Orange County Dog Bite Lawyer

Our attorneys have been assisting the Orange County and Southern California communities for over 40 years.

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Orange County Dog Bite Lawyer

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Dogs are not always “man’s best friend”. It is estimated that an average of 800,000 dog bite attacks occurs each year in the United States that are reported and require medical treatment. Unfortunately, many of those victims are children. The Law Offices of DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo have provided help to victims of dog attacks in Southern California since 1979. We know how scary they can be, and how to ensure you get the timely and comprehensive legal help you deserve. An Orange County dog bite attorney is here when you need one.

A Personal Injury Firm You Can Trust

One of the many pillars that our firm has been built on for over thirty years is that it is important to treat each and every client as if they were a member of our own family. We will walk with you all the way and be mindful of your long-term health and financial stability. If you were to call the Better Business Bureau, you would find that we have consistently been awarded their highest rating: an A+.

If you want justice, want to find out how to file a dog bite lawsuit claim, or want to learn about the merits of your case, just call us at (714) 783-2205. We offer everyone who calls a free case evaluation so you know where your case stands and what your legal options are.

Strict Liability for Dog Bites

California is a strict liability state. This means that dog owners are liable for any injuries caused by their pets regardless of where the attack took place. This includes dogs that have no history of biting or being vicious. The only issue that needs to be resolved is the number of damages. If you or a loved one suffered a dog bite injury,  the attorneys at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo can help.

We should point out that the strict liability dog by law in California applies only to injuries caused by the dog’s bite. This does not include any other types of injuries the dog may cause as a result of scratching, jumping, or running into a person. However, injury victims may still be able to recover compensation in these circumstances, just not through the strict liability route. In these cases, the injury victim will have to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent in some way.

Trauma Associated With Dog Attacks

Being bitten by a dog can be a traumatic and painful experience. Some children never get over dog attacks and continue to fear dogs. Many of the results of dog bites end up being serious injuries with long-term care. Common dog bite injuries include:

At worst, fatal dog attacks can lead to a wrongful death.

orange county dog bite lawyer

What To Do After You Are Bitten by a Dog

If you or a loved one has been bitten and don’t think the bite is serious, you should still seek medical attention. Dogs can pass on diseases, including rabies, other types of infections, cause permanent scarring and other complications. If you have been bitten you should:

  • Seek medical attention, if necessary
  • Contact your insurance company
  • Contact the owner to inquire about vaccination records
  • Write down the owner’s information and your account of what happened
  • Take pictures of the scene and wounds sustained

California Dog Bite Civil Code

California is one state that is serious about dog bites and has very strict civil codes written for them. Two specific examples are California Civil Code 3342 and California Civil Code 3342.5. These codes point out that the owner of the dog is liable even if the dog bites someone in their own private property and regardless of the dog’s history of viciousness or biting. In other words, dogs do not get a warning or a pass at all.

Dog owners have a duty to take all the steps needed to prevent the dog from causing injuries. Civil code 3342.5 goes further by saying that any dog that causes harm once or twice can come under review by any law enforcement agency or municipality to determine the condition of the dog or whether it should be removed from its current environment or owner.

What Are The Most Common Dog Breeds That Bite?

Though every dog could bite someone, the dogs that statistically cause more bites than others include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Presa Canarios. Be sure to also know that any dog that has a mix of the aforementioned breeds will also be more likely to bite. One other important statistic to remember is that canine bites often occur on the owner’s property and can happen to a friend or relative just the same to a stranger or intruder. Whether you were attacked on public property or at a private place, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Types of Compensation Available for a Dog Bite Claim

When a person is bitten by someone else’s dog, it is likely that they will be able to recover some type of compensation. This includes a range of economic and non-economic damages. Often, this compensation will come through an insurance carrier, but it may also come as a result of a personal injury jury verdict.

  • Economic Damages. There are various types of calculable damages Orange County dog bite victims are likely to incur as a result of the initial incident as well as the ongoing recovery process. By using receipts, bills, invoices, and any other documentation, the following types of economic damages can be calculated:
    • Emergency medical bills
    • Any surgical expenses
    • Rehabilitation or physical therapy
    • Lost wage recovery
    • Out-of-pocket household expenses
  • Non-Economic Damages. Dog bite injury victims in Orange County are also likely to sustain various types of non-economic damages, which are more immeasurable than the economic expenses we just mentioned. These types of losses are more intangible and revolve around a victim’s:
    • Physical pain and suffering
    • Emotional and psychological pain and suffering
    • Scarring and disfigurement damages
    • Loss of enjoyment of life damages

There is no set amount of compensation available to dog bite injury victims in Orange County. Rather, the total amount paid in these situations will vary depending on the facts related to each particular situation, particularly the severity of the injury and how long it takes to recover.

