Whether walking along the scenic pathways of Hart Park, the community-friendly setting of Irvine Regional Park, or creekside at Santiago Oaks Regional Park, Orange is a haven for dog owners and enthusiasts alike.
Unfortunately, even in these idyllic settings, dog bites can occur, leading to injuries that require medical and legal attention. If you or a loved one was bitten or attacked by a dog, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses.
Contact an experienced Orange dog bite lawyer from Wilshire Law Firm to discuss your case and legal options.
Orange Dog Bite Guide
- Why Choose Wilshire Law Firm for Your Orange Dog Bite Case?
- How Common Are Dog Bite Injuries?
- Common Dog Bite Injuries
- What are the Six Levels of Dog Bites?
- What Laws in Orange Affect My Dog Bite Claim?
- Other Factors that May Affect Liability
- What Compensation is Available for Dog Bite Victims?
- How Can a Lawyer Help with My Orange Dog Bite Claim?
- How Much Does a Dog Bite Attorney in Orange Cost?
- Contact the Orange Dog Bite Lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm Today
Why Choose Wilshire Law Firm for Your Orange Dog Bite Case?
Wilshire Law Firm’s award-winning team of personal injury lawyers has the track record and resources to handle any injury claim successfully, including dog bite cases. Since opening our doors in 2007, we have recovered more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients.
Our dog bite lawyers bring a deep understanding of local laws and a commitment to justice for dog bite victims in Orange. We strive to provide you with the legal support needed to navigate through the aftermath of such incidents, seeking fair compensation for medical expenses, emotional distress, and other damages.
Contact us today for your free consultation. Let us guide you through the legal process, allowing you to focus on healing while we advocate for your rights and seek the justice you deserve.
How Common Are Dog Bite Injuries?
Dogs take up residence in more than 65 million households in the U.S. These loyal companions and protectors are beloved by many humans. However, some dogs can act aggressively, resulting in devastating injuries. Dog attacks are surprisingly common, with 4.5 million occurring each year. Nearly 20% of those dog bites become infected. Non-fatal bites send about 1,000 people to emergency rooms each year and hospitalize nearly 12,500 people. An estimated 30 to 50 dog bites each year are fatal.
The financial toll of dog attacks is just as staggering. The average cost of a dog bite that requires hospitalization is $18,200—about 50 percent more than the average hospitalization due to injury. Dog bite victims suffer about $2 billion in monetary losses each year. Homeowners pay upwards of $882 million in liability claims to compensate victims of dog bites.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries can vary widely in severity, ranging from minor scratches and bruises to more severe wounds that may require medical intervention.
Common dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds
- Tissue and muscle damage
- Nerve damage
- Emotional trauma
Children, due to their size and vulnerability, are often more susceptible to serious injuries from dog bites. Additionally, certain breeds or individual dogs with aggressive tendencies may pose a higher risk of causing severe injuries.
If you or someone you know experiences a dog bite, it’s important to seek medical attention promptly after a dog bite, even if the injury seems minor. Prompt medical attention helps reduce the risk of infection and ensures proper care.
What are the Six Levels of Dog Bites?
The “Six Levels of Dog Bites” is a classification system developed by veterinarian Ian Dunbar to assess the severity of dog bites. These levels help professionals, such as dog trainers and behaviorists, understand and communicate the seriousness of a dog bite incident. This classification is not a legal or medical standard but a behavioral assessment. Here are the six levels:
Level 1: Inhibited Bite (Growling)
The dog shows aggressive behavior, including growling, but does not make physical contact.
Level 2: Uninhibited Bite (No Skin Contact)
The dog makes contact with teeth but does not break the skin. This may involve mouthing without causing injury.
Level 3: Skin Contact (No Skin Penetration)
The dog’s teeth make contact with the skin, causing abrasions or bruises, but without puncturing the skin.
Level 4: Single Bite with Punctures
The dog bites once, causing puncture wounds. The punctures may be superficial, not deep.
Level 5: Multiple Bites
The dog inflicts multiple bites with deep punctures. The biting may be rapid and sustained, indicating an increased level of aggression.
Level 6: Serial Bites
The most severe level, Level 6 dog bites, involves repeated bites with deep punctures. The attack may last an extended period, and the dog may not release the victim. Level 6 dog bites result in the victim’s death.
What Laws in Orange Affect My Dog Bite Claim?
California follows a strict liability rule when it comes to dog bites. This means that dog owners can be held strictly liable for injuries suffered by anyone who is bitten by their dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the dog owner.
Unlike some other states that operate under a “one free bite” rule, California’s law does not require the victim to prove that the dog owner knew or should have known about the dog’s dangerous propensities. The owner is responsible for damages even if the dog has never bitten anyone before.
The law also covers injuries caused by bites and injuries resulting from other aggressive behaviors of the dog. For example, if a dog knocks someone over and causes injury, the owner may still be held liable.
Orange County also has a leash law that requires owners to keep their dogs restrained “by a substantial chain, or leash, not exceeding six feet” and be “under the charge of a person competent to exercise care, custody, and control of such dog.”
- Who Can Be Held Liable in a California Dog Bite Claim?
