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Silverthorne Attorneys is a personal injury law firm in Orange County whose top priority and singular focus is the people we represent. We work diligently to make sure that our clients are well taken care of and that their needs are not only met, but come first. Injured now? Do not hesitate to reach out to Silverthorne Attorneys for a free consultation.

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Dog Bites Part I: Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s and Don’ts

dog bite attorney

As unfortunate as it is, dog bites do occur. Whether a dog feels that it is protecting itself, or their owners, or if it is an accident – bites can and do happen. Our dog bite attorney wants to remind you: after a dog has bitten you – or a loved one – is to remain calm.

Here are some important tips for what to do next:

  • Obtain names and addresses of the witnesses
  • Get the dog owners name and/or the people who had custody of the dog at the time it bit you
    • More than likely you will be entitled to receive compensation from the animal’s owner
      • depending upon the damage – you may need to be compensated for your medical bills, reimburse you for lost income, pay for cosmetic surgery, and help you overcome pain and suffering from the injuries
  • Take photographs of the wounds
    • take pictures before you treat the wound and then again after treatment
  • See a doctor and document the incident and obtain treatment
    • dog bites may cause infections, so it is important to seek medical attention right away
    • over 1,000 Americans go to the emergency room everyday because of dog bites
    • make sure you are following the instructions of your physician – the decision to get a rabies shot will be at the discretion of your doctor
  • Give a report to Animal Control
    • this can either be with the city or county – check jurisdiction – sometimes the Humane Society will take these reports
    • this is important because emergency rooms and physicians only take the report for statistical purposes and don’t necessarily inform Animal Control
  • If the dog owner is insured, and they file a claim, the insured party’s insurance company will call you –  make sure you get the following:
    • name of insurance company
    • insurance company address
    • telephone number
    • claim umber
    • name of the insured
    • amount of money available to pay medical expenses
    • Do NOT Discuss money, payment of money, settlement, injury value or ANYTHING else involving money
    • Do NOT set up an appointment
    • Do NOT write a letter or memo
    • Do NOT allow yourself to be tape-recorded
    • Do NOT allow yourself or the victim to be photographed
    • Do NOT discuss who is responsible
    • Do NOT accept any money

Strict Liability

dog attack lawyer

Statutory Liability is a term that most people may not be aware of. Or perhaps people are aware of it, but not of its meaning. “Statutory Liability is a legal term indicating the liability of a party who may be held responsible for any action or omission due to a related law that is not open to interpretation.” Put simply, someone must be held accountable for a certain action since there are no other interpretations to the law.

When it comes to dog attacks, most states impose Statutory Strict Liability Laws – making the owner legally liable for the attack.

Statutory Liability

Here are some things that need to be clarified when we are talking about these laws:

  • The term “dog bite statute” refers to any state statute, county or city ordinance which provides remedy for a dog bite
  • any harm caused by a dog – bite or otherwise
  • As a general rule, a dog does not get what is called “one free bite” which means that the prior behavior of the dog is not an issue and it is unnecessary to prove owners negligence

You should be aware that there are exceptions when it comes to liability:

  • The victim was a trespasser;
  • The victim is a veterinarian or profession who is treating the dog at the time of incident;
  • The victim was committing a felony or any other crime;
  • Victim provoked the dog by abusing the animal;
  • Victim assumed risk (explicit or implicitly) to being bitten;
  • Dog was assisting police or military at the time of incident.

In the state of California, a dog bite victim can recover compensation due to negligence statutes implemented.

Do You Have a Case?

dog bite attorney

Something our dog bite attorney wants you to consider when you have been bitten by a dog is whether or not you have a case. And if you have a case, is it a good case? A good case is one that has three elements that include the following:

  1. Liability on the part of the defendant
  2. Insurance coverage
  3. Injury that deserves significant compensation

Dog Bite Attorney | Who is Liable?

The first element is whether or not the law makes someone (the defendant) liable for the incident. If you are in a state where there is a strict liability law, then the answer is definitely yes. The second element has to do with whether the owner of the dog  is covered by insurance.

Insurance is important for two reasons. The first reason means that there will be money available to pay the victim for any damages. Whether they be medical bills that included surgery, medications, lost wages, etc. The second reason is the victim can retain an attorney on a contingency fee basis. Which means that attorneys who handle dog bite cases usually do not ask for payment until the case is settled and money is recovered. On the other hand, if there is no insurance, it is rare that a victim can retain a lawyer because of the probability that fees will not be adequately dispersed to the lawyer or the victim.

The final element has to do with whether or not the injury is something that deserved significant compensation. This is usually determined on a case-by-case basis. It is up to the victim and their attorney to provide enough supporting evidence that states that there is need for compensation. Which is why it is so important to take pictures after the incident and to go see a doctor to report any issues.

Were You Bitten by a Dog? Contact a Dog Bite Attorney Today!

In order for a victim to receive fair and just compensation for their injuries, they need an experienced lawyer who has dealt with dog bite cases in the past. There is no downside to discussing a case with an attorney who has the experience, knowledge, and overall desire to help the victim receive adequate compensation without too much effort, stress, or harm. The first consultation is always free!

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Silverthorne Attorneys Is A Dynamic Team Devoted To Bringing Justice To Those Injured By The Reckless, Negligent, & Irresponsible Acts Of Others. Experienced In Auto Collisions, Dog Bites, Slip & Falls, Personal Injury and More! If You Or A Loved One Are Injured & Need Legal Assistance, Call Silverthorne Attorneys Today!
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