Dog Bite Attorney Serving Injured Clients in California
Were you recently bitten by a dog, or do you have a child who sustained injuries in a dog attack? Dog bite claims arise more often than most Californians might think.
To be sure, a study conducted by State Farm and the Insurance Information Institute (III) reported that dog bite claims have increased across the country, and California has the highest number of dog bite claims in the country.
If you are considering filing a lawsuit for dog bites, you may be searching for information such as “dog bite claim” or “suing over dog bite.” What you need to know is that getting started on your case as soon as possible is the most important step in obtaining compensation.
An aggressive California dog bite claims attorney at The Wakeford Law Firm can speak with you today about your case.
Dog Bite Claims in California and Across the Country
When the III reports that dog bite claims are on the rise, what does this mean in terms of numbers? The following are some facts and figures from the III:
- In 2017, the average cost of a dog bite claim was $37,051.
- The figure of $37,051 on average per claim represents an increase of 11.5 percent in the value of the average claim in just one year;
- The total number of claims in 2017 rose by 2.2 percent to 18,522 dog bite claims, and that number represents a 9.5 percent increase in the total number of dog bite claims between 2003 and 2017;
- Total payout of all dog bite claims in 2017 was $686.3 million;
- Value of dog bite claims in 2017 represents a 14 percent increase from 2016, and an increase of 111.7 percent—more than 100 percent—since 2003, when the total value of all claims paid was $324.2 million;
- California had the highest number of dog bite claims in the country in 2017, with a total of 2,228 claims; and
- Highest value of dog bite claims was in California, where a total of $90.4 million was paid out to injured persons in 2017.
To be clear, the facts and figures reported by the III only take into account the very serious and fatal dog bite injuries that resulted in insurance claims and settlements. These figures do not account for the dog bite injuries that may not require medical attention, or that do not result in an insurance claim being filed.
Dog Bite Law and Liability in California
It’s important to understand California dog bite laws after a bite. When it comes to dog bite claims and lawsuits, California is what is known as a “strict liability” state. What is a strict liability state? In short, anyone who has been injured by a dog bite does not have to show that the dog’s owner was negligent, or that the dog’s owner knew that she or he had a potentially dangerous dog.
Rather, the injured party only needs to show that she was lawfully on the property at the time of the dog bite. As long as the injured party was not trespassing, the owner of the dog is strictly liable just by virtue of owning the dog.
Here is how the statute describes it:
“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
Learning More About Dog Bites
Do dog bite injuries really happen as frequently as the statistics suggest? Are some breeds of dog more dangerous than others? And are some people at greater risk of a dog bite injury than others? The following are statistics concerning dog bites and injuries:
- 31 dog bite fatalities occurred in the U.S. in 2016, while hundreds more nonfatal dog bites occurred across the country;
- More than 40 percent of dog bite victims in fatal attacks are children aged 9 and younger;
- Slightly more women are injured in dog attacks than are men;
- More than 30 percent of all child deaths in dog attacks involve infants between the ages of 3 and 6 days old;
- More than 40 percent of all deadly dog attacks occur in the dog’s home (victims are family members or are visiting the household); and
- California leads the nation in fatal dog bite injuries.
Statute of Limitations in a California Dog Bite Claim
The California statute of limitations in most personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury. For purposes of filing a dog bite injury lawsuit, this means that in the typical circumstance, the injured party has two years from the date of the dog attack to file a civil claim. Failing to file your lawsuit within that two-year time window typically will mean that the claim becomes time-barred.
While two years might seem like a significant amount of time for filing a lawsuit, time can go by quickly—especially when you begin your case by seeking an insurance settlement. Accordingly, you should get in touch with a California dog bite injury attorney as soon as possible.
Contact a California Dog Bite Claims Attorney
Dog bite injuries can be devastating. It is extremely important to hold the dog owner accountable. An experienced California dog bite claims lawyer can discuss your options with you for filing a claim and moving forward with a dog bite lawsuit. Contact The Wakeford Law Firm to learn more about the personal injury services we provide for plaintiffs in San Francisco, Marin County, and throughout Northern California.