Just like many other pets, dogs are worthwhile to have around in part because they contribute to a healthy and active lifestyle. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 38% of households in the U.S. own one or more dogs. The positive effects that come with keeping dogs cannot overshadow the fact that they can inflict serious injuries from their bites. This can escalate to a serious infection when not treated by a doctor.
Consequently, it is recommended to seek speedy medical assistance following a dog’s bite, which can lead to an infection. Fortunately, if you’ve suffered an injury following a dog bite in California, you can be eligible for compensation from the liable party. Partnering with a California dog bite injury attorney can be a beneficial step toward seeking compensation from responsible parties. If you’re a dog bite victim, the legal team from Younglove Law Group may be able to help fight for your legal rights.
Mistakes to Avoid Following a Dog Bite in California
Not everyone is conversant with the actions to take if they suffer a dog bite. Ignorance can be costly, as what you do after the bite could weaken your claim. Do not do any of the following after suffering a dog bite:
Not Seeking Medical Services
Most people do not feel compelled to seek medical attention after suffering a dog bite, especially if it seems like an injury they can tend to at home. What they do not know is that even a tiny bite from an infected dog can gravely affect their overall health. Promptly getting treatment from a qualified doctor gives you the best chance of a speedy recovery.
Neglecting to have your injuries tended to in a hospital can also weaken any case for compensation. Every dog bite injury attorney can attest that a medical record from a registered doctor is a great asset in building a strong claim.
Failing to Document the Attack
Understandably, victims of a dog bite are often disoriented after the attack to the point of forgetting that something like taking pictures of the fresh bite is important. Documenting the attack should start once you are in a safe location; however, do not share photos or your account of the attack on social media to seek sympathy from your followers. Building a strong legal case should be the main reason for taking pictures or a video of the dog bite. Consider taking pictures of the following:
- The bite itself
- Your surroundings after the dog bite takes place
- The dog responsible for the bite
- Medical reports and bills
If there were any witnesses to the attack, be sure to document them by taking down their contact information.
Lying to the Doctor or the Police
While it is understandable that emotions resulting from the dog attack might run high and tempt you to exaggerate what transpired, it is not a good idea to lie or exaggerate the attack story to the attending doctor or the police.
Your claim could be irreparably harmed if the opposing counsel can prove you lied or exaggerated. Give an honest account of the attack and leave the rest to your attorney. Rather than creating portions of your story to fill in any gaps in your memory, simply acknowledge there are some details you are having trouble recalling.
Contacting the Insurer
Severe dog bite injuries often result in huge medical bills. You can be tempted to contact the insurer to offset your medical bills, but this may not be in your best interest if your attorney is not involved.
Insurers know how to manipulate situations to protect their interests and pay out as little as possible. They can, for example, twist your narration of events in order to make it look like you are to blame for the dog attack. Even with strong evidence to back your claim, refrain from contacting insurance companies without first discussing it with a reputable dog bite injury attorney.
Not Reaching Out to an Experienced Attorney
You may believe that an attorney is not a requirement as long as you have solid evidence to back your claim. However, a dog bite attorney is indispensable regardless of the evidence you have. Their experience in representing dog bite victims can not only help to prove your case but to also get a fair and deserved settlement.
It is common for injured parties who attempt to go it alone to fail to get fair compensation, even with a strong case. This is because the opposing party can take advantage of your underrepresentation to undermine your case. An attorney can argue your case and prove to the jury that the injury has caused you pain, emotional distress, and inability to work.
Understanding California’s Legal Approach to Dog Bites
Just like most U.S. states, California cares for dog bite victims and has laws to defend them. This state holds dog owners legally responsible for bites unless proven otherwise. Victims can pursue available legal options unless the dog’s owner provides evidence that the attack was actually the victim’s fault.
Dog bite victims in California can still get a partial settlement if found partly responsible for the bite, however. The compensation due to the victim of a dog bite can be reduced:
- If the dog owner can demonstrate that you provoked the dog, initiating the attack.
- If the dog owner can prove that you were trespassing on their premises at the time of the dog attack.
- If there is no evidence of dog ownership. For example, if a stray dog were to bite you there would likely be no dog owner to hold liable for your damages.
Even if you think you do not have a case due to overwhelming evidence stacked against you, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced dog bite attorney for a free consultation. An experienced dog bite attorney is capable of turning around the case, even if you played some role in the attack without the knowledge that it could result in an injury.
Contact an Experienced Dog Injury Lawyer in California Today
You are entitled to compensation for damages resulting from a dog bite such as medical expenses, lost income, physiotherapy sessions, pain and suffering, as well as disfigurement. A dog bite injury attorney will help you understand your options. Their duties include investigating the attack, documenting evidence, and negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair settlement. In short, lawyers take up your case while you focus on recuperating.
Contact Younglove Law Group today to see if you might be our next success story. For a free consultation, call us at (949) 691-3660 or complete our contact form today.