Suffering a dog bite can be a traumatic experience, often resulting in physical and emotional injuries that can take time to heal. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Orange County, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
At Omofoma Law Firm, our compassionate and experienced Orange County dog bite lawyers are dedicated to helping you through this difficult time and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
Our team at Omofoma Law Firm will work tirelessly to build a strong case on your behalf, handling every aspect of the legal process, including:
We have experience handling various dog bite cases, and our team's qualified dog bite attorney is here to help you.
Dog bite incidents are more common than you might think. According to the Orange County Register, dog attacks in Orange County have increased in recent years, with more than four dog bites happening daily. These incidents can result in serious injuries, including puncture wounds, lacerations, and fractures.
Sometimes, dog bites can lead to long-term complications, such as infections or permanent scarring.
California follows a strict liability dog bite law under California Civil Code § 3342. This means a dog owner is liable for any injuries their dog causes, even if the dog has never shown signs of aggression. The injured person does not have to establish that the owner was negligent or that the dog was unsupervised or untrained; the mere fact that the dog bit someone is enough to establish liability.
Several factors can contribute to dog bites, including:
Understanding the circumstances surrounding a dog bite incident can be crucial to building a strong case and proving liability.
Dog bite injuries can range in severity from minor puncture wounds to more serious injuries, such as:
Because the scope and severity of the injury can vary significantly depending on the nature of the dog bite, you should see a medical professional as soon as possible after a dog bite incident.
In addition to the physical injuries caused by a dog bite, there is also the risk of contracting diseases, including:
A dog may carry many diseases, so it is essential to see a medical professional if it has bitten you as soon as possible.
While California follows a strict liability law for dog bites, proving negligence on the dog owner's part can still be beneficial to your case, as it may increase the compensation you receive.
To prove negligence, you must establish that the dog owner failed to exercise reasonable care in controlling their dog or preventing the attack and that their negligence directly led to your injuries.
This may involve showing that the owner:
In California, you have two years from the dog bite attack to submit a legal claim or lawsuit. Failing to file within this time frame may result in losing your right to pursue compensation. It is crucial to contact an experienced dog bite attorney as soon as possible to ensure your case is filed within the required time frame.
There are several defenses a dog owner may raise in response to a dog bite lawsuit. Victims need to be aware of these potential defenses so they can prepare their cases accordingly and work with their attorneys to refute these arguments.
Some common defenses include:
If the victim was trespassing on the dog owner's property at the time of the bite, the owner may argue that they are not liable for the injuries. Under California law, a dog owner is generally not responsible for bites when the victim is unlawfully on the owner's property. However, exceptions may apply if the victim is a minor or the dog owner's negligence contributed to the trespasser's presence on the property.
To counter this defense, the victim must prove that they were not trespassing or that an exception applies to their situation.
The dog owner may claim that the victim somehow provoked the dog or contributed to the attack. In California, the pure comparative negligence rule applies, meaning that the victim's compensation may be reduced by their percentage of fault.
For example, if the victim is found to be 25% at fault for provoking the dog, their damages may be reduced by 25%. It is crucial for the victim and their attorney to gather evidence and present a strong case to demonstrate that the victim did not provoke the dog or contribute to the attack.
The dog owner may argue that their dog was not responsible for the bite or that the victim's injuries were caused by something other than the dog. In these cases, the burden of proof lies with the victim to show that the defendant's dog was indeed the cause of their injuries. This may involve gathering eyewitness accounts, medical records, and other evidence to support their claim.
Working with an experienced attorney can help the victim build a solid case to refute this defense.
Following a dog bite incident, it is important to take the following steps to protect your health and your legal rights:
Even if your injuries appear minor, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible to assess the extent of your injuries and receive appropriate treatment.
Report the dog bite to local authorities, such as the Orange County Animal Care or the local police department. This will create an official record of the incident and may help establish a pattern of behavior if the dog has bitten others in the past.
Take photographs of your injuries, the location where the incident occurred, and any relevant details, such as the dog's breed and appearance. Collect the contact information of any witnesses who may have seen the attack.
An experienced dog bite attorney can help guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Continue to follow your doctor's recommendations for treatment and document any ongoing medical expenses related to your injuries.
Victims of dog bites may be entitled to various types of compensation, depending on the injury's severity and its impact on their life. Some of the common categories of compensation include:
In more severe cases, dog bite victims often require immediate medical attention, including emergency room visits, wound cleaning, suturing, and even surgery. These initial medical expenses can be substantial and should be included in any compensation claim.
In addition to immediate medical costs, victims may require ongoing treatment and rehabilitation to recover from their injuries fully. This may include physical therapy, prescription medications, and follow-up appointments with medical professionals. When calculating compensation, it is important to account for these future medical expenses to ensure victims have the resources they need for a complete recovery.
Dog bite injuries can result in significant time away from work, causing victims to lose income during recovery. Compensation for lost wages should account for any missed income during this time and any potential bonuses or promotions that may have been affected by the absence.
In more severe cases, a dog bite injury may impact the victim's ability to work or earn a living. This loss of earning capacity should also be included in a compensation claim. This may involve considering factors such as the victim's age, education, work experience, and the severity of the injury.
Pain and suffering compensation aims to account for the physical pain and discomfort experienced by dog bite victims due to their injuries. This type of compensation can be difficult to quantify, as it is subjective and varies greatly from person to person.
Factors such as the severity of the injury, the extent of the medical treatment required, and the duration of the pain may all be considered when calculating pain and suffering damages.
A dog bite attack can be traumatic, leaving victims with lasting emotional and psychological effects.
Emotional distress compensation seeks to account for the emotional pain and suffering experienced by victims, which can include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other emotional difficulties. Like pain and suffering, emotional distress damages can be challenging to quantify and will often be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Dog bites can leave victims with lasting physical reminders of their ordeal in the form of disfigurement or permanent scarring.
Compensation for disfigurement or scarring aims to account for the impact these injuries have on a victim's life, including any cosmetic or reconstructive procedures that may be necessary, as well as the emotional toll that living with visible scars can have on a person's self-esteem and overall quality of life.
Sometimes, a dog bite injury can affect a victim's ability to enjoy their life fully. This may involve limitations in their physical abilities, difficulties participating in hobbies or activities they once enjoyed, or ongoing emotional challenges resulting from the trauma of the attack.
Loss of enjoyment of life compensation seeks to account for these ongoing struggles and provide victims with the financial resources necessary to help them adapt to their new circumstances.
When pursuing compensation for a dog bite injury, it is crucial to work with an experienced attorney who can help you fully assess the impact of the injury on your life and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite in Orange County, do not hesitate to contact our compassionate and experienced team at Omofoma Law Firm. We are here to help you navigate the legal process and fight for your deserved compensation. To schedule an initial consultation, contact us today.
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