- In a California dog bite claim, liability generally falls on the owner. But there are circumstances where parties other than the owner may be held liable for a dog bite or attack. These situations typically involve individuals with some level of control or responsibility for the dog at the time of the incident.
- Here are a few scenarios where you can hold someone other than the dog owner liable:
- Keeper or Harborer: In California, a person who is not the legal owner of the dog but has control or possession of the dog at the time of the bite may be held liable. This is often referred to as the “keeper” or “harborer” of the dog. If a person other than the owner is responsible for the dog’s actions, they may share liability.
- Landlord or Property Owner: In certain cases, a landlord or property owner may be held liable for a dog bite if they had knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensities and control over the premises. This is more likely in situations where the landlord has some degree of control or responsibility for the property where the dog resides.
- Dog Walker or Caretaker: If a professional dog walker, pet sitter, or another person is hired to care for the dog and is in control of the dog when a bite occurs, they may share liability along with the owner.
- Liability in dog bite cases can be complex, and legal advice from an experienced attorney is recommended to navigate the specific circumstances of a case.
Other Factors that May Affect Liability
While California has a strict liability law for dog bites, there are certain defenses that a dog owner may raise in specific circumstances. These defenses may not absolve the owner of all liability, but they could potentially reduce or eliminate the damages in a dog bite case. Here are some potential defenses:
If the person who was bitten was unlawfully on private property at the time of the incident, the dog owner may argue that the injured party was trespassing. California’s strict liability law generally applies when the victim is in a public place or lawfully on private property.
If the person who was bitten provoked the dog, the dog owner may use this as a defense. Provocation might include actions such as teasing, hitting, or otherwise mistreating the dog.
If the person who suffered the dog bite was engaged in criminal activity at the time of the incident, the dog owner may argue that the injured party’s illegal actions contributed to the incident.
What Compensation is Available for Dog Bite Victims?
Victims of dog bites in California may be eligible for various types of compensation, depending on the circumstances of the incident and the resulting injuries. Compensation for dog bite victims typically covers both economic and non-economic damages.
Here are some common types of compensation available to dog bite victims:
- Medical Expenses: This includes compensation for all medical costs related to the dog bite, such as emergency room treatment, surgery, doctor’s visits, prescription medications, and rehabilitation.
- Lost Earnings: If the dog bite injuries result in the victim being unable to work, they may be entitled to compensation for lost wages or income. This includes both past and future lost earnings.
- Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages, such as physical pain and emotional distress caused by the dog bite, may be compensated. This is more challenging to quantify but is often a significant component of a dog bite claim.
- Scarring and Disfigurement: Compensation may be awarded for any permanent scarring or disfigurement resulting from the dog bite. This is often considered a separate category of damages.
- Property Damage: If personal property (e.g., clothing, accessories) is damaged during the dog attack, compensation may be available to cover the cost of repair or replacement.
- Psychological Counseling: Victims who experience emotional trauma or require psychological counseling as a result of the dog bite may be eligible for compensation to cover these expenses.
- Wrongful Death Damages: In tragic cases where a dog bite leads to the death of the victim, the surviving family members may pursue wrongful death damages, including funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship.
How Can a Lawyer Help with My Orange Dog Bite Claim?
If a dog injured you in Orange County, California, hiring a lawyer can be beneficial in several ways.
Here’s how a lawyer with Wilshire Law Firm can help with your dog bite claim:
- Provide you with guidance on how the law applies to your specific situation.
- Conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the dog bite, including gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, obtaining medical records, and assessing the extent of your injuries.
- Assess the value of your claim and help you pursue fair compensation.
- Negotiate with the insurance company for fair compensation for your damages.
- If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer can file the necessary legal documents, present your case before a judge and jury, and navigate the legal process on your behalf.
- Build a strong defense against any counterclaims made by the dog owner and protect your interests.
- Handle all communication with the opposing party and insurance companies.
If you’re considering pursuing a dog bite claim in Orange County, consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer from Wilshire Law Firm. We can provide you with personalized advice based on the specifics of your case and help guide you through the legal process.
How Much Does a Dog Bite Attorney in Orange Cost?
The personal injury lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm work on a contingency fee basis. This means you only pay legal fees if we successfully recover compensation for you. This arrangement can make legal representation more accessible to those who might not be able to afford upfront legal costs.
Contact the Orange Dog Bite Lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm Today
At Wilshire Law Firm, our dedicated team of Orange dog bite lawyers is committed to providing compassionate and effective legal representation for victims of dog bites. We understand the physical and emotional toll that a dog bite can take, and we are here to guide you through every step of the legal process. We have successfully secured fair compensation for numerous clients, and we can help you, too. Our passion for justice, combined with a client-centered approach, sets us apart. Reach out to an Orange personal injury lawyer.
If you’ve been a victim of a dog bite in Orange County, trust Wilshire Law Firm to advocate fiercely for your rights and help you on the path to recovery. Contact us today at (714) 386-1747 or fill out our online form for a free and confidential consultation.
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Wilshire Law Firm
1940 W. Orangewood #110 Office 7
Orange, CA 92868
Tel: (714) 386-1747
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