Dogs are a big part of many Modesto families and we want to protect them from harm as much as possible. Part of that protection includes keeping them out of confusing or frightening situations that might cause our pets to bite someone.
Most people are careful with their dogs, but accidents do occur and dogs do sometimes get loose. Then there are some irresponsible owners out there who let dogs roam free to end up in violent confrontations.
If you or a loved one are the victims of a bite wound, medical care will be your first priority. Then, once the injury has been stabilized, it’s only fair to wonder who should be held responsible for such a frightening encounter.
Seek a Free Consultation with a Skilled Modesto Dog Bite Lawyer
When insurance companies try to blame victims for the bites they receive or refuse to help pay for expensive medical care for victims, Maison Law steps in to help.
To find out how much you should be receiving after a dog bite, talk to a real Modesto dog bite lawyer by scheduling a free consultation. There’s no obligation for your case evaluation. But if you decide to use our services, you won’t owe any money upfront. We don’t get paid unless we win compensation for you.
Strict Liability for Dog Owners After a Modesto Dog Bite
Every year somewhere around 4 million people suffer dog bite wounds in the U.S. An estimated 800,000 victims require medical treatment. That’s according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
California enforces “strict liability” when it comes to dog bites. This means that dog owners are responsible for the injuries their dogs cause, even if the pet has never bitten anyone before. The law is different in some states, where if a dog hasn’t attacked previously, the owner isn’t liable for a bite wound.
Strict liability is good news for dog bite victims in Modesto. They’ll be able to file a claim for damages against dog owners no matter the dog’s history.
It’s important to note that victims can’t have provoked a dog before an attack and still sue an owner. The victim must also have been on property legally when bitten. They can’t have been trespassing.
Generally, dog bites occurring at a dog park, such as Ceres Dog Park, would also leave dog owners legally liable.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in Modesto?
Insurance companies representing dog owners don’t make it easy for injured victims to get help. They’ll want to see proof of what happened and they’ll work to discredit any evidence you provide. Sometimes not even the sight of a bite wound is enough for them to admit fault and pay you compensation.
With this in mind, it’s important to collect as much solid evidence on the scene as you can. Of course, this is provided that you are well enough after your attack to manage it. You should call 911 after any dog bite and have paramedics document your injury. Go to the emergency room if necessary.
If you are able to move around, try to gather these details on the scene of a Modesto dog bite:
- Take photos. Get a picture of the dog and owner if possible. Hopefully, you’ll be provided with the name and address of the dog owner, but this photo will be valuable if the dog owner leaves the scene. Take pictures of your bite wound and show any damage to your clothing.
- Exchange information with the dog owner. Don’t say anything like “my bad” or “I’m okay.” Basically, don’t accept fault or comment on how badly you’re hurt. In the heat of the moment, you might be wrong about how an attack unfolded or the seriousness of your injuries. Insurance companies can use these statements against you later.
- Talk to witnesses and get their contact information.
- Scan the area for any surveillance cameras that may be nearby. Note the addresses of the businesses or homes where the cameras reside. Your personal injury lawyer will be securing the footage later.
- Schedule an appointment with your physician. Make sure your wound is healing correctly. Save your medical invoices.
- Keep all damaged or bloody clothing. Don’t wash shirts, pants, or socks. Don’t throw away the evidence.
Compensation You Should Expect After a Dog Bite
Once evidence is collected and your damages and losses have been totaled, your Modesto dog bite attorney will file a claim for damages with the insurance company involved.
This claim will include a document that lists every hardship you and your family have endured. This is just a brief list of some of the factors that can earn compensation:
- Hospital and rehabilitation expenses.
- Past and future lost earnings.
- Physical pain.
- Emotional distress, such as depression and anxiety. You might have PTSD symptoms after going through an attack.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Loss of consortium. An injury may affect the intimacy you share with family members, especially a spouse.
- Damage or destruction of property.
The medical costs can skyrocket when a permanent disability or disfigurement is the end result of a dog bite. Additional financial support would be sought as estimates for a lifetime of care would be compiled. This would incorporate the costs of medical equipment and home renovations for patients over the years.
