Dog Bite Lawyers in Sacramento
On Call 24/7 to Help the Victims of Dog Attacks - (916) 229-6755
When a pet owner loses control of their dog, the animal may scratch, bite, or knock over those nearby. Dog owners have a responsibility to keep their pets under control in public areas and on their own property where others are invited to visit. If you, your child, or other loved one was attacked by a vicious dog, you have the right to pursue compensation for the injuries you've sustained.
At Del Rio & Caraway, P.C., we are wholly dedicated to helping our clients find justice after suffering an injury in a dog attack. We understand navigating these situations can be overwhelming when you are already facing strong emotions. Our Sacramento dog bite lawyers are here to relieve the stress of negotiating for a settlement so you and your family can focus on moving forward. We take the time to listen to your story and needs so we can make a plan you’re confident in.
Call our team today at (916) 229-6755 for more information about your legal options. We are here to protect your right to compensation after an accident or injury caused by someone else.
Strict Liability Dog Bite Laws in California
California considers dog bites through a lens of strict liability. Essentially, this means an owner is responsible for any and all injuries caused by their pet, even if the dog had no prior history of aggression. An owner cannot defend themselves with the claim that their dog has no history of aggressive behavior.
In California, or any other strict liability state, you will have to prove:
- Your injuries or losses were caused by a dog bite
- You were bitten in a public place, or while lawfully in a private space (like the dog owner’s home)
- You did not provoke the dog
When a dog is responsible for scratching or knocking over a victim, other laws may come into play. The same is true for those bitten by a dog that is carrying out military or police work.
However, you shouldn’t give up your right to file a personal injury lawsuit just because you’re confused about dog bite laws. Our Sacramento dog bite injury attorneys can help you understand what steps you can take after a dog attack.
Are Dog Bites Common Injuries to Children
A dog attack is scary enough on its own, but it becomes worse when you realize most dog bite victims are children. Being attacked in this way can be tragic for a child, who may fear dogs for the rest of their life.
Additionally, children are more likely to sustain injury to their head, neck, and face. Not only can these wounds be dangerous—they can also leave lifelong scars that can affect a child’s self-image and self-esteem.
Why Should I File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite?
If you were harmed in any way by a dog bite, you should not have to suffer the consequences alone. Filing a lawsuit can also help ensure that the dog owner takes responsibility for their animal, which may prevent the dog from being classified as dangerous (and subsequently put down) in the future.
Additionally, dog bites can cause serious injuries and infections, which can be expensive and certainly justify legal action.
What Happens to the Dog's Owner?
If you file a dog bite lawsuit, the dog’s owner will become the defendant. When you win your case, they will be required to compensate you for damages, and thus cover the cost of:
- Bite treatment
- Rehabilitative care
- Loss of income while healing from the bite
- Diminished earning potential if the bite is severe
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
If the dog owner’s behavior was especially egregious, the court may award you punitive damages, which serve to punish the defendant and prevent similar events from occurring in the future.
What Happens to the Dog After it Bites Someone?
In Sacramento, dog bites must be reported to the county’s Department of Animal Care and Regulation. From there, the dog will be investigated. Sometimes, this means the animal will be quarantined for 10 days in a pound, veterinary hospital, or its owner’s home. Other times, an investigation just means the dog’s vaccination and licenses will be verified.
A dog will not be put down in California unless it is proven to be a dangerous dog. This is a separate hearing altogether, so you will not have to worry about a dog being euthanized if you file a lawsuit against its irresponsible owner.
How to Prevent a Dog Bite
Though preventing a dog bite may not be the easiest thing to do, knowing the prevention strategies can help decrease the chances of getting bit.
Steps you can take to prevent a dog bite include:
- Keep your distance
- Do not pet dogs you don't know
- Do not approach
- Watch children when a loose dog is present
- Walk in a different direction
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Injury
If you’re not expecting a vicious dog attack, you may feel shocked and emotionally overwhelmed in the aftermath. In spite of that shock, it’s critical to take the correct steps to care for your wounds and prepare for an injury claim. Aside from your immediate medical needs, a dog bite claim may be able to account for your psychological trauma, your physical pain, and any lost wages as you recover from your experience.
Here’s what you should do in the event of a dog bite injury:
- Exchange information with the dog’s owner. Like a car accident, it’s important to ask the dog’s owner for their name, address, contact information, and any relevant insurance policy numbers. Not only will this make it easier to verify the dog’s vaccination history and medical records, but it will allow you to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit later on.
- Perform basic first aid to ward off infections. Although dog bites can cause profuse bleeding and even affect your muscles, infection is usually the number one medical concern with a dog bite. If you were bitten by a neglected or unvaccinated dog, there’s also a high risk of contracting diseases like tetanus or rabies. To stabilize the area, flush out the wound with water and mild soap, and apply antibiotic cream and a sterile cloth bandage.
- Seek out immediate medical attention. Once you’ve bandaged your dog bite wound, experts recommend visiting a doctor within the following 8 hours. Even with initial first aid, the bacteria in a dog’s mouth can easily get into your bloodstream through their razor-sharp teeth. You may require intravenous antibiotics or stitches, and depending on the severity of the bite, your doctor might recommend an overnight hospital stay to monitor your vital signs.
- Take pictures of your injuries. Getting photos of your injuries, the scene of the accident, and even the owner’s house may not seem particularly useful after a dog bite, but photographic evidence can prove invaluable in a personal injury case. By showing the conditions under which you were bitten, you may be able to strengthen your claim that the owner was negligent.
- File a report with Animal Control. Once you’ve seen a doctor, you may want to file an official report with your local animal control agency. They may decide to launch their own investigation into the case, and this can help you in the long run.
Holding Negligent Dog Owners Accountable in Sacramento
Dogs may bite you, but it’s the owners that are most often to blame for allowing their pets to hurt you. Because so many dog bite incidents are prompted by owner abuse, lack of proper supervision, and outright negligence, the state of California allows you to pursue a full personal injury claim if you’ve been hurt by a dog.
At Del Rio & Caraway, P.C., our Sacramento dog bite lawyers can assist you with that process. Bringing decades of experience to every case, our responsive and caring team will communicate openly with you as you navigate the legal system. By seeking compensation, we’ll aim to ensure that you can cover any medical bills, and get peace of mind for the future.
Call (916) 229-6755 to speak to one of our caring and dedicated lawyers. We can help dog bite victims pursue the compensation they need to recover from an attack.
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