Santa Barbara Dog Bite Lawyer
Vicious Dog Bite Attacks
Although dogs and other animals can make wonderful pets, the fact remains: they are animals capable of wild and unpredictable behavior. Thousands of dog bites and animal attacks occur every year in California, many resulting in serious injuries and even death.
"The most important thing to do after dog attack or following an injury caused by a dog, is to identify and photograph the dog, identify the owner of the dog and get names and contact information of the witnesses to the incident."
- Doug Black
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite or other animal attack, NordstrandBlack PC can help. Contact us online to set up a free consultation, or call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022.
We handle dog bite cases on a contingency fee basis. You don't pay for our services unless you receive compensation for your injuries.
Dog Bite Case Results
- $301,950.00 Arbitration Award - Dog Bite - Scarring - Emotional Injuries
- $78,000 Settlement - Dog Bite - Re-injured Knee
- $65,000 Settlement - Dog Bite - Lacerations and Punctures
∗ Selected cases listed. Every case is different. Past case results are not a guarantee, and similar results may not be obtained in your case. View more case results here.
Dog Bite Injuries - Fear and Pain
A dog bite has the potential to produce severe injuries. Consequently, these injuries often require extensive medical care and rehabilitation. Additionally, those injured often miss work to recover from their wounds. At NordstrandBlack PC, our Santa Barbara dog bite attorneys fight aggressively to get clients compensation for the damages - both economic and non-economic - associated with a dog bite injury.
Dog bites can result in skin punctures, lacerations, nerve damage, disfigurement, crushed bones, and scarring. Many dog bites become infected, which can lead to other health problems. A great number of serious animal attacks cause death, especially when the victim is a child. In addition to physical injuries, many dog bite victims are traumatized by the attack and need psychological assistance to help them work through the trauma.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite?
In California, liability rests on the owner of a dog or whoever is in possession of the dog, such as a professional dog walker or pet care professional. The dog bite laws in California impose strict liability on the dog's owner, which means the owner can be held liable for injuries even if there were no previous harmful actions by the dog. This means that someone cannot try to defend against a civil claim by saying that the dog was always friendly in the past and that the he could not have predicted an attack. No matter what the dog's previous behavior may have been, the owner can be held liable.
One exception to this law is if the dog was a member of law enforcement or the military and the bite occurred while in service. Someone cannot sue the police or the military in California for dog bites that occur during a legal arrest. It is also important to note that the dog bite must happen in a public space or while the victim was legally on the dog owner’s property. A dog bite that occurs due to the victim trespassing may be but is not typically grounds for a civil claim by the victim.
What Kinds of Compensation Can I Receive after a Dog Bite?
The compensation a dog-bite victim can be awarded depends a great deal on the specific details of the case. In general, you can typically pursue an award to cover medical and future medical expenses, including necessary reconstructive surgery and psychological therapy. You may also be able to claim lost work and future lost wages due to your injuries, and additional awards as a punitive measure against the negligent dog owner. In extreme cases of negligence, there may also be criminal charges against the dog's owner, which can help strengthen any civil claim you might make.
In California, damages in a dog-bite case can be diminished based on any degree of negligence the victim may have shown in the situation. For example, if a dog is notably distressed and acting aggressive, but someone approaches the dog without good reason and is bitten, he or she might be seen as acting negligently. Because the victim's behavior contributed to the dog bite, the damages awarded to him or her may be reduced.
What If a Child Was Bitten?
In general, dog attacks on children are treated in much the same way as on adults, with a few important exceptions. For one thing, due to the smaller size of children, an attack by a dog can be far more severe and have devastating consequences. Additional medical care may be necessary, and there can be long-term effects including emotional trauma and even disability. Immediate medical care should be sought, of course, but additional psychological help and therapy may be needed.
The Provocation Defense
A "provocation" defense is often used or attempted in the case of a dog bite - saying that the victim caused the dog to attack. In general, this defense is only effective if the dog's owner can prove provocation such as direct physical violence. Most courts require that provocation meet the same standard for a dog attack as it would for a person to use violence to protect him or herself. Verbal taunting and similar actions are not considered true provocation in a dog-bite case. This is especially noteworthy because the provocation defense cannot be used in cases where the victim is a child under the age of 5 or a child who was following the instructions of his or her parents.
How We Can Help Victims in Santa Barbara and Southern California
If you or a loved one has been injured due to an attack by a pit bull, Rottweiler, or other breed or animal, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after seeking medical attention.
At NordstrandBlack PC, our Santa Barbara injury lawyers have handled numerous dog attack cases. We know that all dogs, even seemingly gentle or friendly ones, have the potential to be dangerous and destructive. We are committed to holding owners responsible for the actions of their pets.
To schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney, contact Renée J. Nordstrand online or call us at (805) 962-2022.
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