The victim’s return to a previous career may be impossible. Career training may be included in an insurance settlement so victims can change to a job more suitable for their disability. Without the chance to change jobs, the victim may be due a lifetime of financial support with enough to support close family members.
Common Injuries After a Dog Bite
Receiving adequate compensation after a devastating dog bite is vital to the physical, financial, and emotional recovery of the victim.
Dog bites can create long-lasting wounds and even rob victims of control of their extremities in some cases.
This is only a partial list of some of the injuries possible in a dog attack:
- Punctures Wounds and Cuts: Dog bites can penetrate deep into the skin and do damage as the teeth sink through the layers of muscle and bone. The hands, particularly the right hand are commonly targeted, often when someone is bitten while trying to pet a dog.
- Tissue Damage: A bite may be close to a vital organ. Tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissue can’t withstand the pressure of a bite.
- Nerve Damage: Numbness in the hands and feet are a symptom of nerve injuries. Sharp pain and a buzzing sensation like an electric shock are also reported. Victims often drop objects they are holding.
- Crushing Injuries: The force of a bite might be enough to crush small bones. Hands, ankles, and even throats can end up crushed.
- Head and Neck Injuries for Children: Children are most often the victims of dog attacks and their heads and neck are usually at the level where dogs can bite them. Extra compensation is needed for young victims because serious injuries can lead to developmental issues as they mature.
- Infections: Dog teeth are covered in bacteria that might cause a wound to become infected. Rabies, tetanus, are examples of harmful bacteria. Patients may experience fever, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and tremors.
Statute of Limitations in Modesto Dog Bite Cases
Dog bite victims are given up to two years to file a personal injury claim against a dog owner or anyone else found liable in a bite case. This statute of limitations means that if you wait longer than 24 months to file an injury claim your case will likely be thrown out. You’ll be unable to seek reimbursement for your recovery costs.
Do I Need a Dog Bite Lawyer After an Injury
Yes. After a serious dog bite, a straightforward path to recovery is rarely the normal outcome. Dog bites can become infected and take much longer to heal than a normal wound. Dog bites can also affect your ability to earn a paycheck and support your family.
It’s these extenuating hardships that make a personal injury lawyer necessary. You want to make sure you are compensated for everything you’ve endured and everything you may endure. Once you sign off on an insurance settlement, you give up your right to return to the insurance company later to ask for help.
A skilled Modesto dog bite lawyer anticipates every need you and your family may have and ensures everything is covered in an insurance settlement.
Aside from your physical recovery, your battle with an insurance company to get support may be the worst part of your experience. Insurance adjusters will question every piece of evidence you submit and try to deny responsibility for your injury. They may even question your character as another ploy to avoid liability.
Your personal injury lawyer defends you from these attacks. The best part is that you may never have to deal with insurance adjusters at all if you turn your case over to an attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer holds the threat of a lawsuit over the insurance adjuster’s head and can often negotiate far more in a settlement than you could ever hope to receive on your own.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I talk to the insurance representatives for the dog owner?
No. Adjusters will call you asking for a recorded statement. You should say no to this request. They ask in the hopes you’ll say something they can twist to weaken your case. Allow your attorney to handle all phone calls regarding your case.
What if I’m bitten but can’t identify the owner or dog?
You should contact the police to tell them what happened. Officers may know the dog or be able to track it down and then determine the owner. Talk to any witnesses to see if they know where the dog may have come from. Go back to see if the dog and/or owner are in the same area later.
Can apartment management companies be held accountable for a dog park attack?
Dog parks in apartment complexes are usually labeled as “use at your own risk” facilities. The dog’s owner may be the only liable party. However, if a dog owner and a dog have been reported as dangerous before, the landlord could be liable for not taking action over a known threat.
Contact a Modesto Dog Bite Lawyer
After you or a loved one has suffered a serious dog bite, reach out to a Modesto Personal Injury Lawyer to discuss your case, free of charge.
Consult with an attorney as soon as possible after a dog bite. There are benefits available to you and your family that insurance companies won’t be informing you of.
Attorney Martin Gasparian offers a free and confidential case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian works hard to make sure dog bite victims are allowed to rebuild their lives without worrying over hospital bills and lost paychecks.