Dog Bite & Animal Attack Attorneys in Bakersfield, CA
People who have never been attacked by a dog may consider dog bites to be a relatively minor issue. However, victims of dog bites know better. Many dog bites result in serious personal injury for California residents. Even those that are minor can cause significant trauma and a lifetime of emotional distress. Bakersfield dog bite lawyer Mickey Fine knows how devastating animal attacks can be.
In the state of California, dog bites are a strict liability issue. This means that the homeowner can be responsible for your medical expenses, lost wages, and personal pain and suffering. It is important to speak to Bakersfield personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one was bitten by a dog and seriously injured.
Why Dog Attacks Happen
In the United States, nearly four and a half million people are bitten by dogs each year. Out of four and a half million, one-fifth of them will end up needing medical attention to treat their injuries. Unfortunately, many of these victims end up being young children under the age of thirteen. Children are much more likely to be bitten by dogs due to their smaller size and awareness of how to properly act around dogs.
Believe it or not, many dog bites happen with familiar dogs. This is why it is so important to educate your loved ones about how to properly act around dogs to minimize the chance of being bitten. Any dog can bite and cause serious injuries, and the reasons they bite often have to do with the following:
Dogs are naturally possessive animals. They can be protective of any number of things, including:
Their owners and families
Teach your children to avoid intervening with any of the above things when around dogs. Even though a dog may seem harmless at that time, a situation can change very quickly when it feels as if its “possessions” are threatened.
Dogs usually have a fear of the unknown. Whether it be the vet or the postman, the unknown can strike fear in the mind of the dog. It is important that you never approach an unfamiliar dog, as bites can occur if it is startled or feels threatened. Teach your children to never approach dogs at a fence and to never approach a dog from behind, close to its face, or while it is sleeping.
The Dog is in Pain
Dogs that are having an issue that causes them pain are also a threat to bite. If a dog has an issue such as hip dysplasia or another chronic injury, be sure that you do not touch or mess with the aggravated areas on the dog’s body. A dog that is caused discomfort will often resort to biting to relieve the stress of the situation.
When dogs have puppies, maternal instincts can turn the most loving and friendly to protective and dangerous. Respect a dog if she has just had puppies. Encourage children to be cautious around newborn puppies, as their mothers may consider them to be a threat.
A situation that some may not be aware of is dogs are sometimes triggered by running or cycling. This situation can often result in a chase. It is important always to be aware of your surroundings and if you ever happen to be in this situation, try to avoid crossing paths with a dog. If a dog begins to chase you:
Stop, stand still, and face the dog.
Do not look the dog in the eye, as this can be seen as a challenge by the dog.
If they come up and sniff you, they will most likely find you uninteresting and move on.
If the dog knocks you down or lunges toward you, curl up and protect your face and neck and try to remain still.
We understand that a dangerous dog attack can be a frightening experience and can leave bite victims with injuries, medical bills, and emotional distress. The Law Offices of Mickey Fine are dedicated to defending Bakersfield dog bite victims and helping them recover compensation for the injuries sustained in these incidents.
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Attack
If you suffer dog bite injuries, it’s important that you receive proper care for your injuries and take steps to ensure that you can recover the full and fair compensation due to you.
Seek Medical Attention
Dog bite wounds often cause a serious risk of infection to their victims. If you are even bitten by a dog, it is important that you seek medical attention right away and get treatment for your wounds. If the bite is serious enough, take no chances and call an ambulance right away.
Identify the Attacking Dog
It is important that you or someone you trust identifies the dog that bit you so that the owner of the dog can be notified of your situation. The owner is very important in your case because they are the responsible party. The owner’s home insurance will usually be the party responsible for paying for your injuries.
Report Your Attack
You should always report your dog bite attack to your local animal control agency or police department. You should provide information to them about the dog, including the owner of the dog’s name and home address. If the dog happened to be a stray or was otherwise unidentifiable, do your best to describe the dog’s appearance and the approximate location of where the attack occurred.
