Q and A on Dog Bite Law
Q: I was bitten by a dog at a friend’s house. The dog attacked me by my arms with his teeth and severely bit me. I was hospitalized for days, which included cleaning and daily inspecting my dog attack wounds. I had to be on numerous medications for infection and pain. Do I have a potential dog bite lawsuit?
A: Yes, you certainly do! California dog bite law requires that an owner be responsible for their dog’s actions. As long as you were legally on the property (invited or expected by the owner) you have the4 right to assume that you will be safe from being attacked by a dog.
Q: Does my friend, the owner of the dog, have to pay for my medical expenses?
A: More than likely, the pet owner’s homeowner’s insurance will be the one to pay for your medical expenses. You are also entitled to receive compensation for pain and suffering. In addition, you may be entitled to be compensated for any loss of wages due to the time you were in the hospital and afterwards if you were not able to work.
Q: My Dr. says I may need plastic surgery. It’s not clear right now how much surgery may be needed. Is there any hurry to settling?
A: No, in fact, do not settle too quickly. You may be in need of ongoing medical care in addition to plastic surgery, or it may be necessary for you to have rehabilitative care or physical therapy which may not be clear from the start. Another common thing, particularly in a serious attack by a dog or for young children in particular, is to receive counseling for the emotional trauma inflicted by the dog attack.
Q: Do I really need a dog bite lawyer, or can I work this out with my friend?
A: We all would like to think that our friends would do the right thing and have our best interests at heart, but things don’t always turn out that way. You may agree to something that will not cover all of your current or future expenses, and even if you agree, maybe your friend balks down the road. You really do need an experienced dog bite lawyer, one who is fully versed in dog bite law to advise you properly. A quick settlement may make your friend feel better, but not be in your best interest.