A dog bite can result in serious injuries that can take weeks, months, or even years to heal. After an attack, victims may be unable to work or otherwise live everyday life. Speaking with an attorney may help a victim learn more about his or her rights. Legal counsel may also work to refute any defences to a dog bite claim raised by other parties.
Those whom a dog has hurt may be able to seek compensation and other forms of relief from the animal’s owner. If a victim has medical insurance, they may be able to file a claim under their policy. Regardless of whether a victim has medical coverage or not, it may still be possible to file a claim against the dog’s owner for additional compensation.
In many cases, seeing a doctor or receiving medical treatment for a dog bite may be necessary. Because of the risk of infection, small bites should be treated by a medical professional. A dog bite attorney can assist a bite victim in coordinating payment for services rendered by a medical professional with his or her insurance company.
Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit with the Help of an Attorney
If a dog has bitten you or someone you care about and you believe legal action is necessary, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of success.
An experienced dog bite lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and get the best possible outcome for your case. An attorney can also protect your rights by fighting for damages on your behalf. If you are injured in a dog attack, don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer to get started on your case.
Finding the Deadlines in Your State
The statute of limitations for dog bite cases in each state is generally the same as the statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits filed in that state’s civil court system.
These deadlines range from one to six years after the injury occurred, with two or three years being the most common. In rare circumstances dictated by state law, the time limit may pause (or “toll” in legalese). For example, if the dog owner leaves the state for any reason after the injury, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the owner returns.
Strict Liability States
Regarding dog bites, the vast majority of states in America use a strict liability system. So, for example, a police or military dog might be exempt from strict liability in California if it defends itself.
In states without a one-bite rule, an owner may be negligent in allowing a dog regardless of its history. To help strengthen a case, an attorney may be able to gather physical evidence, witness statements, or video evidence. This evidence could be presented during settlement talks or a formal trial.
Defenses to Dog Bite Claims
A dog owner may raise a variety of defenses to reduce or eliminate liability in a dog bite case. For example, it could be argued that the dog owner owed no duty to protect the victim. One possible counter-argument is that the victim was an invited guest on that person’s property.
A dog owner may also be able to prove that the animal was adequately secured. Finally, an attorney can examine the relevant statutes in the case and present evidence that they were not followed. A dog, for example, could be allowed to roam freely on its own property.
An attorney may argue that the dog’s owner is liable if the dog left its yard to attack someone.
Individuals who have been hurt by a dog may benefit from the assistance of legal counsel in pursuing their claim. This can assist a victim in gathering evidence as well as understanding what the law says about dog owner liability.
What Happens If You Miss the Deadline?
If you file your lawsuit after the deadline has passed, expect the dog owner to request that the case be dismissed. Unless an exception is granted, the court will almost certainly dismiss the case. If this happens, you will be left without a legal remedy for your injuries, lost income, and other damages.
Even if you believe you will be able to settle the case without filing a lawsuit (for example, if you are negotiating a settlement with the dog owner’s homeowners’ insurance carrier), give yourself plenty of time in case you need to file a lawsuit.
Get The Help Of An Experienced Attorney Today!
If you are concerned that your state’s filing deadline is approaching or if settlement talks have broken down, it may be time to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.
Even if the deadline has passed, an attorney can determine if your situation qualifies for an exemption that would allow for an extension of the statute of limitations.
Khashan Law Firm’s dog bite attorney in California can help dog bite victims and the parents of animal attack victims. Contact us today at (951) 461-2387 for a free, confidential consultation.