighbor, or insurance representatives. Protect your best interest and stand up for what you deserve. Failure to maintain a safe environment for invitees is grounds for possible liability when it comes to negligence. Do not wait; consider contacting a dog bite attorney now.