Statute of Limitations For Dog Bites
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Whether it is a larger dog such as a pit bull or even a smaller dog such as a chihuahua, any breed has the potential to inflict bites on unsuspecting victims. When they do, the results can be devastating physically and emotionally. Even if a small-sized dog is responsible for the bite, the damage can include not only lacerations and severe bleeding, but also torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments in hands and arms. In many cases, injuries such as these require surgery and a prolonged period of physical therapy and rehabilitation. When you or a loved one are bitten, it is vital you hold the owner responsible for their negligence and carelessness by seeking financial compensation for your injuries and other damages. Should you require information regarding the filing of a personal injury case pertaining to a dog bite, speak to a Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Grey Law.
Dog Bite Claims
When filing a dog bite claim, you will need to keep in mind the statute of limitations associated with these cases. In California, injured persons must file their lawsuits within two years from the day they were bitten. However, if the victim was under age 18 when bitten, the statute of limitations will not begin until they turn 18. Afterwards, they also have two years to file their lawsuit. If you have questions about the statute of limitations regarding your case, contact a canine attack lawyer Los Angeles victims trust at Grey Law.
Dog Owner’s Negligence
When filing a dog bite lawsuit, victims should be aware the owner’s negligence will be a major factor in how your case plays out. Since California Civil Code 335.1, which is the state’s dog bite statute, strongly emphasizes strict liability in these cases, your attorney from Grey Law will likely point to the owner’s lack of action in preventing the bite or perhaps the owner’s knowledge that their furry companion was vicious.
Trouble Finding the Owner
Victims may have trouble finding the dog or even its owner after getting attacked. As a result, they often make the mistake of letting too much time expire before filing a lawsuit for their damages. In California, failure to find the dog’s owner is not considered to be a valid excuse for missing the deadline to file your lawsuit. Thus, after speaking with your lawyer, he or she will make every attempt to locate them as quickly as possible.
Failure to Meet the Deadline
Under California law, the statute of limitations is considered an absolute rule of law by the courts. As a result, should you fail to meet the deadline for filing your lawsuit, it will be automatically dismissed. Unless you and your lawyer can prove to the court that the statute of limitations has not expired or has in fact been tolled, the dog’s owner will simply need to have their attorney file a motion stating the statute of limitation has expired in order to have the case dismissed.
Gather Evidence Immediately
Since the clock will begin ticking on your claim the minute you are bitten, start acting as quickly as possible to gather evidence that will be crucial to your case. This should include getting:
- Name of pet
- Type of breed
- The owner’s name and contact information
- Information regarding vaccines for health-risks like rabies
- Location where the dog bite took place
If you are too injured to do this yourself, have a loved one do this for you. Once this information is in your possession, turn it over to your lawyer – who you can rely on in these situations.
Get Medical Treatment
Since dog bites almost always result in serious injuries that take far longer to recover from than most victims realize, never put off seeking medical treatment. If your injuries are severe enough, always call 9-1-1 to get medical personnel to the scene for immediate treatment and transport to a hospital. Yet even if you don’t need paramedics, always go to a hospital ER for assessment and treatment. Also, this will guarantee your injuries are documented in your medical records. Once doctors have verified your injuries by placing them in your medical records, your attorney can use this information when negotiating settlements with insurance companies.
Don’t be Intimidated
In many dog bite cases, an owner may try to intimidate the victim into not pursuing legal action after the incident. Whether this involves refusing to provide information about themselves or their dog, implying it was you who initiated the situation that led to the bite, or other accusations, do not let yourself be intimidated by these actions. In fact, if your bite was severe, you should always call police to the scene. By doing so, they can investigate what happened and file an incident report, which often contains information that can be useful upon filing a lawsuit. In addition, animal control officers can also be summoned to the scene to assess the dog and determine if it should indeed be considered vicious and a threat to others.
Always Seek Compensation
When you suffer a serious dog bite, always seek financial compensation for your injuries and related damages. Along with medical treatment that will cost thousands of dollars, you will need to be compensated for the income you lose while being unable to work. This, along with the physical pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of consortium with family and loved ones, make it essential you receive maximum compensation as soon as possible.
Rather than suffer physically and emotionally while a negligent owner with a vicious dog walks away unscathed, always hold them accountable for their actions. To get started, schedule your consultation today with a lawyer at Grey Law.
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