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Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend and for good reason. Dogs are loyal companions and lovable family pets in households throughout Bakersfield, from Laurel Glen to Alta Vista. Unfortunately, dogs also bite, and when they do, can cause devastating pain, significant medical bills, and traumatizing life-long injuries that can forever change a dog bite victim’s life.
Victims of Bakersfield dog bites deserve compensation for the injuries and losses they have sustained. The dog bite injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys can help. We represent dog bite victims throughout Southern California in lawsuits and other legal actions aimed at securing payment for dog bite-related injuries and losses. Contact us today to learn about how we may help you.
Gomez Trial Attorneys is an award-winning trial lawyer firm. We represent clients in Bakersfield and throughout the Central Valley.
For over fifteen years, our team of skilled trial lawyers has fought to secure maximum compensation for victims of personal injuries, including dog bites. In that time we have established an impressive track record of success on behalf of our clients, obtaining over $750 million in jury verdicts, judgments, and out-of-court settlements to assist them in recovering their health and rebuilding their lives.
Of course, we cannot guarantee that every case we take will achieve a favorable outcome. However, our clients do rest easier knowing that they have a team of lawyers on their side who possess the skill, knowlegde, and resources to get them the money they need and deserve.
Like most states, the California legislature has enacted statutes addressing who has liability when a dog bites someone, and California courts have decided cases that add further detail and context to those laws. In addition, the City of Bakersfield has enacted its own ordinances that supplement state law by setting rules about dog ownership, control, and conduct within the city limits.
Here is an overview of the laws that typically apply in a Bakersfield dog bite case.
California law imposes strict liability on dog owners for dog bites. This means dog owners must pay for the damages caused when their dogs bite someone, regardless of the reasonableness of their actions in keeping their dogs, and regardless of whether the dog had ever previously demonstrated aggressive or vicious tendencies.
Simply put, if a dog bites you in Bakersfield and causes injuries, then the owner owes damages to compensate you, so long as:
The strict liability law above applies only to injuries and damages caused by a dog bite. Of course, a dog can harm a human in an attack even without biting. In those cases, however, dog owners do not have strict liability under California law, but will instead owe damages to the victim if the attack happened, at least in part, because of the dog owner’s unreasonable actions or failure to act (in other words, if the owner was negligent).
For example, a dog owner would typically face liability for an unprovoked dog attack against a victim on public property, even if the dog did not bite, if the owner violated a local leash law or other animal control law in connection with the attack occurring.
The strict liability law above also only applies to dog owners. However, that does not mean owners are the only ones who might owe damages for injuries suffered from a dog bite or attack.
Other individuals, such as property owners, businesses, or even dog walkers, may also have liability to victims for injuries caused by a dog bite or attack, if their unreasonable actions, or failures to act, contribute to the cause of the bite or attack, and the resulting injuries. For example, a Bakersfield restaurant that allows patrons to bring their dogs into an outdoor dining area might face liability if its staff allowed an aggressive dog to remain on the premises, and the dog bit someone.
Bakersfield city ordinances require dog owners and dog bite victims to report bites immediately to the City of Bakersfield Animal Control unit. An animal control officer will place the dog under quarantine so that it can be monitored for any indication that it has been exposed to rabies or any other disease that represents a threat to public health.
A dog bite in Bakersfield can inflict serious injuries, both from the bite itself and from trauma precipitated by the bite (such as in the example above of falling from a ladder when a dog bite causes you to lose your balance).
Gomez Trial Attorneys represent clients who suffered a wide array of serious injuries in preventable accidents and incidents like dog bites.
We can help Bakersfield dog bite victims obtain compensation for common injuries such as:
One thing to note about dog bite injuries is they can have a disproportionately severe effect on child victims. By some estimates, dog bites constitute a more significant health problem for children than whooping cough, mumps, and measles combined. They are also more common than childhood injuries involving playground injuries, mopeds, ATVs, skateboards, and bike accidents.
Usually, the most common victims of a dog bite incident are boys aged five to nine years old. Children often suffer dog bite injuries to the neck, head, and face, resulting in potentially fatal or catastrophic wounds, and disfiguring scars.
A dog bite incident can feel overwhelming and stressful, but it is important to understand that the actions you take in its aftermath are not only critical to your health and safety, but also your legal and financial rights. In the event of a dog bite in Bakersfield that affects you or a loved one, consider taking these steps.
Depending on the severity of the dog bite, you may need to seek emergency medical attention immediately. If this is the situation you or a loved one are in, you should dial 911 to summon emergency responders and notify authorities of the bite.
Even if the dog bite injury does not require emergency treatment, it is still a good idea to seek medical care for any bite that breaks the skin. Dog bite wounds pose a risk of infection and can leave disfiguring scars. Seek medical treatment as soon as you can.
As required by Bakersfield ordinances, report the bite right away to Animal Control, so that an animal control officer can quarantine the dog as a precaution against potential rabies exposure.
Identifying the dog’s owner is critical not only to help you obtain the compensation you need, but also to verify that the dog received its required vaccinations. Bakersfield ordinances require dog owners to license and tag their dogs, so if you do not know who the owner is, you can obtain that information from Animal Control. We can help you do this.
If possible and safe to do so, take photos or videos of the dog that bit you, and gather any other information available about its breed, size, color, and name.
It may also help to take periodic photos of the dog bite injuries you suffered. Visual evidence of an injury can serve as a powerful tool in securing compensation from dog owners, insurance companies, and others.
If there were others at the scene who saw what happened, make sure you get their names and contact information, so that your lawyer can follow up with them and ask them about what they saw. Witness statements can also serve as useful evidence in obtaining payment for the harm you suffered.
The sooner you contact a skilled Bakersfield dog bite attorney, the better your chances of securing the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. In contrast, waiting to talk to a lawyer can make your case more difficult to prove and may, if you wait too long, result in the loss of your rights to compensation altogether.
Victims of Bakersfield dog bites seek our help at Gomez Trial Attorneys because they know they should receive compensation for the harm they suffered. However, they do not always know exactly what we can do for them. Here’s an overview.
Most fundamentally, we can help dog bite victims take the legal action necessary to secure maximum compensation for their injuries and losses. The specific steps we take on behalf of victims to achieve that result may vary from case to case.
However, in general, we often:
To find out how Gomez Trial Attorneys may help you after a Bakersfield dog bite injures you or a loved one, contact us to speak for free with an experienced member of our team.
In the aftermath of a Bakersfield dog bite incident, victims and their family members (especially parents of young children) have lots of questions about their rights. Answers to some common questions are below.
For answers to specific questions you may have about a Bakersfield dog bite injury you or a loved one suffered, contact us today.
The only thing worse than suffering a dog bite injury is not having the money or the insurance to get the injury checked out by a doctor. Fortunately, in California, there are things you can do to get the medical treatment you need.
First, depending on your income, you may be able to apply for emergency Medi-Cal to cover your emergency health care treatment.
But, if you do not have health insurance or the funds to get examined by a medical professional, you can try to find a physician who is willing to work with you on a medical lien basis. Medical liens sometimes enable individuals to obtain medical care from a health care provider on credit against an eventual award of money damages. In other words, it’s an agreement that medical bills will get paid from any settlement or judgment the dog bite victim receives.
The dog bite lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys can often assist bite victims in arranging a medical lien with a health care provider. If you find yourself in that situation, then we urge you to contact a skilled attorney, like a member of our team, right away, so that your medical needs do not go unmet.
Dog owners and others facing liability for a dog bite will often raise arguments for why they should not have to pay damages to the victim. Lawyers call these arguments defenses. Generally speaking, the strict dog bite liability statute for dog owners in California leaves them very little wiggle room to get out of paying damages.
However, a dog owner might argue:
At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we urge anyone harmed by a dog bite in Bakersfield to contact us for a free consultation. Never assume that your own actions bar you from recovering damages. Instead, consult an experienced lawyer who can explain your rights.
No. You have a legal obligation under Bakersfield ordinances to report the bite, but your failure to do so does not mean that you necessarily lose your rights to compensation. For one thing, the dog owner also owes a duty to report the bite, so it might not matter that you forgot to make a report. Even if you both failed to report, you can still assert your rights.
That’s not to say you should ignore the rules. We encourage you to report the bite immediately because it protects you and others from rabies and other dangers. If you need help, a skilled lawyer can always assist you in making that report.
No. Reporting a dog bite in Bakersfield does not automatically result in the dog being destroyed. It only means the dog will be subject to a quarantine period to make sure it has not exposed you to rabies or other dangerous pathogens.
