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Dog Bite Attorneys in Santa Ana

We Are Here To Help You After a Dog Bite Injury

When a dog bites someone, it's essential to know who is responsible. California law has made it clear who is liable for a dog bite. An attorney can help you file a legal claim for compensation.

Dogs enhance many lives in our state; however, they can also cause significant physical and emotional damage when they act unpredictably. These damages can last a lifetime and become extremely expensive. For victims who experience the latter, an experienced Santa Ana personal injury lawyer can help.

Sixty-seven percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet, according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Of these, over 63 percent of households own a dog. While most dogs are friendly and docile, and some can even be trained and relied upon for different services, not all dogs are safe.

Nearly 90 million dogs live in American homes. The vast majority of dogs will never bite; however, there are about 4.5 million dog bites reported each year, as reported by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Bites requiring medical attention account for about 20 percent of those.

About one-third of all homeowner's liability insurance claims are related to dog-bites, as reported by the Insurance Information Institute (III). In 2017, the average payout, according to III, was $37,051. Who is responsible for dog bite injuries? With the help of Santa Ana dog bites lawyers, you can get compensation for your injuries from the at-fault party.

Although often thought of as man’s best friend, dogs can cause serious injuries, permanent disabilities, and even death if their behavior gets out of hand. If you or someone you love became a victim of a dog bite, don’t hesitate to reach out to our skilled Santa Ana dog bite lawyers.

Dogs are not always man’s best friend. For various reasons, dogs can and do bite. Sometimes, these bites are minor and do not even break the skin, but other bites can be more severe, not only breaking the skin but causing severe disfigurement, muscle and nerve damage, and even broken bones. If you or your child suffered a dog bite requiring medical attention, you will want to reach out to a compassionate Santa Ana dog bite attorney to learn about your legal rights. You could be owed compensation for your injuries.

Tan dog showing its teeth

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Liability for Dog Bites in California

Different states have various dog bite liability laws in California, a dog’s owner is liable for any damages their dog causes if the victim is bitten while in a public place or while they are lawfully in a private place. This includes the property of the dog’s owner, and it applies no matter if the dog’s owner knew they were capable of such acts or not. This is known as strict liability.

For example, if you were on your neighbor’s property legally, and the neighbor’s dog attacked you, your neighbor is automatically liable for the damages you sustain. In other states, the dog’s owner is not liable the first time this happens if they were unaware their dog could be vicious. Of course, every situation can be a bit different, so it is always a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable Santa Ana dog bite attorney after sustaining such an injury to determine what your rights are.

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California’s Dog Bite Injury Claim Filing Deadline

Connecting with Santa Ana dog bite lawyers sooner than later after you have sustained an injury is in your best interest. California has a two-year statute of limitations for filing a dog bite personal injury lawsuit. If you do not file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date of your dog bite injury, you will no longer have a valid legal claim to pursue compensation or your damages.

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California Dog Bite Laws

Most states have laws that apply specifically to dog bite cases. As per California Civil Code § 3342 (2017), a dog owner is liable for damages to a victim if both of the following conditions apply:

  • The damages were caused by the dog bite
  • The dog bite occurred in a public location or in a private location that the victim had a legal right to be

In some states, a dog causing other injuries also falls under their dog bite laws. For example, if a dog caused someone to fall and suffer injury. However, in California, the dog bite laws apply strictly to dog bites alone. It is also of note that this statute includes an exemption for dog bite injuries caused by dogs who are carrying out police or military work at the time of the bite.

When it comes to dog bites, California is a strict liability state. Strict liability means that the dog owner cannot use the defense that they had no idea their dog would bite or act aggressively. No matter the dog’s past behavior, the dog owner is still liable. With the help of a well-versed dog bite attorney in Santa Ana, the plaintiff need only prove that they were legally allowed to be present where the dog bite occurred. They do not need to show that the dog owner knew the dog could potentially bite someone or that the owner failed to use reasonable care to prevent the bite. However, if the plaintiff in a dog bite case was trespassing when the dog bit them, they will not be able to collect damages.

As per California Law, Section 3342, the dog's owner is liable for any injuries their dog causes. It doesn't matter if the bite occurs on public or private property, or even the dog owner's property. The liability remains the same no matter the location. Unlike some other states, California dog owners are also liable even if their dog never previously bit anyone or acted viciously.

Under this same law, dog owners must take reasonable care to prevent any more bites in the future. If a previous attack took place, the case would be forwarded to the district attorney. They will investigate the circumstances to evaluate if the dog's owner took reasonable care to keep the dog away from other people and to prevent another bite from happening. Pending the investigation's outcome, the district attorney may remove the dog from the home or, in rare circumstances, euthanize the dog.

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Exceptions to the Law

California's dog bite law applies to bite victims that come on the owner's property legally, such as those conducting business like postal workers or guests. If a dog bites someone who is trespassing or because it is subject to provoking, annoying, or harassing behavior, it's unlikely that the owner will be liable.

Additionally, no one can bring a claim against a government agency using a dog in its line of work. For example, you cannot file a lawsuit if you are injured by a dog who was assisting the police or military with doing their job.

Even with these exceptions, it is still a good idea to check with Santa Ana dog bite attorneys about your individual claim. Each case is unique, and it's best to get a professional legal opinion about your own case.

German shepherd-type dog showing its teeth

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Dog Bite Case Filing Deadlines

If you were bitten by a dog and want to seek financial damages, you will need to file your case within the statute of limitations, which is two years of the date of your injury. It is best to contact a Santa Ana dog bite lawyer as soon as possible after your injury. Waiting past this deadline will make any legal claims you have unenforceable, and you could miss out on receiving compensation for your pain and suffering, disfigurement, lost wages, and medical bills.

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Bitten by a Dog? Call Our Santa Ana Dog Bite Lawyers

Dog bites can cause physical and emotional scarring. The resulting medical bills and disabilities can be extremely burdensome. While we cannot take away your pain and suffering, we will do everything we can to better this situation for you. You can trust us to advocate on your behalf and receive the best compensation possible for your claim.

If you or someone you love was recently bit or attacked by a dog, it's time to speak with Santa Ana dog attack lawyers. You could be owed compensation for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and scarring. Schedule your dog bite case review with the experienced Santa Ana attorneys at HN Injury Lawyers.

You should not have to suffer damages from a dog bite, but if you are, our knowledgeable and passionate legal team is here to help. At HN Injury Lawyers, we are available by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call our Santa Ana office at (657) 333-5726 or use our online contact form today to schedule your free case consultation.

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