Have you recently suffered catastrophic and traumatic injuries after being attacked by a dog? Has the terror of the incident left significant emotional trauma? Are the financial costs associated with the attack starting to feel like too much to bear? If so, it is critical to get the legal support you need when you need it most.
When you have an experienced dog bite lawyer at Moody Law advocating for your rights, you can rest easier. Our team will work tirelessly to build a powerful claim against the dog’s owner and other liable parties so you can get your expenses covered and ensure the dog’s owner is held accountable for their negligence. Contact our personal injury office for a 100% free consultation today and learn more about the potential damages you could recover, how the dog bite claims process works, and how long it might be before your case is resolved.
Why Choose Moody Law?
The experienced dog bite lawyers at Moody Law are uniquely equipped to take on your case. Attorney Moody is an active member of multiple legal associations throughout the state of California, including:
- The Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
- The San Bernardino County Bar Association
- The American Bar Association
- The Consumer Attorneys of California
- The Riverside County Bar Association
Mr. Moody has seen firsthand the emotional distress and physical trauma his clients experience after dog bites and other types of accidents. He is prepared to handle your case efficiently and effectively so you can access the financial compensation you are entitled to. This legal team is selective about the cases they take on to ensure every client’s case gets the attention it deserves. They will work tirelessly to alleviate your legal worries and help you feel confident in your decision to fight for justice.
Moody Law is An Advocate for Dog Bite Victim’s Rights
You need a dog bite attorney on your side who will do everything possible to help you get through these difficult times. Moody Law is an advocate for dog bite victims across the state of California. We understand the trauma you went through and are here to help you ease your fears and build a powerful case against the dog’s owner or other liable parties. While you recuperate and cope with your emotional distress, your animal attack lawyer will handle every little detail of your case, including:
- Thoroughly investigating the cause of the dog attack
- Protecting you from allegations of provocation
- Identifying other parties that may share liability for your dog bite injuries
- Speaking with witnesses and taking depositions
- Sorting through the defendant’s evidence obtained during discovery
- Negotiating with profit-driven insurance adjusters
- Quantifying economic and non-economic damages to ensure fair compensation
- Preparing insurance claims and court filing documents
- Presenting your dog by lawsuit before a judge and jury in court
It should be noted that your case will not always need to go to trial. If Attorney Moody can get the insurance company to settle your claim reasonably, or the liable party is willing to cover your damages in full outside of court, you may not need to proceed with a dog bite lawsuit. However, if insurance is insufficient, the dog’s owner does not have insurance coverage, or the at-fault party is unwilling to settle, going to trial may be the best way to get the most out of your claim.
Dog Bite Laws in California
Our dog bite attorneys understand the complexities of California dog bite laws. These tort laws determine when you can hold a dog’s owner accountable after an attack.
What is “Strict Liability?”
California follows strict liability laws regarding dog bites. In some states, if a dog has never been aggressive or attacked someone, the dog’s owner could avoid liability for the victim’s damages. This is commonly referred to as the “one-bite rule”. Here, the first time a dog bites, the dog will be given a “free pass.” It may not be classified as dangerous, and the dog’s owner may not be expected to cover the victim’s damages.
However, California does not follow the one-bite rule. Here, our animal attack lawyers follow strict liability laws. Strict liability means the dog’s owner will be held strictly accountable for the actions of the animal. Whether the dog has previously bitten, attacked, or shown a propensity towards violence is irrelevant. The fact remains that the dog’s owner allowed the animal to escape their control, leaving them liable for the victim’s damages.
Dog Owners and Negligence Exclusions
Although dog owners are strictly liable for the injuries their animals cause, there are situations in which they may be privy to negligence exclusions. One example could be if the dog’s owner did not lose control of the animal by their own accord. For instance, let’s say the dog’s owner has a fenced-in backyard. They allow the animal to go out into the backyard unattended to use the bathroom one afternoon. However, the backyard fencing has recently been replaced and installed by a local construction company. When the dog gets out and bites a child walking by, the construction company could be held accountable if they negligently installed the fencing in question.
Questions surrounding provocation also come up often in dog bite cases. Here, if the catastrophic injury victim provoked the dog into acting aggressively, the dog’s owner may not be 100% responsible for the actions of the animal. Some examples of behaviors that could be considered provoking include:
- Hitting the dog
- Throwing things at the dog
- Kicking or scratching the dog
- Punching the dog
- Spitting out the dog
- Screaming or yelling at the dog
How Pure Comparative Negligence Works
You should not be surprised if the dog’s owner or other liable parties attempt to use provocation as a way of reducing their financial liability. Our animal attack attorneys will be by your side to protect you against unfounded accusations of shared liability. When you share fault for the injuries you sustained in any type of accident in California, you are subject to the state’s pure comparative negligence laws.
