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Stockton Dog Bite Lawyers

Since dogs are so common in our everyday lives, we don’t usually expect anything bad to happen when we’re near them. Unfortunately, some dogs become violent near strangers, or even family members, and end up attacking them unprovoked. At Silva Injury Law, we represent those injured by a dog bite in California and fight for their recovery. Contact us today.

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California Dog Bite Laws and Exceptions

While many states don’t have strict liability regarding dog bites, California does. Essentially, strict liability means that the owner of the dog is responsible for a dog bite. Even if the dog has no previous history of attacking others, the owner is liable for damages. Specifically, under California Civil Code § 3342, the owner is strictly liable if:

  • The dog bite occurs in a public place; or
  • The victim gets bit while legally occupying private property.

This covers most situations in which a dog bite might happen. However, there are a few exceptions depending on the circumstances. 

For example, an owner isn’t liable if the victim of the dog bite was trespassing on their property. In addition, strict liability doesn’t apply to police or military dogs either assisting a government employee or defending themselves from harassing or provoking acts. Currently, these are the only exceptions to the strict liability rule.

Who Else Can Be Liable?

Although dog bite cases might seem relatively straightforward, there are a few situations where there is more than one liable party. While the owner is always liable for the actions of their dog, there are others who might also share liability for their negligence. An example of this is if a landlord allows a tenant to have a dangerous pet on their property, such as a dog with a history of attacking people. This may not be as common as other scenarios, but it’s something to keep in mind when building your case.

Common Dog Bite Injuries

A dog bite injury leads to long-term pain and mental anguish for many victims. This is especially true if the attack happens suddenly and without warning, such as when you’re riding your bike or playing outside with your kids. In every scenario, there is a risk of serious, or even fatal injuries, such as:

  • Fractures,
  • Punctures,
  • Lacerations,
  • Infections,
  • Rabies,
  • PTSD, and
  • Scarring.

At Silva Injury Law, we understand that these injuries have a lasting impact on the victims. That’s why our Stockton dog bite lawyers always fight for their full recovery. Whether you’ve suffered mental trauma or physical disability or disfigurement, the owner should be held accountable for their dog’s behavior.

What to Do After a Dog Attack

The most important thing to do after a dog bite is to get yourself to safety. Unfortunately, there are many attacks that occur due to an unsupervised pet, so don’t assume that the owner will restrain the dog. By following these steps, you’ll provide a strong foundation for your case as you start the claims process. Most importantly, you’ll make it easier for Stockton dog bite lawyers to tell your side of the story.

Seek Medical Attention

If you have severe injuries, we recommend calling 911 immediately. For heavy bleeding, put pressure on the wound to minimize blood loss. Refusing medical attention can jeopardize your case, so make sure you get checked out even if the injury seems minor.

Gather Evidence

Some injuries prevent you from documenting the attack. However, if you have the ability, try to take pictures of your wounds, get the dog owner’s information, and request a statement from potential witnesses.

Contact the Police

After you have some evidence and aren’t medically in danger, call the police and ask them to file an incident report. This creates an official record of the dog bite and helps in situations where the owner refuses to give you their information.

File a Report with Animal Services

Another important step in preventing further attacks is contacting animal services. Once you file a report with them about the attack, they will investigate and potentially take custody of the dog as a precautionary measure.

Contact a Lawyer

While not all cases require an attorney, it’s a good idea to do some free consultations. Insurance companies will do anything to minimize or deny your claim, so it’s best to have a qualified attorney on your side that knows their scare tactics.

Is There an Average Settlement for Dog Bites?

Generally, there aren’t any accurate averages published on the internet. This may come as a surprise since many sources publish settlement averages for different types of cases based on surveys. However, these averages can be misleading for a couple of reasons. 

Firstly, averages don’t usually include confidential settlements or judgments. This means that the average leaves out a significant portion of cases. Secondly, since dog bite settlements vary widely in value, the average ends up being either an underestimation or overestimation of any given case. For example, one case may be worth $10,000 and another worth $1 million. Based on these figures, the average would be $505,000, which doesn’t accurately represent either case. For this reason, it’s best to consult an attorney if you need help determining the value of your specific claim.

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Promoting Healing Through Compassionate Advocacy

We believe that our duty goes beyond achieving large monetary awards for our clients. We strive first to be decent human beings who seek not to stir up fights, but to solve problems.

As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be enough business.

- Abraham Lincoln

The Stockton Dog Bite Attorneys at Silva Injury Law Are Here for You

Dog bites of any kind have the potential to cause serious harm to a victim, no matter how big or small the dog might be. If you or a loved one gets attacked by a dog, don’t try to fight the insurance company alone. At Silva Injury Law, we handle every case with compassion and professionalism. To us, our clients are our family, so we passionately advocate for them every step of the way and never back down to the insurance company. To schedule a free consultation, please call us or contact us online. We’re here to answer any questions you may have about your claim.

 

Our experienced legal team also handles other types of personal injury cases, including: