Get the Results You Deserve with Our Sacramento Dog Bite Attorneys
Dog Bites Can Be Serious and Costly
The United States is a nation of dog lovers. According to the American Humane Society, 62 percent of all families in the United States own at least one pet. While cats, birds, and fish are popular choices, the most common household pet is the dog. About 47 percent of all homes have at least one dog.
Californians enjoy walking their dogs through parks and on the sidewalks, as well as playing with them in their homes and yards. From giant Mastiffs to tiny Chihuahuas, dog owners all have their favorites and defend their breed’s superiority among all others, sometimes vocally!
Dogs have been called “man’s best friend.” There is no doubt that the vast majority of dogs are gentle, loving, and loyal pets who bring a great deal of joy into our lives. However, like any other animal, dogs sometimes have a limited understanding of the things they see and hear around them, and when they feel threatened they may turn aggressive. These defensive instincts may kick in for reasons that are not completely understood. What is clear is that any dog, no matter how gentle, has the capability of biting a human being if the impetus is right. The fact that many dogs go to their graves without ever biting a human being in no way lessens the impact of the fact that all dogs are capable of inflicting damage on people.
Sacramento Dog Owner’s Duty Under California Law
Unlike some states, California does not offer a “one bite” exemption from liability for dog owners. Some states assume that if a dog has never bitten before, the first bite is unexpected and the owner should not be held liable. This means that, in those states, even if you are bitten and severely injured or killed by a dog, the owner would not be held liable.
California takes the opposite approach. In Sacramento, dog owners are responsible for their pets from the moment they take ownership of the animal. Any bad behavior on the part of the dog is grounds for liability and may cause the owner to be sued. This is known as a “strict liability” interpretation and springs from California Civil Code § 3342, which states that an owner is to be held responsible for any damage caused by a dog on his or her own property or in public, unless the victim enters the property illegally. This means that a burglar who is bitten by a dog may not have the right to sue the homeowner, but a person collecting for charity that comes into the yard and is bitten by a dog may be entitled to damages. Veterinarians, trainers, and others who work with dogs are also exempt from the statute and often may not file suit against a dog’s owner in the event of a dog bite injury.
Under California’s dog bite statute, victims in Sacramento have two years from the date of the incident to file an injury claim. If a victim does not file a claim within this window, he or she relinquishes his or her right to pursue compensation for damages.
It is very important to get in touch with an experienced Sacramento dog bite attorney as soon as you can after a dog bite and pursue all the remedies that may be available to you.
How Big Is The Problem?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 4.5 million dog bite incidents occur in the United States each year. About 800,000 of these bites require medical attention. Dog bite claims cost the insurance industry more than $1 billion annually.
A dog bite can result in significant physical harm. Victims may experience pain, anguish, and terror, as well as physical damage from the bite itself. Unfortunately, some victims ultimately die from dog bites, although smaller and less serious bites are far more common.
Should I Hire a Sacramento Dog Bite Injury Attorney After an Attack?
So the question is often asked, “If my claim is that straightforward, why do I need to hire a dog bite lawyer?” The fact is, however, there are a lot of good reasons why you should hire a Sacramento dog bite injury lawyer after an attack.
Insurance Companies Love to See You Go It Alone
If the person who owns the dog that bit you has home owner’s insurance, the odds are they will want any settlement to be paid through their insurance company. The average settlement pay-out for California dog bite claims in 2011 was $38,500, so most dog owners are going to let their insurance company take the loss.
Once the insurance company gets involved, if they see that the person making the claim does not have legal representation in the form of a good personal injury lawyer, they will, without any question, employ the famous Three D’s of insurers:
- Delay – Insurance companies will drag out the claims process and hold onto their money for as long as humanly possible, leaving you to bear all the costs until they finally decide to settle.
- Deny – Even in perfectly legitimate claims, it is standard practice for insurance companies to deny liability on any number of grounds. They count on the fact that a certain percentage of people who have not obtained the services of a dog bite attorney will simply accept the denial and go away, thereby saving the insurance company huge sums of money. Clearly, this ploy won’t work if someone has a personal injury lawyer working for them.
