When you have been bitten by a dog in Riverside, California law will make the dog owner legally responsible in most circumstances. When it comes to dog bites, California is a strict liability state. This means that the owner must pay for the damage that their dog causes when biting regardless of whether the animal has bitten anyone before.
Why You Need a Lawyer for Your Dog Bite Claim
Even though legal responsibility seems clear, you need a lawyer in a Riverside dog bite case for several reasons. First, the dog owner may argue that your injury came from something other than a bite. California law only declares strict liability for a bite and not other dog-related injuries, such as a slip and fall when trying to get away from a threatening dog. You could still be entitled to compensation under other theories, but you would need to prove negligence.
Then, the dog owner could try to argue that you were responsible for your own injuries. They may argue that you provoked the dog, even though approaching or trying to play with a dog is not considered provocation. Nonetheless, you may need to defend your own actions.
Finally, dog bite claims involve an insurance company. Pets are covered under a homeowners’ insurance policy. Even when there is no question about liability, the amount of your compensation could be in dispute. Insurance companies make it notoriously tough for you to get the money that you legally deserve.
What Your Dog Bite Settlement Includes
While the average dog bite settlement reaches near $45,000, this does not mean that the insurance company offers all of this at first. They may make a very low opening offer. You will likely need to reject one or more settlement offers before you arrive at a more fair settlement. Your settlement must include compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Temporary or permanent disfigurement
In some cases, the damages may be far greater than the average settlement. This is because most dog bite victims are children, and these animals tend to attack young people in the head and neck areas. In that case, getting the right compensation is vital because the dog bite victim could face numerous surgeries and possibly permanent disfigurement. If the insurance company will not make a fair and reasonable settlement offer, you may need to file a lawsuit and take your case to a jury.
It is vital to have a dog bite attorney when you are dealing with the insurance company. You may be asked to sign away your rights or even tricked into saying something that undermines your case. Having an experienced attorney on your side could keep that from happening to you as the insurance company will be forced to take you more seriously.
Contact a Riverside Dog Bite Lawyer for Help
If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog, contact the Riverside personal injury attorneys at The JLF Law Firm. Contact us online or call us today at (951) 476-2373 to schedule a no-risk consultation.
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