Modesto Dog Bite Lawyers
Dog bite injuries can be severe and can come with significant medical and emotional costs. If you have suffered an injury from someone else’s dog, they may owe you money based on California law. You can file a claim against their homeowner’s insurance policy or a lawsuit against them in court. It is every bit as important to get enough money for your claim as it is to get compensation in the first place. Reach out to a Modesto dog bite lawyers.
The attorneys at the Silva Injury Law Firm deal with insurance companies on behalf of dog bite victims. We know how much you legally deserve, and we put pressure on insurance companies to pay what they owe you. Call us today to speak with an attorney about your case. We can help you maximize your financial compensation.
Aggressive And Dangerous Dogs Can Cause Serious Damage
The number of households in California and the United States that have dogs has increased sharply. In addition, households now own more than one dog. Currently, nearly 50 million households own dogs. In total, there are nearly 80 million dogs in the country. Most of these dogs are friendly and well-trained. However, some are aggressive and can be dangerous.
Every year, approximately 4.5 million people suffer dog bite injuries. Some of these injuries are not serious enough to require medical attention, although it is always smart to get medically checked out because injuries can grow worse over time. Approximately 800,000 people need medical treatment for their dog bite injuries. Nearly half of the dog bite victims in the country are children.
Dog Bites Can Cause Serious Injuries
Dogs may bite for several reasons. Many are trying to protect their own territory. Others are scared. Dog bites are dangerous because of the force of the dog’s teeth. A dog’s teeth and jaw are more powerful than a human’s because they are made for gnawing. Even a small animal can break human skin with a bite and cause injury.
Here are some common dog bite injuries:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken and punctured skin
- Nerve damage
- Loss of the use of a limb
- Eye injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Permanent scarring
- Facial injuries
One of the main medical risks of a dog bite injury is that it can become infected. Any time something breaks the skin and introduces bacteria, it raises the risk of serious infection. Roughly one in every five dog bites becomes infected. The risk of infection increases when there is a puncture.
The best thing you can do following a dog bite is to get medical attention. Then, consult with Silva Injury Law about your legal options.
Small Children Often Suffer The Most Serious Injuries
Most commonly, small children are the victims of serious dog bites. Dogs are territorial animals and often view a child as an intruder on their own territory. Small children are closer to eye level with the dog, who may view them as a rival. In addition, children may not know how to approach dogs and when to spot the warning signs that an animal is agitated.
In addition, children suffer more serious injuries because of where the bites occur. While dogs may bite adults on the legs and arms, they bite children in the head and neck area. These attacks can cause more serious and lasting injuries. Children are more likely to develop permanent scarring and disfigurement from dog bites because the scar can expand as their body grows.
California Law Makes Dog Owners Strictly Liable For Bite Injuries
Legally, the rules in California are favorable to dog bite victims. Unlike the laws in many other states, where you have to prove that the owner knew or should have known of the dog’s vicious propensity,
The law provides for strict liability for bites in:
- A public place
- Private property, when you had a legal reason or right to be there (such as an Amazon delivery person who must drop a package off on the doorstep)
Strict liability is a legal doctrine that keeps you from having to prove negligence. In other personal injury cases, you will need to prove that the responsible party acted unreasonably. With strict liability, the mere fact that an incident happens shifts the burden onto the responsible party to show why they should not be liable for what happened. It does not matter whether the dog has been aggressive before or this was the first time that the dog bit someone.
The Insurance Company May Try To Blame The Injury On You
Once a dog bite happens, the owner must show that the dog bite victim did something wrong. The law states that strict liability does not apply when the dog is annoyed, harassed, or provoked.
Most often, the dog’s owner and their insurance company might claim that the dog bite victim did something to provoke the dog. However, this is not an easy defense because the victim must have done something relatively extreme to make the dog angry. The standard may be even higher when the dog bite victim was a small child.
In Some Cases, You May Need To Prove Negligence
There are times when you may need to prove that the dog owner was negligent. In this case, you may need to apply the “one free bite rule” that shows the owner knew about the dog’s dangerous propensities and did not take measures to protect you. You will need evidence to accompany your dog bite injury claim in this case.
In California, strict liability applies to dog bite injuries. However, you may have suffered a dog-related injury that was not a bite. For example, you may have fallen and injured yourself when trying to avoid an aggressive dog.
