Woodland Hills Dog Bite Injuries
You moved to Woodland Hills to get some peace and quiet and enjoy all the beauty and proximity this area has to offer. One of your favorite things to do is walk your dog in the mornings and catch up with the neighbors. So it came as a surprise one morning when a small but ferocious terrier came out of nowhere and attacked your pint-sized chihuahua. You could see the owner running toward you but she was too late. You were bitten hard on your right hand while trying to separate the two dogs.
She apologized profusely and expressed shock at what happened. You asked why the dog was off his leash and she said “he likes his freedom,” claiming he’d never acted like this before. There’s a first time for everything, and now your hand is bleeding and in pain. While getting treated for your injury, the doctor discovers that a nerve in your thumb has been severed. This will impact your ability to play tennis, write letters to friends, and participate in other activities you enjoy and may last forever.
The dog owner’s apology was appreciated. But it’s not enough—you want to be fully compensated for your injury. And you should be. Calculating the value of your injuries isn’t simple, so you’ll want to reach out to your local Woodland Hills dog bite injury lawyer for assistance. Learn about dog bite liability, calculating damages for your injuries, and more below.How Dog Bite Liability is Established in California
While some states use what is commonly referred to as the “one bite rule,” which puts dog owners on notice after the first bite but doesn’t hold them liable unless they were negligent, California applies strict liability. When someone is strictly liable for dog bite injuries, it means they bear responsibility for any bite injuries caused by their pets, regardless of the pet’s past actions (or lack thereof) or whether they were negligent.
Some exceptions apply, however. Strict liability doesn’t apply to:
- Non-bite related injuries;
- Police or military dogs performing their official duties;
- Instances where trespassers are bitten;
- Situations where the dog is provoked or teased; and
- Individuals who are not the dog’s owner.
So, the fact that the terrier hadn’t attacked other dogs or injured other people before is irrelevant to a strict liability claim for your injuries. That’s good news for your case.Beyond Strict Liability: Negligence Per Se
Since the terrier’s owner didn’t have their dog on a leash when it attacked your dog and eventually bit you on the hand, it could also be argued that they were “negligent per se.” This means the owner or wasn’t following proper animal control procedures, in this case the failure to use a leash. Sometimes dog bite injury plaintiffs will file claims for both strict liability and negligence per se (when it applies) in order to ensure maximum compensation. Negligence per se also applies to non-bite injuries and instances where the dog was under the control of someone other than the owner.
How long do you have to file a California dog bite claim? You have two years in which to submit it. This time limit, called the “statute of limitations,” applies to all personal injury claims in Woodland Hills and throughout California.Calculating Damages for Dog Bites- How Much is my Case Worth?
When we place a monetary value on injuries for the purpose of filing a claim, we refer to them as damages. Some damages are obvious, such as medical expenses, any necessary home modifications (guard rails, wheelchair ramps, etc.), or lost wages from missing work. Other damages aren’t as clearly defined, such as those pertaining to intangible injuries such as missing out on tennis with your friends (“diminished quality of life”) or the pain from your injury (“pain and suffering”).
Regardless of what actually happened, leading to your injuries, your ability to collect will depend on the strength of your case. This includes witness testimony, the strength of the evidence, medical records, and any other details that your attorney will be able to analyze and use to your advantage.Experienced Woodland Hills Dog Bite Injury Lawyers are Ready to Assist You
Dog owners typically don’t expect their furry friends to attack other dogs or people, but they can sometimes be unpredictable. That’s why we have leash laws and other rules for ensuring the public’s safety. Still, even when no one is negligent, accidents happen. If you were injured after being bitten by a dog, you’re almost certainly entitled to compensation. Contact the legal experts at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, A Law Corporation and get help with your claim today. We have the experience you want fighting for you.