Here, if you are partially responsible for causing your injuries, you can expect less from your dog by settlement. The court system will reduce your compensation proportionately. For example, if you and your child were spending time in Yosemite National Park and accidentally stepped on a dog’s tail, causing the dog to bite the child’s arm, the judge might find the child 5% responsible for their injuries. This would mean their dog bite settlement would be reduced by 5%.
You can expect the defendant to attempt to capitalize on these pure comparative fault laws to protect their own financial interests. For this reason, it is crucial to have a dedicated personal injury attorney on your side who will evaluate liability and ensure fault is accurately established. This way, you do not have to worry about being taken advantage of by greedy insurance companies or negligent dog owners.
Compensating California Dog Bite Victims
Dog bite victims have the right to total financial compensation after an attack. There is no reason you should be forced to cover any of the expenses associated with your injuries when a dog owner’s negligence is the cause of them. Thankfully, California tort laws allow victims to recover compensation for a combination of economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are entirely monetary, whereas non-economic damages ensure you receive compensation for the other ways your life has been affected by the dog bite and your subsequent injuries. Collectively, they are commonly referred to as compensatory damages. Some examples of recoverable damages for dog bite victims in California could include:
- Extreme emotional distress
- Excruciating physical pain
- Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including flashbacks, insomnia, and severe anxiety
- Loss of income and benefits provided by your employer
- Disfiguring skin scars and permanent disability
- Costs of home maintenance help and child care expenses
- Loss of consortium and feelings of embarrassment or indignity
- Damage to your personal or professional reputation
- Personal property damages and increases to your insurance premiums
- Diminished quality of life
- Wrongful death
It is also possible punitive damages could be awarded in your California dog bite lawsuit. Punitive damages are not something that every injury victim is awarded. In fact, they are generally only issued in instances of gross negligence or intentional malice. However, if the dog’s owner has a history of claims or complaints against them, the court system may determine punitive damages are appropriate in your case. This could significantly increase the amount of compensation your dog bite claim is worth.
California Dog Bite FAQ
You likely have any unanswered questions surrounding dog bite personal injury claims and how to recover maximum compensation for your damages. We want you to feel confident as you pursue your case against the at-fault party. For this reason, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding dog bite injury claims in California below. If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to contact our law offices so we can schedule a free consultation and get you the specific answers you are looking for.
How long do I have to file a dog bite lawsuit?
Every dog bite lawsuit and insurance claim has a deadline. When you are filing a personal injury lawsuit for a dog bite, the amount of time you have to get your case filed is dependent on the California personal injury statute of limitations under California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1. Here, up to two years can pass before this deadline expires.
However, you must also remember that insurance claims have deadlines as well. Depending on the insurance company, you may have as few as 48 hours to file your claim. Failure to file your lawsuit or insurance claim before time runs out means you will lose out on opportunities to access the financial compensation that is rightfully yours. Thankfully, when you have a personal injury lawyer working on your case, you do not need to worry about the statute of limitations impacting your ability to pursue justice.
Should I give the insurance adjuster my statement?
It is never a good idea to give the insurance adjuster a statement. Anything you say to the insurance company is likely to be manipulated or used against you. Remember, the insurance company is for-profit. They only make money by paying out as little as possible and insurance claims.
Even if the insurance company claims to be “on your side,” they are not. They will always prioritize their financial interests above yours. For this reason, you should have your dog bite attorney provide the insurance company with the information they need to process your claim. Your lawyer can answer any questions they may have and make sure they have the facts to get your insurance claim approved as swiftly as possible.
Does insurance exclude certain dog breeds from coverage?
Certain insurance companies do exclude specific dog breeds from coverage. Even if a dog owner has homeowner’s insurance coverage, if they did not read the fine print, this insurance coverage may not cover their breed of dog. Some of the most common dog breeds excluded from insurance coverage include:
- German shepherds
- Alaskan malamutes
- Pit bulls
- Wolf-dog hybrids
- Doberman pinschers
Connect With an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer in California Today
Dog bites are some of the most terrifying attacks a person can experience. If you or your child suffer debilitating injuries and emotional trauma related to the attack, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Holding the dog’s owner accountable for their recklessness is our top priority. In doing so, we could access the funds you need to cover your expenses and ensure you are compensated fairly for your mental anguish, physical injuries, and financial losses.
When you are ready to take action against the dog’s owner but are unsure of where to get started, reach out to a compassionate and dedicated California dog bite attorney at Moody Law. Our firm proudly offers free consultations to dog bite victims throughout the state of California. Take advantage of this opportunity when you complete our online contact form or call our office to start working on your case as soon as today.