Strict liability also does not apply to trespassers on the dog owner’s property. In these cases, you must prove that the dog’s owner failed to act reasonably under the circumstances, as an ordinary dog owner should. Your focus will be on the safety measures that the dog owner should have taken to protect you.
Dog Bite Claims Mean Dealing With An Insurance Company
When you file a claim for dog bite compensation, your claim will be against the responsible person’s homeowners insurance policy. Insurance companies get thousands of claims each year, and they are very experienced in dealing with these situations. Insurers know the market so well that they can publish an annual survey with average dog bite compensation across each of the fifty states.
In a recent year, a major insurer paid $23 million in total compensation for 388 dog bite incidents in California. This breaks down to an average of almost $60,000 for each dog bite claim. California and New York have the highest national average of compensation for a dog bite claim. The average compensation continues to rise each year as medical costs escalate. This is only one of many carriers in California paying dog bite claims. Nonetheless, their facts and figures are influential because other insurance companies pay attention.
If you have an injury, the Modesto dog bite attorneys from Silva Injury Law are ready to help. Contact our office for more information and a free case evaluation.
Your Dog Bite Injury Compensation Can Be Significant
However, you should not be focused on the average dog bite compensation when you are pursuing a claim. Your claim can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and thinking of your settlement in terms of the average can cost you money. Insurance companies want you to be happy with an average settlement because they know that your case is worth far more.
You may receive compensation for:
- The complete cost of your medical expenses – Depending on the severity of the dog bite, you may need reconstructive surgery. In addition, serious infections also require aggressive and expensive medical interventions.
- Lost income – You may recover compensation for the time you miss from work. In addition, if the dog bite leaves a prominent scar, it can reduce your earnings capacity.
- Pain and suffering – Dog bites can cause physical and emotional discomfort. The experience of being helpless in the face of an aggressive and vicious animal can leave a lasting emotional impact, especially for a small child. Dog bite victims can develop a lifelong fear of animals.
- Scarring and disfigurement – Dog bites can leave you permanently scarred. Besides an impact on your appearance, they can also cause permanent nerve damage that might reduce the function of your limbs.
- Loss of enjoyment of life – The trauma and scars of the dog bite can reduce your enjoyment of life, especially when you are living in fear of animals
Dog bites involving small children may be worth even more money because they have to go through their entire lives with the memory of the attack. These injuries tend to be more severe since they cover a larger part of the child’s body and affect their future.
You Must Fight The Insurance Company For Every Dollar You Get
Like every insurance claim, you will likely need to negotiate with the insurance company. While some insurers publish the average compensation figures for dog bites, they do not tell you how many of those cases involve self-represented claimants (who usually get less because they do not know how to negotiate) and how many involved attorneys (who know the tricks that insurance companies use to reduce compensation. Insurance companies tell you that they are there “like a good neighbor” until you actually need them to be there.
You have the legal right to reject any settlement offer that does not fully pay you what you deserve. The strict liability law may give you more leverage in settlement negotiations. Insurance companies may not want to be in front of a jury, especially in the case of a vicious attack.
How Our Modesto Dog Bite Injury Lawyers Can Help You
You should always hire an attorney when dealing with a powerful insurance company.
The attorneys at the Silva Injury Law Firm can:
- Review your case to help you determine how much to seek in financial compensation.
- Help you determine your legal options, including filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the dog’s owner.
- Deal with insurance company tricks, especially when they claim that the dog bite victim caused their own injury by harassing or annoying the dog.
- Analyzing the settlement offers you receive and advising whether to accept or reject them.
- Negotiating your claim with the insurance company
- Taking your case to court if you cannot reach a settlement agreement
- Answering any questions that you have and keeping you informed about the status of your case
Call an attorney as soon as possible after your injury. You do not want to risk of dealing with an insurance company on your own. They are not here to act in your interest, and they will make your life difficult in any way they can.
Contact A Modesto Dog Bite Lawyer Today
The attorneys at Silva Injury Law Firm are standing by and ready to fight for you when you have suffered an injury from someone else’s dog. We do everything within our power to keep the insurance company from taking advantage of you, negotiating hard on your behalf. First, you need to reach out to us to speak to one of our attorneys. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.