Dogs are adorable companions, but they can also be very fierce protectors. Especially when they feel threatened, their instinct is to become defensive and, if necessary, attack. While it’s warranted in some cases, there are instances when the aggression was not provoked. If you, unfortunately, got in the way and were bitten by a dog, know that you may have a recourse to get recompense by filing a personal injury claim.
Liability of Dog Owner
Owners of dogs that may have inflicted injury upon another person can be held either civilly or criminally liable, depending on the present elements.
In terms of civil liability, states that recognize dog bite liability laws require owners to pay for the cost of medication and any other expense arising from the incident. In California, for example, section 3342 of the California Civil Code expressly states that the owner will be held liable for damages if the person was bitten in a public place or was lawfully in a private place, including the owner’s property.
The liability becomes criminal when it is proven that the bite occurred because of the owner’s negligence or recklessness. The fact that the owner is aware of the dog’s tendency to be a danger to other people, but ignored it or failed to take necessary precautionary measures anyway, will make them criminally liable.
Get Dog Owner’s Information
After getting medical attention for your injury, you should start gathering information to file a claim for compensation. It’s important to get the name and contact details of the owner as soon as possible, liability insurance included if they have it.
Next, determine if there were any witnesses that could help corroborate your claim as to what happened. Especially if the area you were bitten did not have security cameras, witness testimony can come in handy. Find out who they are and get their contact details as well.
If possible, take a picture of the dog, the location of the attack, and your injury. Also take a picture of the immediate surroundings, as well as details that could support your claim as to how the attack happened. Unattended dogs, open dog gates, faulty leash or door locks, lack of Beware sign, and more could indicate a lack of due diligence on the part of the owner.
Get in Touch with a Personal Injury Attorney
The best thing for you to do if you would like to successfully seek compensation for your injuries is to consult with a personal injury attorney. Firms like Kuzyk Law handle dog bite cases. It’s important to get in touch with them as soon as possible so that the process can get started.
They would be most familiar with your local state laws and how to apply them to your own circumstance. The legal proceedings are also important so that it can be determined if any further action must be done in relation to the dog, which may be declared dangerous.
The good thing about taking this first step to talk with a personal injury attorney is that most of the time, initial consultations are free. So prepare your documented materials related to the case, list down important questions, and take note of the options available for you to take during the process.