Dog bites can cause serious injuries; besides lacerations, victims can experience disfigurement, scarring, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. Studies have revealed that 4.7 million Americans a year are bitten by dogs. One-fifth of these dog bites result in injuries serious enough for medical attention and more than 29,000 reconstructive surgeries related to dog bites are performed annually.
Such injuries can have a crippling effect on an injured victim’s life; therefore, he or she is justified in seeking compensation from the responsible party.
Navigating the legal maze to get your medical bills paid and obtain a fair recovery for your injuries can be complicated. Having an experienced Dog Bite Injury Attorney by your side can ease the process. If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries from a dog bite in Elg Grove and Sacramento County, call the O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm for legal help.
In Elk Grove, unless in designated zones, owners are required to always have their dogs leashed. Such laws are part of the county codes and can vary depending on which county you live in.
California has created specific laws to help determine liability in dog bite injuries regardless of where one lives within the state. Such laws are warranted when one considers that the average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay is $18,200; this is approximately 50 percent higher than the average injury-related hospital stay. Therefore, when someone is seriously injured by a dog, it is only just that the victim has the means to seek compensation for their injuries.
California Civil Code Section 3342(a) states the following: The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.
Although there are some exceptions to this law, such as if someone provoked the dog or trespassed on the owner's land, in the majority of the cases, if a dog bites a person, the owner is responsible for all damages.
Responsibility for a dog bite can include a landlord. For example, if the landlord, or any representatives of the landlord, possesses knowledge of a vicious dog living on the property owned and had the opportunity to have the dog removed prior to an attack that injured a victim. This type of liability can only be proved when factual evidence is obtained which requires a thorough investigation.
Liability is not always clear-cut when it comes to a dog bite injury. There are additional factors that come into play and need to be considered. For example, what if a child was bitten at daycare or perhaps injured at school by a dog that was brought onto the grounds by another child? What if a serious injury was caused by a dog being overly playful or excited? How is liability determined if someone was severely injured by a dog in an animal shelter? How should someone react if an injury occurred in a family member’s home by a dog well-known? With such a variety of circumstances that can surround this type of injury, if you have been injured from a dog bite it is best to call an experienced attorney that has the knowledge and skill to help you determine if you have a case.
The first thing a knowledgeable personal injury attorney needs to do is to find out if there is insurance that can be used to compensate the injured victim. Victims need to be aware that if the dog owner, or person(s) responsible for your injuries, has no insurance there is little hope of obtaining compensation for your damages. However, depending on the circumstances, an attorney would find out if homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance can be applied to your case. If there is a commercial entity, an apartment, or perhaps a landlord then an investigation can be made to see if they have coverage that can be applied.
If you need help with your dog bite injury case in Elk Grove and Sacramento County, contact the O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm today.
The sooner you call, the easier it is for us to work together to identify and preserve the evidence in your favor.
We prepare every case as if it's going to go to trial, which leads to both better and quicker settlements and better verdicts if a settlement isn't possible.
Our firm is large enough to stand up to the tactics of the defendants and small enough to treat you and your family with the respect and concern you deserve. Simply put: we get results.