No matter how hard we try, accidents happen. From car accidents to catastrophic injuries, life has a tendency to throw curveballs our way from time to time. This can strip us of our financial security and mobility, causing our health to plummet. At Needham Kepner & Fish, we’re committed to obtaining maximum compensation on behalf of the wrongfully injured in San Jose and beyond.
Our passionate personal injury lawyers understand how frustrating and intimidating it can be to find yourself in pain and out of work thanks to another person’s negligence. Fortunately, our compassionate legal team has decades of experience and an in-depth understanding of California personal injury law to fight for the just outcome you deserve in court. Reach out today to learn how we can collaborate with you to achieve the result you desire.
Understanding Personal Injury Law in California
In California, there are laws in place to protect victims of dog bites. Under California Civil Code §3342, dog owners are held strictly liable for any injuries caused by their dogs, regardless of whether the dog had a history of aggression or the owner was aware of it. As a victim, this means that you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries if injured by another person’s animal.
If you or a loved one was injured by a dog bite in San Jose, our experienced dog bite lawyers can fight to restore your health and economic security in the Golden State. At Needham Kepner & Fish, we specialize in a wide range of personal injury cases, from dog bites to animal attacks, empowering us to represent your best interests in court and demand justice for your suffering.
Who Is Liable in a Dog Bite Incident?
In California, the dog owner is typically liable for injuries resulting from a dog bite incident. However, there may be exceptions if the victim provoked the dog or trespassed on private property. Consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer is essential to determine an effective legal strategy to employ in court.
5 Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Injury
After a dog bite incident, it’s imperative to act quickly to preserve your health and safety. Taking prompt legal action can also help you secure the maximum compensation you deserve from the negligent party (e.g., the owner of the animal who injured you).
First, it’s important to secure experienced representation from a skilled personal injury lawyer. Then, with assistance from a qualified legal representative in California, injured parties can take these steps to obtain compensation after a dog bite incident:
- Seek medical attention immediately – Your health and safety are the top priority after a dog bite. It’s essential to seek medical care as soon as possible, even if you don’t suspect significant harm, to safeguard your well-being and prevent unforeseen health issues later down the road.
- Identify the dog and its owner – If possible, gather information about the dog and the owner, including their contact details. This will be critical information to both initiate your personal injury claim and help your lawyer determine which legal approach may be most effective in court.
- Document the incident – Keeping track of relevant evidence is central to strengthening your claim in court. Consider taking photos or videos of injuries, the incident site, and any other visible signs of negligence, such as broken fences or property damage.
- Gather witness information – If possible, obtaining contact information from any witnesses at the scene of the incident can be very useful to fortify your case in court.
- File a report of the incident – It’s critical for victims to notify the local animal control agency or law enforcement about the dog bite to prevent further harm.
4 Elements to Prove Negligence After a Dog Bite
To build a personal injury case after a dog bite, plaintiffs bear the “burden of proof” (known as preponderance in personal injury law) to show that their injuries were the direct result of the other party’s negligence. To accomplish this, claimants must be able to prove the existence of four key elements:
- Duty of Care: The dog owner had a duty to prevent harm to others.
- Breach of Duty: The owner failed to fulfill their duty of care, resulting in the dog bite incident.
- Causation: The owner's breach of duty directly caused your injuries.
- Damages: You suffered actual damages, such as physical injuries, emotional distress, or financial losses.
Recoverable Damages in Dog Bite Cases
To have a personal injury case, it’s necessary to first establish recoverable damages (e.g., the plaintiff can obtain relief through compensatory means). There are two types of recoverable damages in California personal injury lawsuits:
- Economic Damages – These are tangible losses that can be directly measured in monetary terms. These damages aim to compensate the victim for financial hardships resulting from the injury. Some common examples include loss of wages, hospital bills, medical expenses, property damage, and loss of earning capacity.
- Non-Economic Damages – These damages are losses that are not directly measurable in monetary terms. These damages aim to compensate the victim for intangible harm and subjective experiences resulting from the injury. Common examples include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and disfigurement or disability.
Importance of Hiring Skilled Representation
Experiencing any animal attack can leave victims disoriented and overwhelmed. It can be difficult to think clearly after sustaining an injury, especially when your pain is the result of someone else’s negligence.
Fortunately, a skilled personal injury attorney can be an invaluable asset to have in your corner, as they can utilize their comprehensive knowledge of personal injury law in California to help you navigate the intricacies of the legal proceedings. They can also help by:
- Fortifying your claim with sufficient evidence;
- Negotiating with involved parties to prevent them from taking advantage;
- Keeping track of important deadlines, paperwork, and court appearances; and
- Gathering and presenting compelling evidence, such as witness testimonies or security camera footage, to the court.
Passionate Advocacy for the Injured in San Jose
At Needham Kepner & Fish, we have decades of experience representing the wrongfully injured in California. Our highly skilled lawyers provide high-end representation to victims in San Jose and beyond, advocating tirelessly on their behalf to obtain fair and full compensation.
Sustaining an unexpected injury can uproot your life and financial health. Call (408) 716-1668 to consult with an experienced San Jose dog bite attorney.