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Burlingame, CA Dog Bite Attorney

Mean Dog

 Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Victims of Dog Bites and Attacks in the San Francisco Bay Area

A dog that would never harm its owner could viciously bite a stranger when least expected. Dogs have protective instincts which can trigger a biting response. While some dogs appear violent by nature, these are often avoided by strangers and bites often happen during interactions when people approach dogs who appear docile. In either circumstance, an injured victim may be entitled to compensation and it is important to obtain legal representation to deal with the intricacies in this area of law.

If you or a loved one is bitten or mauled by a dog, the victim should receive urgent medical care. It is also very important to obtain the necessary identifying information about the dog, including its breed, owner, and if different, the dog handler. Contact information for any witnesses should also be obtained at the scene. If possible, take a photograph of the dog and even the dog's handler. A report should also be generated for the incident with the animal control authority for the area where the incident occurred.

In California, dog bites are covered by Civil Code section 3342. The owner of a dog is strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog's bite. Therefore there can be important legal distinctions between a "bite" and other injury producing incidents such as scratching, mauling, or being knocked over. A dog owner could still be negligent in such circumstances but their legal responsibility will be analyzed on a case by case basis. The location of the incident, such as whether it occurred on the sidewalk, at a park, or at someone's home, is an additional consideration. In any circumstance, the actions of the victim, such as whether they provoked the dog, will be scrutinized. Also, a dog handler could be negligent if the dog became hostile and they failed to take reasonable steps to protect others from harm before the injury occurred. Or, for example, a dog handler was walking a dog without a leash in violation of local ordinance. 

In general, dog bite claims are made with the dog owner's homeowners insurance which usually covers these types of personal injury claims. So even if injured by the dog of someone you know you may still be able to make a claim with their insurance company as opposed to pursuing their personal assets. Keep in mind this is why they buy insurance so you should not feel obligated to save the insurance company the money they should be paying for your injury. If the dog owner is a stranger they may not readily provide their homeowners insurance information. Therefore hiring an experienced attorney such as Mr. Shapiro may be needed in order to work on obtaining such information just so the claims process can get started.

Dog bites can also result in unique injuries such as puncture wounds and scars. These injuries often require cleaning, antiseptics, ointments, and regular bandaging during the acute phase. It is also very important to take pictures of any marks on the victim's body as soon as possible before they heal or fade. After the initial care, it can take six months or longer before a plastic surgeon can be consulted to determine the necessity and cost of a surgical procedure. It is important to obtain all the necessary information regarding the various categories of compensatory damages before settlement is considered. The legal path appropriate for a case can often depend on the course of treatment necessitated by the injury.

If you or a loved one has been bitten or mauled by a dog, you owe it to yourself or your loved one to have the matter reviewed by an experienced attorney to determine if a legal case can and should be brought against the dog's owner or handler. For a free consultation, contact Mr. Shapiro to discuss your situation. You can call him at 650-274-0180 or fill out the online form.



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851 Burlway Road, Suite 500, Burlingame, CA 94010
| Phone: 650-274-0180

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