North Hollywood Dog Bite Attorney
Dog bites can result in painful injuries, emotional trauma, and costly medical bills. If you or a loved one has experienced a dog bite in California, you could be eligible for compensation to cover medical costs, lost income, and more. But getting that compensation is no easy task, especially when you’re up against big insurance companies focused on their bottom lines.
Enter Sean Shamsi. His track record speaks for itself, with tens of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts won for accident victims. He believes in personalized attention and addressing every client’s unique situation carefully and diligently. More importantly, Sean is the voice you need to demand maximum compensation from insurance carriers who don’t always want to play fair.
If you got hurt in a dog bite or pet animal attack incident, reach out to Sean today and let him advocate for your rights. Contact The Shamsi Law Firm, APC for your free initial case evaluation with a North Hollywood dog bite lawyer.
What Is California’s Dog Bite Law?
Under California’s dog bite law, dog owners are strictly liable if their dogs bite someone who is either in a public place or lawfully present on private property. This includes the dog owner’s property. That means the dog’s owner is responsible for any injuries or monetary losses a victim suffers as the result of a bite their dog inflicts. This liability applies whether or not the dog has shown prior signs of viciousness or the owner had prior knowledge of such behavior.
In contrast to many other states, California operates under a “strict liability” rule rather than a “one-bite” rule. In “one-bite” jurisdictions, victims may not hold the owner liable for the first bite their dog inflicts if they were unaware of the dog’s vicious tendencies. But strict liability means the dog owner is almost always liable, regardless of the animal’s past. As a result, a victim can win a case without proving that an owner was negligent or knew of their dog’s violent tendencies.
Is the Dog Owner Responsible for Injuries from a Dog Attack in California?
In most cases, yes. Dog owners are generally held responsible for injuries resulting from their dogs’ bites in California under the state’s strict liability principle. This means an owner is accountable for the consequences of their dog’s biting, regardless of the dog’s previous behavior or whether the owner was aware of its potentially vicious nature.
However, this liability is not absolute, and there are exemptions under state law, including the following:
- Government agencies using dogs in military or police work are generally exempt if a bite occurs while a dog is performing its duties.
- If a dog is defending itself from annoyance, harassment, or provocation, the owner can be partially or totally exempt from liability.
What If the Person Bitten Is Partly Responsible?
California’s dog bite law primarily concerns the dog owner’s liability. However, there are instances where a person bitten by a dog could share responsibility. For example, the law says a victim does not have grounds to sue if they were bitten by a dog defending itself from the victim’s “annoying, harassing, or provoking acts.”
The Veterinarian’s Rule
There’s also the “veterinarian’s rule,” highlighted in the Supreme Court of California case of Priebe v. Nelson. This legal doctrine generally exempts a dog owner from liability if they seek out veterinary care for their dog and, during treatment, the dog bites the veterinarian. The rule is based on the principle of “primary assumption of risk,” which assumes that veterinarians understand and accept the occupational hazards of their jobs, including the risk of bites.
California’s Pure Comparative Negligence Rule
If you are partly to blame in a dog bite case in California, it’s important to understand the state’s “pure comparative negligence” doctrine. Under this rule, if you provoked the dog or otherwise contributed to your injuries, the compensation available to you can decrease based on your percentage of fault. So, if you were 40 percent responsible for the incident, your payout would be reduced by 40 percent. This rule underscores the importance of working with a knowledgeable dog bite lawyer to protect your rights.
What Are Common Injuries in Dog Bite Cases?
Understanding the potential scope of dog bite or dog attack injuries can help you seek appropriate medical treatment and aid in any legal proceedings that follow. Common dog bite injuries include the following:
- Puncture Wounds
- Nerve Injuries
- Permanent Scarring and Disfigurement
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Tissue Necrosis
- Emotional Trauma
What to Do If You Are Attacked by a Dog
If you’ve been bitten or attacked by a dog in California, taking certain steps to protect your well-being and legal rights is essential. Here’s what you should do:
- Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries.