Will Insurance Cover My Dog Bite Claim?

The vast majority of injury claims in Orange County are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, including dog bite incidents. In general, an insurance carrier associated with the dog’s owner will be responsible for paying compensation. This usually means the homeowner’s insurance carrier of the dog owner. However, this may also include renter’s insurance if the dog owner is not a homeowner, but rather a renter. Unfortunately, renter’s insurance is not mandatory in California like homeowner’s insurance is for someone who owns their house, so if the dog owner is a renter, recovering compensation could be more challenging.

How Long Do You Have to File a Dog Bite Claim?

Orange County dog bite injury victims should file their claims as promptly as possible. Importantly, the insurance carriers that may be involved in these cases will likely have their own internal metrics related to reporting the incident. If you know that you will be filing a claim with the dog owner’s insurance carrier, you should make sure the claim gets filed as promptly as possible. You may need assistance from an attorney to make sure you get the claim filed properly.

The overall personal injury statute of limitations in California is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means dog bite injury victims in Orange County have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent dog owner. Failing to do so will likely result in the victim becoming unable to recover compensation for their losses.

What if the Dog’s Owner Has No Insurance?

Even though the strict liability dog bite laws in California can make it easier for a claim to proceed, there still remains the question of what happens if the dog’s owner does not have insurance. Where does the dog bite victim turn to, then?

In the event the dog’s owner does not have any homeowners’ or renter’s insurance coverage to file a strict liability claim with, the dog bite victim may have to file a civil personal injury lawsuit directly against the dog owner. Should a claim be successful, this would mean the dog owner has to pay for your damages out of their own assets. However, securing compensation through this route often proves to be more complicated, and we strongly encourage you to speak to a dog bite injury lawyer in Orange County who can help you through this process.

Will You Have to Go to Court?

In some cases, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court to recover full compensation for your losses. When this occurs, you will be going directly after the dog owner’s personal assets for payment. 

Filing a personal injury lawsuit in a dog bite case could be necessary for a variety of reasons. First, if there is no insurance carrier that can pay compensation, such as a homeowner’s insurance carrier or a renter’s insurance carrier, then the only way to recover compensation may be through a civil lawsuit. Additionally, if the insurance carriers refuse to offer a fair settlement or deny the claim altogether, a civil lawsuit may be the only route for recovering the compensation needed to recover. 

Just because a lawsuit gets filed in civil court does not necessarily mean you will have to go to court for your dog bite injury case. Filing a lawsuit starts the discovery process, where information will be exchanged by attorneys for both sides. During this process, it is not uncommon for both sides to continue to negotiate to try and reach a fair settlement, often because information obtained often pushes one side or the other towards a settlement or even to drop the case. Only if the other side refuses to offer a fair settlement or does not pay any compensation will you need to go to a jury trial to make your case.

What Our Lawyers Can Do For You

The lawyers at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo understand that you may be experiencing a significant financial strain and difficult challenges as a result of your accident and injury. In an effort to ease some of that worry, here are a few of the things we can do for your dog bite injury case right now:

  • Ensure you receive immediate and competent medical care
  • Give you peace of mind; we will handle dealing with the insurance companies and all the hassle and paperwork of a trial
  • With our reputation, quality team, and successful case results, we will get your case taken seriously
  • Develop your legal strategy for maximum recovery for types of compensation: medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost income: past, present and future (if your case warrants such payments)
  • We will simply be here for you and your family all the way

Experienced Orange County Dog Bite Attorneys

Dog bite claims can be complex and difficult to navigate. Our law firm has the knowledge and experience to handle dog bite cases and our successful track record proves it.

Our personal injury attorneys in Orange County are committed, compassionate, and will focus on your needs. We are efficient and responsive and will attain the resources needed to effectively represent and protect you. We will take the necessary time to walk you through the entire claims process and research all potential causes, including third party contributions, so that you can start the healing process and get back to what’s important: taking care of yourself and your family.

Orange County Dog Bite Lawyer

Contact Our Dog Bite Attorneys in Orange County Today For a Free Consultation

All initial case evaluations are free. We work on a contingency fee basis — you will not incur any legal fees or costs for our time and assistance unless we do our job and secure you fair compensation. We are well known throughout Southern California as experienced lawyers who go the distance for their clients.

A skilled Orange County dog bite lawyer at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo are available to meet at our Orange County office, your home, or hospital room. You can call us 24 hours a day for a free consultation and legal advice at (714) 783-2205.

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