San Bernardino Dog Bite Injury Lawyers
San Bernardino has many public green spaces, parks, and residential areas for residents to enjoy. Many people jog and walk in these areas—sometimes with their pets. However, dog attack incidents may occur when dog owners do not watch their pets or when they allow their dogs to roam at large in these areas.
When a dangerous dog bites someone, they may suffer severe injuries and experience ongoing pain for the rest of their lives. Elderly individuals and children are especially susceptible to dog attacks, bites, and other injuries.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a recent dog attack, you can file a legal claim against the dog owner or their insurance company. In addition to seeking immediate medical treatment after a dog attack, you should retain a skilled dog bite attorney to represent you throughout your case.
The experienced San Bernardino dog bite injury lawyers at Bentley & More LLP can help you file a personal injury claim with the dog owner’s insurance company (usually via a homeowner’s insurance policy) and pursue the fair compensation you deserve. If the insurance company refuses to offer you the monetary damages you need for your injuries, you can file a lawsuit against the dog owner and, if necessary, take your case to a jury trial.
No matter what you decide, our legal team will be by your side, advocating for you every step of the way. We have a strong track record of success in settling and litigating personal injury claims, including those involving severe dog bites.
Special note for other law firms: Our experienced legal team represents accident victims who suffer catastrophic injuries in dog bite incidents and other serious accidents. We also accept referrals from other law firms on a regular basis. Please call us if you have a serious injury matter; we have the experience and resources to help you.
Dangerous Dog Breeds in San Bernardino
Although any dog can attack or bite a person, some dog breeds are statistically more vicious than others.
Some of the most dangerous dog breeds include:
- Great Danes
- German shepherds
- Doberman pinschers
- Pit bulls
- Siberian huskies
If you suffered injuries in a dog bite incident that one of these dog breeds caused, you are not alone. The experienced San Bernardino dog bite injury attorneys at Bentley & More LLP can help you pursue legal action against the dog owner or their insurance company and recover the total monetary damages you need for your dog bite injuries.
Prevailing Dog Bite Laws in California
California utilizes several dog bite laws to protect bite victims and help them pursue the monetary recovery they deserve for their injuries. First, the dog bite statute in California is a strict liability law. This means you can hold a dog owner responsible for the injuries that their pet causes without regard to fault.
Therefore, for a dog owner to be liable, their dog need not have bitten anyone previously or shown dangerous propensities in the past. So long as the bite victim is lawfully on the premises, a bite victim can take legal action against the dog owner.
In addition to the dog bite statute in California, bite victims can also pursue a negligence claim against the dog owner for allowing their dog to roam around at large or for failing to take the necessary precautions to prevent the dog attack from occurring.
The experienced San Bernardino dog bite injury lawyers at Bentley & More LLP can determine if you’re eligible to pursue a strict liability claim or negligence claim against a dog owner. We can file the necessary claim or lawsuit and seek the monetary recovery you deserve for your injuries.
Proving a Dog Bite Claim
Pursuant to the dog bite statute, a bite victim must show:
- That the defendant (the person whom the bite victim is suing) was the true owner of the dog that bit them
- That the dog bite incident occurred during a time when the victim was lawfully present on someone’s private property—or in a public place
- That they suffered one or more physical injuries
- That the dog bite incident was a substantial cause (but not necessarily the sole cause) of their claimed injury or injuries
To recover monetary compensation under a negligence theory of liability, the bite victim must show that the dog owner negligently failed to prevent the dog from attacking or biting them and that the owner either knew or should have known about the dog’s vicious propensities.
Proving the legal elements of a dog bite claim is sometimes an uphill battle, especially in cases where the bite victim is alleging dog owner negligence. Insurance companies may also dispute medical causation in a dog bite case.
For example, the insurance company may allege that the bite victim’s injuries were not all that serious—or that the injuries resulted from a pre-existing condition.
In those circumstances, the experienced San Bernardino dog bite injury lawyers at Bentley & More LLP can retain a medical expert to testify in your case and causally relate your injuries to the dog bite incident. We can also help you satisfy the remaining legal elements of your claim to recover the monetary damages you need.