- Identify the dog and get their owner’s name and contact information.
- Locate eyewitnesses and ask for their statements and contact details.
- Take pictures or video footage of your wounds.
- Make notes about the location and circumstances of the attack.
- Alert your local animal control authorities and the police if necessary.
- Complete an official incident report.
- Confirm the dog’s vaccination history.
- Ask the dog owner for their insurance information.
- Document your recovery in a “pain journal.”
- Save all medical documentation and invoices from your treatment.
- Document any income losses you experience due to the incident.
- Speak with an experienced dog bite lawyer in North Hollywood.
What Damages Could Be Available in a Dog Bite Claim?
A dog bite injury can leave you with ongoing medical and financial complications that affect all aspects of your life. To alleviate these burdens, the law allows you to recover money for the following:
- Hospital bills
- Ongoing medical treatments
- Transportation costs for medical appointments
- Wages lost due to absences from work
- Diminished future earning capacity
- Physical pain and emotional anguish
- Mental trauma
- Diminished quality of life
- Attorney’s fees
- Damage to personal property
How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Claim in California?
California law allows you two years from the date a dog bit you to file most dog bite injury lawsuits. Adhering to this time frame is extremely important. If you don’t, you risk losing your ability to file a legal claim seeking compensation for your injuries.
While the two-year deadline is standard, there are exceptions that arise in uncommon scenarios. For instance, different rules might apply if you were a minor when bitten or if the extent of your injuries wasn’t immediately apparent.
This is why consulting an experienced North Hollywood attorney is essential after any dog bite injury. A lawyer can assist you in identifying all legal deadlines that apply to your case and handle all the complex procedural aspects of filing a lawsuit.
How Long Can It Take to Settle a Dog Bite Case?
The time it takes to settle a dog bite lawsuit can vary widely depending on the circumstances. Simple cases could last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, while more complex cases could take years. Factors such as the complexity of the case, the willingness of the parties to negotiate, and the court system’s schedule can all influence the duration of the legal process. However, while aiming for a quick settlement might be tempting, doing so is rarely in your best interest.
Rushing into a settlement might mean you don’t fully understand the extent of your injuries or their long-term effects. A speedy settlement might not account for your projected future expenses if your medical treatments are ongoing. Therefore, it’s best to consult a skilled dog bite lawyer who can ensure that you don’t settle for less than what you rightfully deserve.
How a North Hollywood Dog Bite Attorney Can Help You
After a dog bite injury, a legal professional can safeguard your rights and demand adequate compensation for your losses. Here’s how a North Hollywood dog bite lawyer could benefit your case:
- Conducting an initial consultation to outline your legal options
- Investigating the dog bite incident to identify liable parties
- Collecting police reports, medical records, and other evidentiary documents
- Identifying applicable insurance policies and their coverage limits
- Calculating the full range of personal and financial losses associated with your injuries
- Engaging in negotiations with opposing counsel or insurance adjusters
- Determining the fairness of settlement offers based on your financial and emotional losses
- Advocating for you in court if a fair settlement isn’t achievable
- Crafting a compelling legal strategy specific to your needs
- Preparing and filing all essential legal forms and documents
- Coordinating medical examinations by experts to substantiate your dog bite claim
- Examining and challenging witness testimonies in court
- Researching legal precedents that could influence your case
- Regularly updating you on any new developments in your case
At The Shamsi Law Firm, APC, all personal injury cases are handled on a contingency-fee basis. This means you pay nothing upfront or out-of-pocket. The Shamsi Law Firm, APC only receives attorney’s fees if you are awarded compensation or reach a settlement. Fees are then deducted from your recovery, so you are never left with a big bill to pay.
Contact a North Hollywood Dog Bite Lawyer
Every dog bite case comes with its own set of challenges and concerns. But The Shamsi Law Firm, APC can lighten your burdens. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury in North Hollywood, contact attorney Sean Shamsi today for a free, personalized consultation session.