California Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bite injuries can be severe, leading to long-standing effects that may even leave some victims paralyzed or otherwise permanently disfigured. A canine attack can change a person’s life, leaving them incapacitated with a financially overwhelming journey ahead.
Fortunately, California is considered more generous to bite victims than some other states, as complete liability falls on the dog owner in most cases. A dog bite attorney in California can help you through the litigation process ahead.
As the victim of a canine attack, you need knowledgeable and trustworthy representation on your side, fighting to protect your best interest. The experienced team at Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law has built a reputation serving California families in their times of need.
Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online to speak with a member of our team who can help you get started with a free consultation appointment to discuss your case. All consultations are carried out by a trusted attorney on our staff. We speak English, Spanish, Punjabi, and Hindi.
What Can a Dog Bite Attorney in California Do to Help You Recover?
It’s always better to have a professional on your side, and when the financial stakes are so high, is it really worth the risk? A California attorney — like the ones from the dependable team at Singh Ahluwalia — has valuable experience advocating for bite victims who were left with serious injuries, and even-more painful bills!
Our team is passionate about helping families through the recovery process, and because many victims of canine attacks are children, we understand the urgency of these situations and the level of support you expect from legal aid.
Our services include more than just representation through litigation. On top of money, working with an attorney can also save you time and energy. As the victim of the attack, you’ve endured more than enough of your time being taken from you, and having the support of a legal team on your side can make this process less overwhelming.
The Legal Process Is Easier With Singh Ahluwalia
Most people don’t deal with the ins and outs of litigation every day. Without previous experience, there is no real way to know what to expect — both with the process and with the final outcome of the case. An attorney can clear up all of the gray areas around litigation, giving you confidence through compassionate representation. Your attorney is there to ensure that each step is conducted properly along the way. They are also available to handle complicated matters like paperwork or negotiations with the insurance company.
You know an attorney is a useful advocate with beneficial resources, but what exactly can an attorney do? Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law can help you:
- Understand California’s laws and systems around dog bites: Every state is different, and California has unique laws that can be tricky to grasp fully. We’ll help you understand how we utilize different aspects of the law to establish your case and fight for a fair settlement. Our team at Singh Ahluwalia will communicate with you to help you feel more confident in the steps of the settlement process.
- Investigate the evidence of your claim: While California is considerate to dog bite victims, it is still necessary to pull evidence from the situation to bring a successful case forward. An attorney can organize the relevant information from your story and extract proof as they dive deep into statements, photos/videos, and reports.
- Negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf: One of the trickiest parts of litigation is negotiating the actual settlement. Taking the relevant information and presenting it to the other party can be difficult on its own, but using it to successfully walk away with a comprehensive settlement can be even harder. An experienced professional like the legal team at Singh Ahluwalia is familiar with the negotiating table and is prepared to speak on your behalf with the strongest case possible.
Dog Bite Statistics
Dog biting incidents are unfortunately common throughout the U.S. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), around 4.5 million people suffer from dog bite-related injuries every year.
Because dogs and humans don’t speak the same language, it can be difficult to read the signs of an uncomfortable canine. This leads to many incidents of dog-on-human attacks. It is crucial that pet owners take the proper steps to train and desensitize their dogs to typical social stimuli in order to protect themselves and the safety of the community around them.
According to the AVMA article linked above, children are the most common victims of dog bite attacks. Often, these bites occur due to a lack of supervision of the animal and a misunderstanding of boundaries. Children and canines are groups that require special attention to facilitate and maintain boundaries and safety within an environment, so it is never recommended to leave them alone together.
California Dog Bite Claims
California is generally protective of the rights of bite victims in a court of law because the state is considered a “strict liability” state. This standard means that an injured person does not have to prove that the owner acted with negligence, causing the bite. The victim must only prove that the dog in question did bite them and that the incident happened on public property or when they were lawfully on the dog owner’s private property.
In California, dogs are considered the property of their owner, meaning that the owner can be held responsible for injuries and other damages like with any other type of property. As the owner’s liability for their pet’s actions is so serious in California, it is generally advised to socialize and train dogs before allowing them in public spaces.
In some instances, the dog owner cannot be held fully liable. If the injured person was agitating, harassing, or otherwise taunting the canine, a percentage of (or all of) the blame will be shifted from the dog to the human. The best way to fully understand how a court will see your case is to get a professional opinion. Contact Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law to schedule a consultation and get a better picture of the litigation process.
Common Injuries Associated With Dog Bites
Every canine attack will leave different injuries. Your unique injuries depend on the encounter between the animal and you or your loved one.
It is extremely important to seek medical attention right away after serious injuries sustained from a dog bite. Infections or diseases like rabies are easily spread through bites, and it is important to make a judgment call about the health of the animal in question when deciding how to approach treatment.
Of course, no two situations can be exactly the same, but the most common canine attack injuries include:
- Eye injuries
- Face injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Nerve damage
- Hand injuries
What Do I Do After I’ve Been Bitten or Attacked By a Dog in California?
