Dog Bite Lawyers Serving Santa Maria
Without a doubt, dogs are humankind’s best friends. Unfortunately, dogs of all sizes and breeds bite more than 4.5 million people in the United States every year. And California sees more dog bites than any other state. In 2021, State Farm paid nearly $23 million to Californians for over 380 dog-related injuries.
Dogs are amazing. But being bitten by one is traumatic and painful. Dog attacks can also take a hefty physical, emotional, and financial toll on you. Yet, despite the harm dog bites cause, many victims don’t report them. That’s because dog bite victims often don’t know how to document or prove the attack occurred, or they don’t know that they can file a demand for damages against the dog’s owner.
If you’ve been attacked by a dog, working with a Santa Maria dog bite lawyer to protect your legal rights is crucial. At Frederick Law Firm, we have over three decades of experience helping dog-bite victims hold dog owners accountable. A Santa Maria dog bite attorney at Frederick Law Firm can help you find the best doctors and employ private investigators to visit the bite scene and speak with witnesses. We can contact police and animal control and work with the dog owner’s insurance company to help you receive compensation for your losses. Our lawyers have extensive trial and negotiation experience, and a successful track record of obtaining the compensation clients need to recover from their injuries. Let us fight for the settlement you deserve so that you can focus on recovery. Contact us today.
Common Injuries from Dog Bites
Dogs provide us with companionship, comfort, entertainment, and unconditional love. But dog bites can also cause severe physical and emotional harm. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 people suffering from a dog bite in the United States require medical attention. And according to a report released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in 2020, approximately 47,454 people needed reconstructive surgery for their dog bite injuries.
The most common dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds,
- Lacerations and cuts,
- Soft tissue damage,
- Bone fractures and dislocation,
- Nerve damage,
- Tendon damage,
- Head trauma,
- Back injuries,
- Permanent scarring,
- Loss of eyes,
- Loss of limbs,
- Crush injuries,
- Emotional distress, and
- Post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dog bites can also become infected with dangerous bacteria or transmit viruses. Dog bites cause the following dangerous medical conditions:
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you should seek immediate medical attention even if you think your injuries are minor. Getting the correct diagnosis is essential to receiving the proper treatment. Medical records documenting your injuries can also help you strengthen your claim for compensation. If you were attacked by a dog, an experienced Santa Maria dog attack attorney can help you prove and explain your injury to insurers or a jury to maximize your settlement.
Liability for Dog Bites in Santa Maria
When it comes to dog bites in Santa Maria, California is a strict liability state. Strict liability means the dog’s owner is liable for any damages the dog causes if they bite someone, even if the dog has never injured someone before.
Under strict liability, to hold a dog owner liable, a victim must only show the following:
- The damages they sustained were the result of a dog attack; and
- They were bitten on public property or were lawfully on private property.
If a victim can establish these two elements, the dog owner is responsible for their damages even if the dog never previously displayed aggressive behavior or the owner didn’t know about the dog’s aggressive behavior. In general, unless the victim trespassed on the dog owner’s property, provoked the attacking dog, got bit while participating in criminal activity, or got bit by a police or military dog, they can hold the dog’s owner liable. In some rare exceptions, dog caretakers, landlords, and others may also be liable.
If you are suffering from a dog bite and are unsure who owns the dog, or if you’re unsure if the dog’s owner is the only responsible party, a Santa Maria dog bite lawyer can review your case and help you identify all the parties who might be liable for your damages.
What Is the Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury?
While each dog bite has unique circumstances, almost all dog bites inflict damage. Luckily, California allows dog bite victims to recover compensation for economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages are direct monetary losses caused by your injury. These losses include the following:
- Lost wages for missed work;
- Medical expenses, including emergency room treatment and hospitalizations;
- Prescription medicines to avoid or treat an infection, disease, or bacteria contracted from the bite, or to ease pain,
- Vaccines to prevent animal-related diseases like rabies;
- Surgery expenses, including cosmetic surgery;
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation;
- Property damage, and
- Other out-of-pocket expenses.
Be sure to keep copies of your medical bills, pharmacy receipts, pay stubs, and other financial documents to help your Santa Maria dog bite lawyer calculate your economic damages.
Noneconomic damages generally address a victim’s quality of life. Noneconomic damages can include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Psychological and emotional distress, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Noneconomic damages are harder to calculate than economic damages because they don’t have an objective dollar amount attached to them. An experienced Santa Maria dog bite attorney at Frederick Law can help you identify and calculate your noneconomic damages to help make sure you ask for all of the compensation you’re entitled to.
The Frederick Law Firm Can Help
If your or a loved one suffered a dog bite injury, the award-winning attorneys at Frederick Law Firm can help you navigate California’s dog bite laws. We have decades of experience helping injured Californians get the compensation they need to heal from their injuries. At the Frederick Law Firm, our Santa Maria dog bite lawyers can guide you through every step of the claim process, from gathering evidence through trial. Our attorneys will provide you with the personal attention and fierce advocacy you need as you face one of the most challenging times in your life. Contact us today by phone or online to schedule a free initial consultation.