Under Bakersfield animal ordinances, destroying a biting dog usually only happens if:
Dogs bite all the time, usually for reasons that are natural for dogs and that do not necessarily reflect that the dog is dangerous to others. You can rest assured that your right to receive compensation for a Bakersfield dog bite does not come at the cost of the dog’s life.
Chances are high that one or more insurance policies may cover your dog bite injuries.
Here are some common insurance coverages that can apply.
The team at Gomez Trial Attorneys has years of experience assisting dog bite victims in securing payment from insurance policies for dog bite injuries.
Every Bakersfield dog bite case differs. In general, however, a lawsuit for damages may demand compensation for:
Economic damages, which consist of financial losses that result from a dog bite, including:
Non-economic damages, which consist of non-monetary harm a dog bite victim suffers, such as:
Bakersfield courts may also award exemplary (or punitive) damages in cases where clear and convincing evidence demonstrates that the at-fault party, such as the dog owner, acted with malice, fraud, or oppression in causing, or failing to prevent, the dog bite. This is a high standard, which means that courts only award exemplary damages in the most extreme cases.
No. California law does not impose damages caps in dog bite lawsuits. This means that a Bakersfield court or jury can award the dog bite victim as much compensation and punitive damages as they believe are just and necessary.
The value of a dog bite claim in Bakersfield depends on many factors.
First, the amount of money you can demand as damages typically depends on the severity of your dog bite injuries and their impact on your life. The more severe your injuries and the more significant effects of such, the larger your medical bills, the more time you miss from work, and the greater your pain and suffering, are all core components considered in most damages awards.
Next, the value of your dog bite claim can depend on the strength of the case your lawyer makes on your behalf. The more compelling the evidence, and the more convincing the arguments your lawyer can present, the higher the probability of you recovering maximum damages through a settlement, judgment, or jury award.
Finally, the financial outcome of your case can depend on the amount of money available with which to pay you. Payment for damages usually comes from insurance policies or out of the at-fault party’s pocket, so any limits that exist on either of those sources of payment can affect the amount you ultimately receive.
To explore the potential value of your Bakersfield dog bite injury claim, contact the team at Gomez Trial Attorneys today to speak for free with a skilled legal professional.
A California law called the statute of limitations sets a maximum amount of time in which an individual can file a lawsuit after suffering injuries from a dog bite. Failure to take legal action before that time expires results in the loss of the right to sue for compensation.
In California, in most cases, the statute of limitations for a dog bite case is two years from the date of the bite if suing a private party, and six months after the bite if suing a public entity, like the police department. However, there are numerous exceptions to this rule that can lengthen or shorten the amount of time an individual has in which to file a case.
To ensure your legal rights remain protected and that you give yourself the best opportunity to obtain the compensation you need, contact an experienced dog bite attorney in Bakersfield as soon as possible after getting bitten. The sooner you have a lawyer advocating for you, the higher the likelihood of securing a favorable financial outcome in your case.
Yes, if the dog owner’s wrongful actions played a role in what happened between the two dogs.
Dog owners in Bakersfield do not face strict liability for dog-on-dog bite injuries. The strict liability statute only applies when a dog bites a human.
Instead, an injury to your dog by another dog is considered an injury to your personal property. You can sue for damages if the owner of the other dog knew the other dog was vicious, encouraged the other dog to attack yours, or otherwise acted in an unreasonable manner in connection with the dog attack, such as by violating a Bakersfield dog safety ordinance.
Gomez Trial Attorneys offers anyone who has suffered injuries and losses from a Bakersfield dog bite a free consultation with a member of our team. In a consultation, a skilled legal professional can discuss what happened with you, and give you a preliminary read on your potential rights to receive compensation.
We also represent clients in dog bite cases on a contingent fee basis. That means we do not charge up-front fees, nor do we bill by the hour. Instead, we and our client agree to a percentage of any money we recover for our client that we will keep as our fee.
By working on a contingent fee basis, we make our services available to anyone in Bakersfield who needs them. Our clients face no financial risk in hiring us, because we only get paid if our clients get paid.
Do not wait to seek legal assistance after a Bakersfield dog bite injury disrupts your life or the life of a loved one. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys online or call us at 866-TRIAL LAW (866-874-2552) for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney who can answer your questions and help you explore your options.
No Fees Unless We Recover Money On Your Behalf