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San Jose Dog Bite Lawyer

Serious dog bites can happen in the blink of an eye. Dogs can attack with little to no warning, and cause great damage when they do. Children and the elderly are especially at risk of serious to fatal injuries from dog attacks. As the victim of a dog attack in San Jose, you have options. The dog bite injury lawyers at Henshaw Law Office can help you explore them.

California reported the greatest number of dog-bite related fatalities in 2016, with six deaths. Hundreds of other people have to visit California emergency rooms with dog-bite related injuries, such as puncture wounds and lacerations.


Proving a Dog Bite Case in California

Under California law, you have two years from the date of your dog attack to file a personal injury claim for your injuries. However, you will need to collect information to prove a few key factors to collect compensation for your damages.

Liability and Duty

First, you will need to prove where you were at the time of the attack and that you were there lawfully. If the attack occurred in a public place, you can easily prove your lawful presence. If you were in a private place, such as the home of the dog owner, you will need to prove that you were allowed to be there. Some dog owners may try to pass you off as a trespasser to avoid liability. A dog bite attorney in San Jose can investigate your case to prove your lawful presence.

Causation and Damages

Next, you will need to prove that your injuries were from the dog bite alone. Consulting with a medical expert, collecting your medical records, and reviewing other pieces of evidence, such as security footage, can help you prove this claim. The owner may imply that the dog bite did not cause your injuries. In this case, it is imperative that you collect strong evidence.

How a San Jose Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help

Hiring a San Jose dog bite lawyer can help protect you from claims that the dog bite did not cause your injuries or the owner is not liable for the attack. At Henshaw Law Office, our San Jose dog bite attorneys have the resources and network necessary to launch a full-scale investigation into your case.

Types of Damages You Can Recover

Dog bite injuries can result in both physical harm and mental trauma, and recovery can be difficult. As you consider your potential for a claim, know that you can receive compensation for cases of:

To allow you to focus on your recovery, a San Jose dog bite lawyer can help you determine which damages you have suffered to help you build your claim. Your attorney can also fight to ensure you receive rightful compensation to cover any costs associated with your recovery.

Brief Explanation of California’s Dog Bite Laws

Each state abides by its own dog bite laws and statutes. When a dog causes bodily injury or property damage, California Civil Code Section 3342 states if and when the dog’s owner is liable. The law states the dog’s owner will be liable if the bite caused the damages and if the bite happened while the victim was in a public place or lawfully in a private place. Dogs carrying out military or police work are exempt from this law. California’s dog bite law does not apply to cases involving behaviors other than biting on the part of the dog, such as jumping or scratching. However, negligence laws may apply.

California is a strict liability dog bite state. This means that the law will hold the dog’s owner liable for damages relating to a dog bite regardless of whether or not the owner knew or reasonably should have known that the dog was dangerous. Other states obey a “one bite rule,” meaning the owner will only be liable if the dog has bitten someone in the past. No such rule exists in California. If the dog bites someone, the owner will be strictly liable for injuries, unless an exception applies.

Dog bite victims do not have the burden of proof to show that the dog’s owner was negligent in any way to qualify for compensation. The victim must only show that the dog bite occurred, and that he or she was in a public place or lawfully in a private place at the time of the attack. It does not matter whether or not the owner was negligent in holding or controlling the dog. Keep in mind that if your injuries resulted from behavior other than a bite, you will have to prove negligence to be eligible for damage recovery.

California’s Laws on “Dangerous” Dogs

It may be easier to prove your case against a dog’s owner if the State of California has declared the dog in question “dangerous.” Although San Jose does not have any breed-specific laws, state laws do make it an owner’s responsibility to take “reasonable steps to remove any danger of future attacks” when the dog bites someone. There is a separate legal process for controlling “dangerous dogs.” A dangerous dog is one that law enforcement or animal control believes is potentially vicious. If the court rules in agreement, the owner may have to keep the dog indoors or properly secured.

Dogs the courts might deem “dangerous” are those that have exhibited aggressive behavior that forced people to defend themselves on two or more occasions in the past three years; dogs that have bitten someone without provocation; and dogs that have killed or injured domestic animals at least twice in the last three years. You do not have to prove that a dog was dangerous or that the owner was negligent to receive compensation.

What to Do If You’ve Been a Victim of an Animal Attack

If you are a victim of a dog attack, take actions to protect yourself. Put a bag or jacket between you and the dog. If possible, curl into a ball while protecting your ears and neck to avoid further serious injury. Give any wounds immediate medical attention, either by self-care for minor wounds or professional medical care for deep wounds. Major loss of blood, extreme pain, loss of function, and infection are all reasons to seek medical care.

Next, report the dog bite to either the local police department or animal control office. California dog owners are strictly responsible for dog bites that occur due to their negligence or on their property. You will need to prove the injuries were strictly from the dog bite. You will also need to prove you were in public or lawfully on the dog owner’s property for your claim to be valid.

The law automatically considers public officials acting on their duties, such as postmen, as lawfully being on someone else’s property. If you are visiting someone else’s property, keep evidence of your planned visit. A text message or email is valid evidence in proving you were on the property legally. This is important, as some dog owners may claim you were unlawfully on their property to avoid liability.

California law allows up to two years from the time of the incident for you to file a dog bite injury claim. If you are ever uncertain if your situation qualifies for compensation, talk to an experienced San Jose dog bite attorney. In San Jose, call Henshaw Law Office at (408) 599-1305 or go online.

Fatal Dog Bites and Animal Attacks

Losing a loved one due to a dog bite or other animal attack is a terrible experience. Any dog can cause a fatal bite, regardless of circumstances or the animal’s history of past behavior. Dog bites can be particularly dangerous if the victim loses a large amount of blood or the animal has a disease, such as rabies.

Families of people killed by dogs or other animals may be able to recover wrongful death damages. Under California wrongful death law, the deceased’s spouse, partner, and surviving children can file a lawsuit against liable parties for a dog bite case. If no surviving person is available, another relative or person in the line of succession could file the claim. To learn more about filing a wrongful death claim, schedule a free consultation with a San Jose wrongful death attorney at Henshaw Law Office.

Damages from personal injury dog attack cases differ from the damages you can collect in wrongful death lawsuits since the victim is no longer alive. California divides these damages into those payable to the deceased’s estate and those payable to the surviving family members.

You can collect a number of damages for wrongful death claims in California.

Under the California statute of limitations, families of victims of dog bite attacks have two years from the death date to file a wrongful death claim. If you do not file the claim within this time period, you could lose the right to collect damages.

Animal Attacks and Dog Bite Statistics

In the U.S., 4.7 million dog bites occur each year. Almost 800,000 of these bites require medical care, and insurance companies pay over $1 billion for dog bite claims yearly. After a dog bite injury in the Bay Area, talk to one of our San Jose injury attorneys.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, owning a dog increases the chances of suffering a dog bite. Adults without dogs in the home have a much lower risk of dog bites; those with two or more dogs in the household are five times more likely to experience a dog bite.

Children are at a disproportionately higher risk for dog bites than adults. 82% of dog bites treated in an emergency department being on children under fifteen years old. Due to their smaller stature, children are more likely to receive dog bites to the face.

Local health departments and animal control agencies received reports of over 50,000 animal bites in California during 2011. Between 2006 and 2010, domesticated dogs accounted for 77% of reported animal bites. The number of emergency department visits for dog bites increased from almost 35,000 in 2010 to over 38,000 in 2015.

The number of fatal dog injuries per year has increased from 17 on average between 1980 and 1990 to 35 per year between 2006 and 2015.