Why Hire a Riverside Dog Bite Attorney?
If you’ve been injured following a dog bite incident, you may be wondering what your next steps are. Dog bite cases can be complex, often it is best to work with an experienced and knowledgeable dog bite attorney right from the beginning.
There is much more that goes into dog bite claims beyond negotiating a settlement with the dog’s owner or their homeowner’s insurance carrier. Some of the things that need to be done as soon as possible after a dog bite include:
- Seek medical attention (Call 911 or go directly to the emergency room)
- Take photographs of the injuries
- Contact witnesses and obtain statements
- Report the attack to animal control services
- Investigate the dog’s owner
- Contact insurance companies and establish claims
Having a skilled and knowledgeable Riverside dog bite lawyer on your side will ensure that your claim is handled properly from the outset.
MKP Law Group, LLP’s experienced dog bite attorneys understand how traumatic a dog bite injury can be, and want you to know that you are not alone. Our team also uses skilled investigators to determine the dog’s owner, the dog’s history, and the facts of the attack. We will deal with the insurance company claims and obtain your medical records and bills so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
What is the Law on Dogs in Riverside?
Riverside’s Title 8 requires dogs to be restrained on a property. This refers to the dog’s owner or the person having custody of the dog – even if they are not the legal owner. Moreover, if the dog is tethered, the chain cannot be so long that the animal can leave its property and jump at a pedestrian who is walking past it.
If a dog is judged to be “vicious” following an attack or incident, the dog owner must pay for and attend obedience courses with the animal. Moreover, they have to buy a liability insurance policy in the amount of $100,000.00. A dog’s owner can apply to have the designation withdrawn if there is no incident for 48 months after the initial incident.
In the meantime, any Riverside dog owner is also governed by California’s state law, which puts the responsibility for preventing dog attacks on the animal’s owners. It is called a strict liability law and requires that an owner take responsibility for any dog bite from their pet that occurs on private property or on public property.
Exceptions to the rule: Working dogs and trespassing
There are, however, exceptions to California’s strict liability Dog Bite Statute. A government agency, such as the police and military, cannot be held liable for dog bites that occur when the agency uses a dog while carrying out official duties. This exception only applies if the dog bite victim was a suspect or participant in acts that prompted the use of the dog in the police or military work.
Another exception to the rule that dog owners are 100% at-fault for a dog bite attack is when the victim is trespassing. Generally, property owners are not obligated to maintain a safe property for trespassers. A trespasser is someone who enters someone else’s property without the property owner’s consent. California law provides an exception to the strict liability of dog owners for dog bites that occur when the injured person is trespassing or otherwise unlawfully on the property.
California also makes exceptions for victims who assumed the risk of being bitten, i.e. that they understood the risk of being bitten but proceeded anyway. This rule usually applies to veterinarians who are bitten while treating a dog. (See Nelson v. Hall, 211 Cal. Rptr. 668 (Cal.App.1985)).
Do I Need a Riverside Dog Bite Lawyer to File a Lawsuit?
The good news is that the majority of dog bites are not fatal. While Riverside dog attacks tend to happen frequently when friends and family members enter the animal’s space, many attacks are so minor that they do not typically call for medical attention. The dog’s teeth may not entirely puncture the skin or do so only slightly.
However, you may benefit from consulting with a Riverside dog bite attorney if the attack was more serious. For example, you might not just have puncture wounds, but also have lacerations and open wounds. If the dog is bigger, it may cause organ damage, bone fractures, and even nerve damage.
An infection could cause a build-up of scar tissue, which might lead to permanent disfigurement. In extreme cases, the injury can be so severe that you lose the full use of a hand or arm.
As you might imagine, the increasing seriousness of the potential injuries leads to the need for extensive medical care. You may undergo surgery to repair torn muscles. After you heal, you might require plastic surgery to repair areas with extreme scarring.
A Riverside dog bite lawyer can file a lawsuit that helps you get fair reimbursement for the financial losses you suffer. Working with a lawyer can ensure that proper steps are taken in order to prove your case. Lawyers often collect surveillance footage that a neighbor’s camera might have recorded. Since motion-activated cameras are now very popular in the area, there is a chance that the attack was caught on video.
Because of Riverside’s rules about vicious dogs, it is critical to also research the animal’s history and see if the owner has added liability for negligence.
How do I know if I am eligible for compensation?
Victims of dog bites are entitled to recover damages for both their monetary and non-monetary losses after suffering a dog bite. The experienced dog bite attorneys at MKP Law Group, LLP will fight to get your full compensation for your losses including:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Earnings or Diminished Earning Capacity
- Pain & Suffering
- Scar Revision Treatment
- Mental Trauma (PTSD)
Each dog bite case is different due to several factors including the severity of the attack and the number of medical bills incurred as a result of the attack. The attorneys at MKP Law Group, LLP will build the best case possible to make sure you or a loved one gets the compensation they deserve.
I Have Been Attacked by a Dog. What Should I Do?
The immediate priority is your safety and wellbeing. This is not the time to wrap your arm in a shirt and walk home.