Dog bite injuries can happen suddenly and unexpectedly, particularly when the dog belongs to a family member or a friend. In many cases, dog bite injuries can be quite serious, and many can even prove fatal. Regardless of whether you know the dog owner, it is important to learn more about seeking compensation to cover your medical bills related to the dog attack, along with lost wages due to your inability to work.
As you are seeking information about dog bite compensation, you may be wondering if you are eligible to file a lawsuit after getting bitten by a dog in Escondido. The answer to that inquiry depends on a handful of other factors. The following are some questions that are designed to help you understand whether or not you may be eligible to file a dog bite lawsuit.
Were You Lawfully on the Property When the Dog Bite Occurred?
The first question you will want to ask yourself is whether you were lawfully on the property where the dog bite happened. For example, did the dog bite occur on public property (such as a park), or on the property of a friend or family member, or on the property of an outdoor café? As long as you were lawfully on the property when you were bitten—and you were not trespassing, to be clear—you may be able to file a lawsuit.
Did You Provoke the Dog?
If you were on the property lawfully, the next question to consider is whether you did anything to provoke the dog before it bit you. While provocation will not prevent you from filing a claim, it may prevent you from winning the lawsuit. Indeed, if you provoked the dog, the dog owner may be able to raise your provocation as a valid defense. For example, did you threaten the dog’s owner with violence, or did you attempt to strike the dog? As long as you did not provoke the dog, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries from the dog owner.
Has the Statute of Limitations Run Out?
Finally, are you still within the time window in which California law allows you to file a lawsuit? Under California law, dog bite cases and most other types of personal injury claims must be filed within two years from the date of the injury. In the case of a dog bite, your lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date the dog bit you. As long as that time window has not closed, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to seek financial compensation.
To be clear, according to California dog bite law, you do not need to prove that the dog had a history of biting other people or that it had shown other vicious behavior in the past. While some states do require injured plaintiffs to prove that a dog owner knew or should have known that the dog might bite, California is a strict liability state. Accordingly, simply owning the dog—assuming that the injured person was lawfully on the property and did not provoke the animal—is enough for that dog owner to be liable.
Contact an Escondido Dog Bite Lawyer
If you or someone you love sustained serious injuries after being bitten by a dog, it is critical to seek advice from an experienced Escondido personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You may be eligible to file a claim for financial compensation. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can assist you with your case.
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