What is dog-bite law?
In California, the owner of a dog is legally responsible for a bite. That means he or she is responsible whether or not the dog had previously known vicious tendencies, or if it was a good dog or a bad dog. If a dog bites, the owner pays.
There are provisions in most homeowners’ insurance policies to compensate the victims of dog bites, but like any other bodily injury claim, those insurance companies fight their responsibility to pay fair compensation.
Usually, if a dog bite is serious enough to sue over, it results in scarring. Sometimes it is on the legs or on the face. Obviously, a scar is a profound injury to a child — or anyone who is in the public eye and is sensitive about their appearance.
Dog bite cases can also involve other claims that go beyond the claim against the owner. If, for example, the city or a dog adoption center knowingly adopts, places for adoption, or sells a dog with known vicious tendencies, the city and/or dog adoption agency can also be held liable. The Fox and Fox Corporation has successfully prosecuted claims where pet adoption agencies have released known, vicious animals to the public, misrepresenting them as kind, family pets.
Why would a lawyer be needed?
The insurance companies do not put a high value on facial scarring or on the emotional trauma resulting from being attacked by a dog. Some dog attacks involve serious mauling and even death. It is necessary to fully evaluate the injury and make a claim that results in fair monetary compensation to the victim of a dog bite. A lawyer is essential for this purpose.
What type of compensation is covered?
Being attacked by a dog is a terrifying event, and it usually occurs unexpectedly. It is typically a frightening and vicious attack. The trauma of the event justifies a substantial damage award.
If there is a serious injury that results — the tearing of human flesh, bite marks, scarring, infection, loss of an ear or the tip of a nose, loss of an eye — you can imagine that those are life-changing events. Tragically, this often happens to children, bitten by family pets or pets owned by strangers. It is particularly devastating to both parent and child when a child suffers a bite, especially to the face, by an angry animal.
What information do you need to gather?
The important thing is to get to the personal injury attorney as soon as possible so evidence is preserved. This enables the lawyer to hire an investigator to investigate other incidents involving that dog and dog owner.
Photographs of the injury should be taken as soon as possible after the time of the bite. They are very helpful to the lawyer who will keep a close eye on an injury like that. There should be several photographic sessions done professionally by a forensic photographer documenting the healing process. Once it is stabilized, and we see what the scar looks like from the injury, a good forensic photographer would be hired by the firm to document what this injury is going to look like on a long-term basis.
why choose Fox and Fox Corporation?
Our firm pursues all avenues of justice for the client. If a neighbor’s dog bites a child playing in the street, we will conduct an in-depth investigation into that person, that dog, the insurance coverage available, and any assets that the homeowner might have, including the equity in their own home, to compensate a victim of a dog bite.
Sometimes, insurance is adequate and sometimes it is not. Occasionally, we have to look at other causes. We look at where that dog came from and determine whether that dog had known dangerous propensities when it was sold or adopted to the neighbor’s family, which might very well result in additional areas of damage recovery.
Fox and Fox leaves no stone unturned. We investigate all avenues and options of recovery, and spend the time and resources necessary to carefully investigate each claim. Our firm will take nothing for granted.