- Defend – Most people want nothing to do with the inside of a courtroom, and those without legal representation will find the insurance companies far more eager to get to court than those who have a good lawyer working for them. Insurance companies will defend seemingly indefensible cases; then, on the courthouse steps, they may make an offer that is vastly less than the claim is worth, hoping the person will accept it rather than face questions from an aggressive defense attorney in front of a jury of strangers.
Why the Three D’s Don’t Work With a Sacramento Dog Bite Lawyer
Experienced dog bite attorneys are completely familiar with insurance company tactics, and the insurance companies know this. Once someone hires an experienced personal injury lawyer, they have already sent a signal to the insurance company that they are taking the fact that they have been attacked and injured by a dog very seriously.
The facts and figures prove beyond any question that people who have hired an attorney won’t experience the negative effects of the Three D’s. Statistics show that:
- Settlements are not delayed, but are dealt with far more quickly once a personal injury attorney is involved.
- Insurers don’t bother denying liability nearly as often, because they know there’s simply no point. California dog bite attorneys know the law, and the insurers will only ramp up their own costs if they drag things out with ridiculous denials of responsibility.
- Once a dog bite lawyer is involved, the last place the insurance companies want to end up in is the courtroom. Therefore, they make settlement offers that are considerably fairer from the very beginning and will, in the vast majority of cases, settle the claim long before it reaches the courts.
Don’t Be Fooled by the Very Nice Man at the End of the Phone
The first person you’re likely to hear from after you’ve been attacked by a dog is the insurance adjuster. In many cases, they will be very charming, very sympathetic, very understanding of what you’ve gone through and very reassuring that everything will be handled quickly and fairly.
This very nice person will also try to convince you from that first call that you simply don’t need a dog bite attorney, but what must be remembered is that this is a ploy—a highly successful ploy—that insurance companies use to pay out drastically reduced and unfair settlement amounts. Remember, you’re not just dealing with an adjuster. He or she is not the insurance company. There are also people you will never get to speak with who are making decisions on how to keep the settlement amount down to the bare minimum, including:
- The adjuster’s supervisor
- A claims examiner
- The regional manager
- Managers and directors in the corporate head office
None of those people know you, nor are they your friends. Their job is to pay you as little as possible, and the only way to truly protect yourself from the policies and practices designed to swindle you out of your fair compensation is to hire a good, experienced dog bite lawyer.
Dog bite injuries can be horribly traumatic, painful and even life-changing. It’s vitally important that you protect yourself from further financial devastation by getting good legal representation. The sad fact is, no matter how serious you are about your claim, how well you know the law and how intelligent you are, if you don’t retain the services of a hard-working, compassionate and experienced Sacramento dog bite attorney, the insurance company simply won’t take you seriously. They will do everything they can to save their money, which rightfully belongs to you.
Getting You Back on the Road to Recovery
If you have been injured or lost a loved one as a result of a dog attack, the experienced California dog bite attorneys at Demas Law Group can help with your recovery and advise you about your legal options. Contact our offices today.
For more than 20 years, the compassionate Sacramento attorneys at Demas Law Group have helped dog bite victims get the compensation they need to cover damages, such as medical expenses, wages lost during recovery, pain and suffering, and more. Find out what damages you may be entitled to recover in a free case evaluation by calling (916) 444-0100.
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Dog Bite Case
After being bit in the face by a dog and initially choosing the wrong Lawyer, I went to John in desperation. I had very little time to file a lawsuit. John, and forgive the pun, was an absolute pit bull when it came to my case. He really changed my life and I will never be able to thank him enough! I highly recommend John and the entire team at Demas Law Group.
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Why Should You Take Action Immediately?
- The statute of limitations can run out.
- Key pieces of evidence can disappear.
- The sooner you start, the greater your chances will be of securing a full and fair compensation for your injuries. If you wait, complications can arise before you decide to file.