Take Photos of the Injuries You Sustain
As soon as you are able, take pictures of all of your visible wounds. Include all bruises, lacerations, and scrapes. We recommend that you also take photos of the clothes you were wearing during the attack just in case they have blood or dirt on them, which could help your case. If at all possible, try and get a photograph of the dog and where you were attacked.
Contact Bakersfield Dog Bite Lawyer Mickey Fine
After a dog bite incident, you may be suffering from severe pain, trauma, medical bills, and treatments. You may also face pressure from the at-fault owner’s insurance company for settlement offers. It is important that you try and act quickly because time is very important to your case. Your chances of having a successful claim increase if you hire a skilled dog bite lawyer like Mickey Fine.
Mickey Fine is committed to providing legal aid to the communities of Bakersfield. Dog bites require investigation that’s both quick and efficient. Mr. Fine will act swiftly in your case because he knows that time is of the essence. Preserving evidence, interviewing witnesses, and identifying the at-fault party are all things Mickey Fine will do for you.
What is California’s Dog Bite Law?
Dog owners in California are strictly liable for the injuries caused by their dog to another person. However, there are some defenses that dog owners can bring on their side.
Trespassing and Dog Bites
California’s strict liability law only applies in cases where a person is attacked in a public area or is in a private area, such as the owner’s property, lawfully. A defense that is commonly presented in dog bite claims is one in which the defendant claims that the plaintiff was trespassing on their property at the time of the attack. If this is the case, California’s strict liability law is off of the table.
An example of trespassing that is often overlooked happens to be:
A family with small children is lawfully present in the home of a dog owner. The dog owner told the family with small children that they cannot go into the backyard because the dog was being skittish about strange people. One of the children happens to get into the backyard without their parents noticing and is bitten by the dog. The court will often uphold the side of the dog owner due to the owner specifically stating not to go into the backyard.
What if My Injury Was Not a Bite?
California’s dog bite law states that an owner is only strictly liable if the injury caused by their dog was a bite. Further, the injury must be caused by a bite, but the skin of the victim does not have to be broken. For example, if the victim experiences bruising or nerve damage but there is no breakage of the skin, the dog’s owner is still strictly liable under California law for the victim’s injuries.
Conversely, if the injuries were caused by the dog jumping on or knocking over the victim, the owner is not responsible under California’s strict liability law. However, the dog owner may be held responsible for negligence which we will discuss later on.
Assumption of Risk
The events leading up to a victim being bitten by a dog are also essential to a dog bite case in California. If the victim of a bite was kicking, teasing, or provoking the dog in any way, the owner is not held liable for injuries to the victim. In these cases, the owner can bring the defense that the victim was conducting themselves in such a way that they assumed the risk of their attack.
Children Under 5 Years Old
In California, children under the age of five are considered to be unable to commit negligent acts against dogs. The law in California believes that children of that age are not legally capable of taking reasonable care toward an animal.
Compensation for a Dog Bite Claim
The best way to determine what kind of compensation you are entitled to in a dog bite claim is through the guidance of personal injury lawyer, Mickey Fine. Mickey Fine is prepared to head a detailed investigation, determine liability in your case, and fight on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.
What Compensation is Available for a Dog Bite Claim?
Mickey Fine will work diligently to acquire all the compensation that is available to you for your dog bite claim. The types of compensation that could be available to you in a dog bite claim include:
Past, present, and future medical bills
Pain and Suffering
Reduced earning capacity
Loss of wage
Loss of enjoyment of life
This list is by no means exhaustive, and there may be other damages that you are entitled to in your case. Hiring Mickey Fine is an essential step in your quest for fair compensation for your dog bite injuries. Call our Bakersfield dog bite attorneys today, so we can discuss providing you with legal counsel.
Strict Liability for Dog Bite Accidents
California is what’s known as a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bite laws. What this means is that Bakersfield dog owners are responsible for a dog attack, even if the dog has never bitten someone before. This law effectively eliminates the “one free bite” rule because liability in a dog bite case is based on ownership. In California, it is irrelevant whether or not the owner of the dog knew their dog could be vicious. In California, the victim of a dog bite only needs to prove that:
The dog was, in fact, owned by the defendant.
