Were You Injured by a Dog Attack?
Select the Experience of Our Santa Maria Dog Bite Lawyers to Help
Dogs are commonly known as “man’s best friend” and under the care of the right individual, they often are. However, owner neglect and an avoidance of training can sometimes lead to misbehavior in dogs. This can lead to bites and attacks that can have a lasting effect on your life. Our Santa Maria dog bite lawyers want to help if you suffered an injury due to a dog attack.
The Law Offices of Esteban L. Valenzuela & Associates helps injured individuals recover the compensation they need. With over 40 years of experience, our legal team has the knowledge to protect your rights. We provide quality legal representation while giving your case the attention it deserves.
Are Dog Bites Really Dangerous?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that there are 4.5 million dog bites every year. The agency further states that only one in five of these dog bites require medical attention. Even so, the complications that can result from a dog attack are nothing to disregard.
- Scars – The nature of canine teeth tends to cause deep punctures and jagged lacerations. These wounds can be difficult to properly close, so they often leave severe scarring. In some cases, these scars can be so severe that the individual’s range of motion in the scarred limb may become limited.
- Facial disfigurement – If the injured individual suffered an attack to their face, the results are often devastating. These scars can cause psychological and social distress. If the injury affected the nerves in the face, it could cause facial paralysis similar to a stroke survivor’s.
- Amputation – If the dog attack is severe enough, there may be no way for doctors to save a limb. This may force doctors to amputate. Depending on the lost limb, the injured individual may not be able to do their job or may face struggles in his or her day-to-day life.
- Broken bones – Even small dogs have a surprisingly strong bite. Combine this with the wedge-like structure of their back teeth and you have an animal that can easily crack bone. Such breaks can cause limps, sever nerves and lame hands.
- Infections – Dogs have many microbes in their mouths. A bite can release these pathogens into your bloodstream and cause many types of infections. If the dog was in poor health, this may also include diseases such as rabies.
- Psychological effects – Often unforeseen and unacknowledged, an animal attack can have an effect on your emotions and mind. These effects have given rise to psychological conditions such as panic attacks, depression, flashbacks and irrational fear. Even cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have resulted from dog attacks. And though children are at a high risk for developing these conditions after a dog attack, adults can be susceptible as well.
Who Is Responsible When a Dog Attacks?
When it comes to finding a responsible party after a dog bite attack, determining fault can be tricky. Often, the circumstance and California dog bite laws can make this task impossible without an attorney. For instance, if a dog attacked you while it was being walked by a professional dog walker, the walker and their employer could be at fault as well as the dog owner.
Other circumstances that could influence who is at fault for a dog bite include:
- Did the attack happen on public or private property?
- Was the injured individual invited onto the property where the attack happened?
- Was the individual a minor?
- Does the homeowner’s insurance cover dog bites?
- Was the dog secured by the owner/handler when the attack occurred?
- Did the dog escape from a fence or yard before the attack?
- Did the injured individual antagonize the dog?
What Is Strict Liability?
Though California’s laws try to make it clear who is responsible for dog attacks, the process can still be complex. For example, California says that dog owners are responsible for any dog bites whether they knew their pet was dangerous or not. This means the owner is responsible for damages on the dog’s first bite, which is not the case in other states. This law is known as “strict liability“, but it is not the only law that factors into every dog bite.
The Comparative Fault Rule may limit the amount of damages the injured can recover based on their percentage of fault for the incident. There is also a two-year statute of limitations to file a claim on your damages against responsible parties. These are both strong reasons for you to consult with a dog bite attorney as soon as possible.
Still Have Questions for Our Santa Maria Dog Bite Lawyers?
After a dog bite or any animal attack, your first priority should be to seek medical attention. After you or your family member is safe, then you should consult with an attorney about your next steps. Our Santa Maria dog bite lawyers have experience handling a wide variety of personal injury cases. We can help answer the questions you may have after suffering a dog bite. For a free consultation, call (805) 608-3743 or use or online contact form to get in touch with us.