Have you or your child been bitten by someone else’s dog in San Diego, CA? A dog bite attack can be traumatizing and leave victims with life-changing injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical treatment, pain and suffering, and other damages.
For over 25 years, Mission Personal Injury Lawyers has represented dog bite victims and their families in holding dog owners accountable.
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How Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After Suffering a Dog Bite in San Diego
At Mission Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand how traumatizing a dog bite can be, especially when the victim is your child. When a dog owner has allowed their dog to hurt you or your child, you deserve a passionate legal advocate who will fight to hold them accountable.
A San Diego personal injury attorney at Mission Personal Injury Lawyers is here to fight for you. Over the past 25 years, we have earned numerous awards, including the Best of the Bar award from the San Diego Business Journal. Our reputation and success have earned us a Superb 10.0 AVVO rating.
We put our expertise and reputation to work on your behalf.
Choose Mission Personal Injury Lawyers in San Diego, California, to represent you and/or your child, and we will:
- Offer legal guidance and advice
- Identify the dog owner and determine if your case requires proving negligence
- Gather evidence to prove the dog owner was negligent
- Accurately value the extent of your damages
- Fight any attempts by the insurance company to victim-blame
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Take your case to court if the insurance company won’t make a fair offer
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers is not afraid to take your case before a jury for maximum compensation. Put our experience to work for you and call us for a free consultation with a San Diego dog bite lawyer at our firm.
How Common Are Dog Bites in California?
There are nearly 4.5 million dog bites across the United States each year. Of these animal attacks, about 800,000 require medical attention. In 2006 alone, about 334,000 people visited an emergency room for dog bite treatment.
Sadly, children are most likely to be victims of serious injury due to dog bites. According to the CDC, injury rates for dog bites are highest for children between 5 and 9. About 42% of non-fatal dog bites treated in emergency rooms occurred among children under 14.
Young children may approach strange dogs and fail to recognize signs that a dog is fearful, angry, or about to bite. Young children are also more likely to be bitten in the face or neck and suffer serious, disfiguring injuries.
The CDC also found that around 8% of dog bites for people over 14 were work-related. This percentage included people delivering mail or food, people doing work at someone’s home, and those working at animal shelters and clinics.
According to a report by insurance company State Farm, California is the top state for dog-related injury claims. The insurer paid $123 million for almost 3,300 dog bite and injury claims across the nation in 2018. Approximately 18.6 million of this amount went to 409 California claims.
What Is My Dog Bite Case Worth?
The value of a dog bite injury claim depends on many factors. We cannot estimate the value of dog bite cases without a consultation and careful review.
However, the following general factors can affect your claim’s value:
- The severity and type of injuries
- Cost of medical treatment and future expenses
- Value of lost wages
- Pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other “invisible” injuries
- Loss of a normal life
- Whether the attack left you disabled or disfigured
- Circumstances of your case, such as whether the dog was known to be dangerous and whether the animal attacked you on the dog owner’s property or in public.
Contact a San Diego dog bite attorney at Mission Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss what your case may be worth.
What Compensation Can I Recover for My Dog Bite Injuries in San Diego, California?
If someone else’s dog has bitten you, you may be entitled to compensatory damages for your injuries.
There is no limit to the amount of damages you may recover from the dog owner and their insurance company for:
- Medical expenses, including future anticipated medical costs. This includes reconstructive plastic surgery.
- Lost wages
- Reduced or lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional trauma
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of the use of a limb
If your loved one was killed in a fatal dog attack, you may be able to recover damages through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Some dog bite cases qualify for punitive damages designed to punish the dog owner for shocking behavior. These damages require showing the defendant’s actions were malicious or willful, displaying a conscious disregard for the safety and rights of others.
In most cases, you can seek damages from the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance policy. Dog bites are the most common type of liability claim on homeowner’s insurance. However, some insurance companies exclude liability coverage for specific breeds.
We’ll Fight to Recover Compensation for All of Your Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries can be painful, traumatic, and disfiguring.
The CDC found that dog bite injuries treated in an ER most often occurred to the following parts of the body:
- Arm or hand: 45.3%
- Leg or foot: 25.8%
- Head and neck: 22.8%
However, almost 65% of injuries to children under four were to the head and neck. As age increases, the risk of head, face, and neck injuries goes down.
Dog bites can result in a range of serious injuries, such as:
- Avulsion injuries where a ligament, joint capsule, tendon, or muscle attachment is pulled from the bone and damaged by trauma
- Contusions or hematomas
- Crush injuries
Children and the elderly are most likely to suffer serious and disfiguring injuries. This may include facial fractures, skull fractures, and arm fractures. Dog bites frequently require extensive reconstructive surgery, especially among children.
Are Dog Owners Strictly Liable for Dog Bites in California?
The typical dog bite victim is under 18 and bitten by either their family dog (30%) or a neighbor’s dog (50%). However, dog bites can also occur while visiting someone else’s home as a guest, enjoying a public park, or even walking down the sidewalk.
Unlike some states, California does not have a “one bite rule.” Dog owners are strictly liable for any damages when their dog bites someone. This means a victim does not have to prove the dog owner was negligent; they are liable for their dog’s bite accident by default.
Under California Civil Code Section 3342, a dog owner can be held accountable even if they took all reasonable precautions to avoid their dog harming anyone. This strict liability rule holds dog owners responsible when a dog bite happens in public or anywhere the victim had a legal right to be. This is even true for dog bites on the property owner’s property under premises liability law.
However, there are exceptions to this strict liability.
A dog owner is not strictly liable if:
- The owner is not being sued,
- The victim was trespassing on the owner’s property,
- The victim was partially responsible for their injuries,
- The victim assumed the risk of being bitten, or
- The dog was a law enforcement animal on the job.
If any of these exceptions applies to your case, the owner can’t be strictly liable. You may still recover compensation if the dog owner was negligent.
When you are suing a dog owner for negligence, the “one bite rule” can come into effect. If the dog previously bit someone, it can be used as proof that the owner knew the dog was dangerous. In this case, the dog owner can be strictly liable for future dog bites.
This awareness can come into effect if the victim was working in a field that comes with the risk of a bite, such as a veterinarian or you are suing someone other than the dog owner. For example, if the dog owner was a renter in an apartment building and does not have insurance, you may have a claim against the apartment building owner if the dog was a known danger.
Dog owners can defend themselves against this one bite rule if the victim contributed to their injuries by provoking the dog, trespassing, or assuming the risk.
California law generally does not allow someone to recover damages for a dog bite if:
- The victim was trespassing on private property
- The victim provoked the dog
- The dog was protecting its owner or someone else
Note that you may still have a claim against the dog owner if you were attacked but not bitten. However, this requires showing negligence.
How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in California?
Dog bite victims have just two years from the date of the bite to file a lawsuit in California. This statute of limitations also applies to wrongful death claims involving dog attacks. If you do not file your claim in time, you can be barred from recovering anything.
Do not delay; consult with an experienced San Diego dog bite injury lawyer as soon as possible to pursue your claim. At Mission Personal Injury Lawyers, we will work to gather and preserve evidence to protect your case.
Contact Our San Diego Dog Bite Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you or your child has been injured in a dog bite attack, Mission Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help you. We will fight to hold the dog owner accountable for the injuries their animal caused and seek maximum compensation for your injuries.
Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation with a compassionate San Diego dog bite lawyer. We will help you take the legal steps necessary with no attorney’s fees unless we win your case.