The bite occurred on public property or while the victim was lawfully on the owner’s private property.
The injuries to the victim were caused by a dog bite.
Do I Need a Dog Bite Lawyer?
A dog attack can be an extremely traumatic experience. Dog bites can leave their victims with serious physical and mental injuries, especially when children are the victim. Dog bite cases are complex and require careful navigation to ensure compensation is awarded to the victim. This is why it is important to hire an experienced dog bite lawyer like Mickey Fine. Mickey Fine will work tirelessly to ensure that he:
Uncovers crucial evidence
Speaks to witnesses
Establishes the owner of the dog
Establish if there were any other responsible parties
Report your bite and the dog to local animal control authorities
Secure an incident report
Secure your medical records
Speak with insurance companies and establish your claim
Our legal team of Bakersfield dog bite lawyers is prepared to protect your rights and ensure that your personal injury claim comes to a positive resolution. You should not feel as if you have to go through this process alone. Contact Mickey Fine for a free consultation right away, so he can fight for you while you concentrate on recovering.
Law Offices of Mickey Fine – Bakersfield Office 930 Truxtun Ave, Suite 110 Bakersfield, CA 93301 (661) 333-3333
Commonly Asked Questions About Dog Bite Injuries in Bakersfield, California
How do I file a dog bite injury claim in Bakersfield, CA?
The first thing you should do after you have been bitten by a dog is secure medical attention. Your health and safety should be your number one priority. After you can gather your thoughts, give dog bite lawyer Mickey Fine a call, so he can discuss your case with you. Mickey will work hard to obtain witness reports and the dog owner’s information and establish liability in your case. What matters most is that you get the compensation you deserve, and the only way to ensure that this happens is by calling Mickey Fine.
Who will pay for my compensation in a dog bite injury claim in Bakersfield, CA?
Depending on the circumstance in your case, the responsible party will often carry insurance that will cover your damages in the event of a dog bite. Based on the facts of your case, your damages may be paid for by the following parties:
Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance
Personal umbrella liability policies
Auto liability insurance
Dog owner insurance
How much compensation am I entitled to for my dog bite injury?
There is no way to determine exactly how much compensation you are entitled to in your dog bite injury claim until it is all said and done. Depending on your injuries, the owner’s insurance coverage, and a variety of other factors, the amount of compensation will have to be decided after deliberation and research. What is important to remember is that your case may take time to reach completion. Stay patient and allow Mickey Fine to do all that he can to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
How long will my dog bite injury claim take to resolve?
As is the same with most personal injury claims in California, a dog bite claim can be resolved at any point in the process. However, there is no real way to know how long a dog bite claim will take to resolve. The length that a case takes depends on a number of factors, including:
The injuries sustained
The amount of time it takes to gather witnesses
Navigation of insurance companies
Establishment of liability
Length of mediation
Should I accept an insurance settlement for a dog bite injury claim?
As the victim of a dog bite, it is your decision whether you accept a settlement offer for your dog bite injury. While accepting an insurance settlement will speed up your case, we strongly recommend that before you accept any offer from an insurance company, you speak with Mickey Fine. He will be able to determine:
If your settlement is fair, considering the damages you incur.
If you have a chance at recovering more compensation in court.
The strengths and weaknesses of your claim.
How long do I have to file a dog bite injury claim in Bakersfield, CA?
The statute of limitations regarding dog bites is the same amount of time as it is for any personal injury lawsuit in California, two years. This applies to all injuries that are caused by a dog. While this may seem like a long time, it is important to act quickly if you are bitten by a dog. The faster you get in touch with Mickey Fine about your dog bite injuries, the easier it will be for Mickey to:
Speak with witnesses
Get a clearer picture of what happened to you
Present your case in a relevant manner
You may have two years to file a claim, but reaching out to Mickey Fine as soon as possible is in your best interest. You will most likely be dealing with a lot after your incident. Make sure you don’t combat your situation alone and contact The Law Offices of Mickey Fine today.