Dog bites in Fresno doubled between 2013 and 2018. Under California dog bite and animal attack laws, a dog owner can be held strictly liable in a personal injury lawsuit. “Strict liability” means that the dog owner is legally responsible for the consequences of a dog bite regardless of their intent at the time or if they were aware that the dog was prone to attack.
There are lifelong emotional consequences of a dog bite. For victims, the trauma of the betrayal is just as hard to get over as the physical pain. A lot of victims report that they love dogs and they have always found dogs to be friendly and pleasant, so the attack causes conflicting, painful emotions. It also inspires anger and frustration, especially when you believe that the dog’s owner is at fault for not controlling the animal.
Grossman Law has successfully handled personal injury cases for dog bite victims in Fresno for over 40 years. Because dogs are animals, they cannot be held accountable for their actions, but we can hold their owners responsible for not properly training and controlling their dogs in public spaces or on their private property. Contact our law firm today to schedule your consultation with a Fresno lawyer.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can lead to serious injuries, infection, pain, and scarring. Dog bite victims suffer soft tissue, muscle, nerve damage, deep wounds, and broken bones. Larger breeds tend to have stronger bites than smaller dogs, but a small dog can still cause injuries. The following are the most common types of dog bite injuries.
Some of the most common eye injuries include corneal abrasion, partial or complete tearing of eye tissue (avulsion), lens perforation or dislocation, intraocular hemorrhage, broken bones around the eyeball (orbital fracture), punctures, and ruptures. In the worst-case scenario, dog bite victims can even lose their eyes.
Avulsions are some of the most severe types of dog bite injuries because dogs can tear skin and muscles not just from the initial bite but from any movement that they make during the attack. Even if your dog bite appears small, you should see a medical professional right away because animals can carry viruses and bacteria that can lead to rabies, tetanus, and blood poisoning.
A Kangal’s bite force is approximately 743 PSI, as measured by scientists. An American Bandogge’s bite is about 730 PSI. By comparison, the force of a lion’s bite is 650 PSI. That is a significant amount of force that can harm the nerves in your hand. Nerve damage in the hands may prevent you from working. As well as cause pain that could interfere with your ability to perform daily tasks.
This strong force is also the reason why a dog can crush bones and tissue with its bite. A dog’s bite can crush bones in the hands, face, around the eyeball, and other parts of the body. Usually, along with broken bones, there are other injuries such as soft tissue injuries. These can delay healing throughout the entire body.
A dog bite can lead to injuries that will take years of corrective and plastic surgery to heal. A scar is a reminder of a horrific event. Every time you look in the mirror some effects of an injury are permanent, but we are ready to help! You can recover the money that you deserve for your disfiguring scars. We look into the dog attack and if the same dog has bitten other people. Factors that can affect your case include the location, size, and severity of your scar, your age, and if you will need future surgeries.
What Should I Do After a Dog Bite?
Just like after a car accident, you must exchange contact information with the owner of the dog to contact them about the incident much later and to verify the dog’s vaccination history. You should also get the breed of the dog to provide to your doctor and personal injury lawyer. You should get the names, addresses, and other contact information for witnesses.
The top concern after a Fresno dog bite is an infection, especially if you are immunocompromised or have diabetes. Wash the wound with mild soap and warm water for 5 to 10 minutes, dry with a clean cloth, and then apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream. Then wrap the dog bite wound in a sterile bandage until you can see a doctor.
Doctors say that you should get checked by a physician within eight hours of a dog bite injury who can assess whether or not you need to be hospitalized or need intravenous antibiotics. Go to the nearest emergency room if you experience redness, swelling, extreme pain, and fever.
Dog bite cases need to be reported to the Central California SPCA. You can help prevent future dog bites by reporting the incident. In fact, they may conduct an investigation into the incident.
You should document your dog bite injury by taking photos and writing journal entries that describe your pain. Talk about your inability to perform certain functions and decreased mobility. Write down the circumstances surrounding the incident. You should also keep track of expenses you have incurred as a result of the dog bite, which can impact the amount of compensation you receive for your injuries.
Who is responsible for dog bites?
Negligence is the basis on which most personal injury claims are filed. Under California law, however, a victim of an animal attack does not have to prove negligence in order to establish liability on the part of the dog’s owner. A violation of the dog bite statute results in strict liability, which means that the dog owner is responsible for injury to a person that the animal attacks, regardless of whether or not the owner knew the dog had a vicious propensity.
Are there exceptions to California’s strict liability rule for dog bite claims?
The dog bite laws in California only make a handful of exceptions in certain scenarios for when dog owners are not held liable for damages in dog bite cases. If there are signs conspicuously posted that say “Bad Dog” that the victim ignored, or if the victim provoked the dog, then the victim may not recover damages. Another exception is when a police or military dog bites in the execution of an arrest warrant or in defense of an officer.
What are the Requirements for Compensation?
Dog attack victims can seek compensation in a personal injury claim from the insurance company of the dog owner. The most common types of damages in dog bite cases are economic damages and noneconomic damages.
For many victims, the necessary medical treatment is more than they can afford. Victims can seek compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, future lost earning potential, and property damage, if any. One of the greatest expenses after a dog bite is plastic surgery. Necessary reconstructive surgery to restore a person’s facial features to improve their breathing, eating, and emotional well-being is not only costly, but part of a series since most people need multiple operations to regain the function of their ears, eyes, nose, or mouth.
To improve confidence, victims of dog bites may also seek laser therapy and dermal filler treatments to reduce the appearance of scars so that they do not have to be reminded of the attack every time they look in the mirror.
The emotional trauma that accompanies a dog bite injury can be overwhelming. Noneconomic damages compensate victims for their pain and suffering and the long-term impacts of the animal attack, including permanent disabilities, scarring, lifelong physical therapy, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). You can file for noneconomic damages in your dog bite personal injury claim if you had to have a limb amputated or suffer sensory or motor disability, nerve damage, mental anguish, and anxiety whenever around dogs.
Your dog bite lawyer will need sufficient evidence to prove liability in your personal injury claim. Valuable evidence in a Fresno dog bite case includes:
- The police report
- Eyewitness testimony
- Photos of the bite marks
- Your medical records
- Veterinary records
Why Should I Hire a Dog Bite Attorney?
There are many advantages to hiring a Fresno dog bite attorney. It can be difficult to understand which laws apply to your situation. The opposing party may try to avoid liability by arguing that you provoked the animal, trespassed on their property, were breaking the law, or assumed risk when you entered a property. They may claim that you share some responsibility for the attack. We will be ready to defend the facts in your case and help you seek justice.
Call the Fresno dog bite attorneys at Grossman Law Offices today at (866) 982-5094 to schedule your free consultation. We help our clients recover compensation against negligent dog owners so they can move forward and heal from this traumatic event.