Torrance Dog Bite Lawyer
Being bitten by a dog is more than just scary. A large dog’s jaws are strong enough to pierce through skin, crush bone and sever nerves or blood vessels. As any dog bite lawyer in Torrance will agree, it's an unfortunate fact that many dog bites have proven fatal to their victims.
But even minor dog bites require immediate medical treatment. Otherwise
they could spread the rabies virus or a bacterial infection. Only medical tests can show whether a bite has caused either one.
In addition to the physical trauma that can result from a dog bite, many victims experience severe emotional reactions and this is especially true of young children. They often develop a lifelong fear of dogs.
Serious dog bite injuries need surgical repair, including reconstructive plastic surgery. If the bite results in a disfiguring facial scar, the victim may also develop a fear of being seen in public.
Nearly 900 people end up in the emergency room each day because of dog bites, according to researchers at the Health Care Cost and Utilization Project. Another 26 are hospitalized. In 2008, the average cost of their hospital stays was $18,200 dollars. As every Torrance dog bite attorney knows, dog bites can be expensive.
The California Dog Bite Law
When it comes to dog bite injuries, California Civil Code Section 3342 law follows the strict liability standard. If you're the victim of a dog bite, this law allows you to recover damages without proving the dog's owner was guilty of wrongdoing. Possible damages include:
- Past or future medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of past and future income
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
Exceptions to the California Dog Bite Law
Only dog bite injury lawyers can tell if your injuries qualify for compensation. The following circumstances could relieve the dog's owner of liability:
- There's proof that you provoked, harassed or mistreated the dog prior to being bitten.
- You interacted with the dog while knowing there was a risk of being bitten. This restriction applies only to people who work with dogs, such as veterinarians, groomers, dog trainers and dog walkers.
- You're partly responsible for being bitten. If the dog is barking and growling at you from inside a secure enclosure and you still reach through the fence to pet it, you share some blame for the bite.
- You're trespassing on the owner's property without an express or implied invitation. If you were hired to mow the lawn, for example, you'd have an express invitation. If you're there for a garage sale, you'd have an implied one.
- The dog bit you while it was acting in the line of duty. This only applies to a military or police dog assisting in capturing a suspect, executing an arrest warrant, investigating a crime or defending its handler.
As long as you weren't involved in the circumstances leading to the cause of the dog biting you, you may have a right to compensation.
What to Do after a Dog Bite
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, immediately call 911 to request police and medical assistance. That way, if the animal’s owner is hostile or the dog is running loose, the authorities can take charge of the situation.
If the owner wasn't with the dog when the attack occurred, you should notify him or her right away. You need to get the animal's rabies vaccination records, especially if it appeared ill at the time of the bite.
If the police fail to act, contacting animal control will ensure the dog gets tested for rabies and needs to be in quarantine for the necessary period.
Documenting Your Dog Bite
As soon as you've dealt with the police or animal control, get photographs of:
- Your bite injuries
- The dog
- The location
- Nearby gates, signs, postings or anything that could explain how and where the incident occurred
- If there are witnesses to the attack, getting their contact information is also helpful.
Documenting the incident very well is critical if you decide to pursue legal compensation. Even when the bite wounds appear to be minor, having a physician check them out is essential. At the very least, it adds documentation to your legal case. More importantly, it ensures that your injuries are diagnosed and treated correctly.
You should also hang on to the clothes you were wearing and belongings that were with you during the attack. Even if they're dirty, damaged or stained with blood, they're still valuable as evidence.
When to Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer in Torrance
Once you've documented the dog bite attack and had your injuries properly treated, it's time to decide whether or not to contact a team of dog bite injury lawyers. And as any Torrance dog bite attorney will tell you, the statute of limitations on filing a claim to recover damages from a dog bite expires two years after the injury occurs.
Although your original bite injuries might not seem significant to you, having two years to file gives you a chance to assess their ongoing physical and emotional effects. Still, the sooner you take action, the greater your chance of success will be.
If you've decided your dog bite injuries are serious enough to deserve compensation, why not contact our Torrance dog bite attorney today? We're ready and waiting to hear about your case and the consultation is free!