Huntington Beach Dog Bite Lawyers
The US is a nation of dog lovers, and some studies estimate that up to 69 million American households are home to at least one canine friend. Still, though they have been domesticated for generations, it is important to remember that dogs are animals. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 316,500 people head to hospital emergency rooms for treatment of dog bite injuries every year. Unfortunately, a disproportionate number of victims are children. CDC data indicates that more than 67,000 individuals bitten by dogs are under 10 years old, comprising around 1 in 5 victims.
As is the case in other US states, California has multiple laws and legal theories that protect the interests of dog bite victims. You may qualify to recover compensation for your losses, and you can rely on El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers to assist with the process. Our team has extensive experience with these claims, and personal injury cases are our firm’s primary focus. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our Huntington Beach dog bite lawyers, and read on for a summary of the laws.
Overview of California Dog Bite Laws
There are multiple theories of liability under which you may be able to pursue the animal’s owner or handler for compensation. The exact strategy will depend upon your unique circumstances, and our lawyers will navigate the legal requirements. Your case might encompass:
- California’s Dog Bite Statute: Lawmakers enacted a law that makes the dog’s owner strictly liable for bites, which means you do not have to prove that the owner was negligent in handling the animal.
- The “One Bite” Rule: Through opinions handed down by courts over the years, there is also dog bite liability under common law. It is necessary to prove that the animal had bitten or exhibited other aggression in the past, and that the owner knew or should have known about the dangers.
- Negligence Principles: If the dog’s owner is negligent in handling the animal, a victim may seek compensation under the theory of negligence. The concept refers to a breach of the duty to use reasonable care in managing the dog. It could even be a case of negligence per se if the owner violates a regulation directed at dogs, such as leash laws.
Note that misconduct by the victim does impact liability. When a person was trespassing or provoked the dog, compensation may be barred.
How Dog Bite Claims Work
You might be aware that you file a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurer after a car accident, and the same basic strategy applies in a dog bite case. Homeowners, businesses, and property owners carry policies to protect their interests in the event of an accident. However, even when your rights seem clear and you have solid evidence, insurers often deny claims or offer a lowball amount to settle. These companies seek to maximize profits and minimize losses, so your claim is a threat to their bottom line. El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers is diligent in filing insurance claims for dog bite injuries, and we will not settle for compensation that falls short.
If the insurance company refuses to pay, our Huntington Beach dog bite lawyers will move forward with a lawsuit. Our team will tackle all litigation tasks, including:
- Preparing the complaint;
- Serving the defendant;
- Attending all court appearances;
- Raising motions in your favor and defending those filed by the opposing side;
- Handling discovery and depositions; and,
- Representing you at trial.
Monetary Damages in Dog Bite Claims
Compensation in personal injury matters aims to make the victim whole as if the incident never happened. Therefore, you may qualify for a wide range of damages in a dog bite claim, such as:
- Medical costs for emergency care, hospitalization, and surgery – including cosmetic surgery;
- Lost income, if you were unable to work because of your injuries;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Scarring and disfigurement; and,
- Other losses affect your quality of life.
In some dog bite cases, punitive damages may be available. An award of punitive damages will depend on whether the actions of the animal’s owner were intentional, malicious, or otherwise outrageous.
Trust Our Huntington Beach Dog Bite Lawyers to Advise You
It is a relief to know that compensation is available for victims of animal attacks, but legal help is critical for pursuing all potential parties. For more information, please call (213) 985-1120 or go online to reach El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers. We can set up a free case review with a Southern California dog bite attorney who will provide personalized details.
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