A canine attack can be scary and overwhelming for the impacted family. Your next moves may feel unclear, but there is a standard set of steps that you can follow to protect the details and validity of your claim against the dog owner. The most important step is to try your best to avoid panicking, as no one makes rational decisions when they are panicked.
By working with a trusted legal team, you gain a knowledgeable and experienced set of advocates who can watch your back and guide you in the right direction when the process feels confusing. An attorney can also answer all of your pressing questions, helping you clarify important details that you may be overthinking.
By following these steps below and gathering documentation to provide to an attorney, you are setting yourself up for a well-organized case.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Canine attacks can come with a wide variety of serious injuries and even risks when left untreated. Severe punctures or lacerations should always be assessed by a medical professional. Thankfully, roughly 90% of rabies cases reported in the U.S. are from wildlife, but the occasional irresponsible dog owner can leave their community at risk.
Rabies is not the only threat to bite victims, though, as infections and other complications can arise from serious bites. The best way to realize the extent of your injuries is to see a medical professional for their expert opinion.
Without medical bills, your claim greatly decreases in value. If you don’t receive medical attention for your canine attack-related injuries, an insurer or defendant can even argue against other types of payments like pain, suffering, or trauma because that lack of treatment indicates a minor incident and not an extremely life-impacting event.
Reporting the Incident
If you wish to seek compensation for your canine attack injuries, you must also report it to the proper authorities. But, who are the proper authorities? Do you call the police for a dog bite? The answer: not always. Unless the injuries are severe or the dog owner grows hostile, and unwilling to cooperate, police presence may not be necessary.
You should inform your local animal control center of the attack and file an official report. Any reports will act as evidence in your case, and further action may be required by animal control. A ten-day quarantine period is typical for most dogs that were reported to have bitten someone. This quarantine period is to check for rabies and other threats to public health and safety. If the dog poses no threat to the community, it can be returned to its owner.
It is not required for reported dogs to be put down in California. The only instances where it may be deemed necessary for this extreme action to be taken are if the dog has rabies, has a history of past offenses, or if the canine is trained to attack or kill and harm an innocent civilian.
Document All Injuries
The phrase “a picture speaks a thousand words” rings true in personal injury cases like canine attacks. A doctor’s description of your injuries is essential, but it can only go so far when expressing the real impact the event had on your body and your life. Be sure to take photos of all of the sustained injuries, along with damaged belongings like clothes. When it comes to evidence, the more, the better, so take as many photos or videos as you need to document the extent of all your injuries.
The Formal Demand Letter
Your letter of demand is your list of damages that you are pursuing the negligent party. A formal demand letter is a necessary part of the litigation process — but it does not have to be complicated or burden you as the victim of the attack. In fact, your dog bite lawyer can organize, write, and send off your formal demand letter on your behalf.
Because California considers pets as property, if the negligent party has specific protection under their property insurance, this formal demand letter may be sent to the other party’s insurer. This letter should include a statement of the facts of the event, a description of the owner’s liability, and the kind of injuries you have sustained.
What Does the Legal Process Look Like for Dog Bite Incidents?
After a dog bite incident, you will likely follow through with one of two paths of litigation: claim or lawsuit. The path depends on the dog owner’s insurance policy, whether it covers their canine, and whether the insurer or dog owner is willing to accept the full liability.
Regardless of whether you file a claim or a lawsuit, you will go through an investigation and negotiation process.
Homeowner’s policies may cover any injuries sustained by invitees, sometimes even outside the home.
Some homeowners’ policies cover dog bites through personal liability and medical expenses coverage, but it is not a guarantee. It is even possible that the other party does not know if they are covered at the time of the event. This is why you should still ask for the other party’s insurance information at the scene or when you are physically able to. Even if the canine attack did not happen on their personal property, but instead on public property, it may still be covered in the policy.
In cases where the liable party does not have insurance coverage for the damages they caused, or if they or their insurer refuses to accept liability, your remaining option is a lawsuit. A lawsuit is a formal civil complaint filed requesting a settlement from the named at-fault party. The owner and their insurer may be named in the lawsuit, either separately or jointly.
Most dog bite suits are typically carried out in small claims court and can take, on average, a few months to resolve. A total settlement depends on various factors like injuries and severity, but on average a dog bite case is worth $50,000 for a typical attack. This average is not a guarantee, though, as individual cases may see more or less than this value.
If You or a Loved One Were Injured in a Canine Attack, Call a California Dog Bite Lawyer!
A dog bite can be a daunting experience, and the following steps can seem a bit foggy if you aren’t familiar with the rules and regulations surrounding canines in your community.
If you were injured in a canine attack, you need experienced, trustworthy representation to guide you through the complexities of litigation to help you get back to normalcy in your life.
After a dog bite incident, you’ll want to know what lies ahead. A free case review from Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law can give you the clarity you need to move forward in this process with confidence.