Filing a Legal Claim Against a Dog Owner
To recover monetary compensation from a dog owner’s insurance company, the first step in the process is to file a legal claim.
Our San Bernardino dog bite lawyers can gather various documents in support of the claim, including:
- Copies of the bite victim’s medical records and bills
- Copies of any incident reports
- Pertinent animal control records
- Photographs of the bite victim’s injuries (if any)
- Lost income documents from the bite victim’s employer
- Statements from witnesses who were present at the dog attack incident
The experienced legal team at Bentley & More LLP can assemble these documents for you and draft a settlement demand letter for the insurance company adjuster’s review. A settlement demand letter makes a monetary demand for settlement within the available insurance policy limits. This settlement demand acts as an opening number for negotiations.
Once the insurance company receives this information, a settlement adjuster may contact us with an initial settlement offer. In many dog bite claims, initial settlement offers are meager and are far less than the actual value of the claim.
Homeowner insurance companies, like all other insurers, are not in the business of paying out large financial settlements to dog bite victims. Instead, they are only interested in their bottom line and will do everything possible to minimize the settlement compensation they pay out to a victim.
Our legal team can zealously negotiate with insurance company adjusters on your behalf, pointing out the seriousness of your case and highlighting the extent of your injuries. If the insurance company adjuster still refuses to place a favorable monetary settlement offer on the table, we always have the option of filing a lawsuit in the California courts.
By filing a lawsuit in the court system, the litigation process begins. However, just because litigation starts does not mean that settlement negotiations must stop. In fact, the majority of dog bite cases settle at some time during the litigation stage of a case. Once the case is in litigation, the court will become involved. It may set various dates and deadlines, including a deadline for discovery, along with dates for a settlement conference and/or jury trial.
Our knowledgeable and compassionate legal team can assist you throughout the litigation process and represent you in all courtroom proceedings. At those proceedings, we will aggressively fight for your legal interests and introduce probative evidence on your behalf in support of a favorable monetary award.
Recovering Monetary Damages for Dog Bite Injuries
Victims of dog bites and attacks often suffer serious injuries, some of which are permanent and lifelong. The injuries that a dog bite victim suffers will vary from case to case and depend largely on the dog breed, the circumstances surrounding the attack, and whether the victim fell to the ground during the incident.
Generally speaking, the more serious a bite victim’s injuries, the higher the monetary compensation they may recover.
Other important factors that can weigh on a victim’s total monetary damages include:
- The nature and extent of the injuries
- The type of medical treatment that the bite victim underwent
- The cost of that medical treatment
As part of a dog bite injury claim or lawsuit, a victim can recover monetary compensation:
- Related medical expenses, both past and future
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Permanent disfigurement from scarring
- Embarrassment and humiliation
- Emotional distress
- Loss of use of a body part
- Loss of life and enjoyment
Our legal team will help you maximize these monetary damages by aggressively negotiating with insurance company adjusters on your behalf or by introducing the proper evidence at a courtroom jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.
Contact a San Bernardino Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a person you care about sustained injuries in a recent dog bite incident, you should obtain the legal help you need sooner rather than later.
Dog bite incidents fall within the California personal injury statute of limitations. Under this statute, dog bite victims and other accident victims only have two years from the incident date to file a lawsuit seeking monetary recovery. Absent exceptional circumstances, a dog bite victim who fails to file their lawsuit within two years will not be eligible to recover any monetary damages for their injuries.
At Bentley & More LLP, our skilled legal team can help you take the appropriate legal actions to recover the monetary damages you deserve. Reach out to a San Bernardino personal injury lawyer.
First, we can file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf, well within the two-year statute of limitations. After filing suit, we can assist you during the discovery process, engage in ongoing settlement negotiations with the insurance company, and, if necessary, take your case to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing. We will do everything possible to maximize your total monetary award in your case.
For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a San Bernardino dog bite injury lawyer, please call us at (949) 617-0938 or contact us online. Do not wait to begin the legal process of seeking compensation for your dog bite injuries.
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Bentley & More LLP – San Bernardino Office
Phone: (949) 617-0938