Dog Bites

Medicine plaster patch on human injury wound eye

Fresno Dog Bite Lawyers

Dog bite attacks are extremely violent, unpredictable, and can cause a lifetime of fear and anxiety. While many dogs are loyal, safe, and predictable, certain breeds have vicious and aggressive behavior by their very nature and/or training.  California Civil Code section 3342 provides the basis to sue the dog owner and imposes strict liability if the dog bites you and you are legally on the property. You just have to prove that the dog bit you while you were legally on the property. Trespassers, burglar’s and others engaged in criminal conduct do not get the benefit of the strict liability provision in Civil Code section 3342 if they are bitten by the dog while unlawfully on the premises.  

Types of Animal Attacks That We Can Help With

What should you do after a Dog Bite Incident?

Safety first!

  1. Determine if medical assistance is needed and if so, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Wounds left untreated can lead to infection.
  2. If you seek medical attention in California, your health provider is required to report the bite.

Document, document, document.

  1. Get the name, address, and phone number of the dog’s owner
  2. Take photographs of the injury, where the attack took place
  3. Gather witness information, if possible
    • Name
    • Addresses
    • Phone numbers to document for future contact to prove your case.
  4. Take notes on your phone or use your voice memo to record everything that happened as soon as you are physically able.

Don’t wait, call a personal injury attorney right away.

  1. You pay nothing unless we win your case.
  2. Attorney Tim Mazzela is available 24 hours a day to meet with you by phone, via video chat, or in person. Because of COVID, we are not available to come to homes or hospitals, but we can handle business.

Why hire a dog bite injury attorney?

  1. The advantage of hiring an attorney immediately after the attack has occurred is to document the evidence and determine the level of investigation needed to develop your case and protect your rights. Our team will also interview witnesses and record testimonies.
  2. You will be shielded and protected from the harassment and underhanded tactics of the defendant’s insurance company.
  3. Most importantly, they will provide you with higher settlement offers and determine whether the settlement is fair and reasonable in light of similar cases from past jury verdicts in California.

Insurance Coverage for Dog Bite Cases in California

Some homeowner policies of insurance have lower policy limits for dog bite claims. Others completely exclude payment for dog bite claims if the insurance company expressly excludes certain breeds of dogs that have more violent and vicious propensities. Fortunately, most homeowners’ policies cover dog bite claims up to the policy limit. Tim Mazzela has handled two dog bite cases that recovered a gross result of $500,000.00. One of those cases involved a landlord-tenant situation that complicates the case immensely. Additionally, he has successfully handled numerous six-figure dog bite cases.

Landlord/Tenant Dog Bite Cases

When the dog is owned by the tenant and not the owner of the property, there are additional factual claims that must be established to win the case. In the landlord-tenant situation, you have to prove that the landlord knew or should have known that the dog was present on the premises and that the dog had vicious propensities.

A private investigator is needed to canvass the surrounding neighborhood to answer questions like:

  • Were there prior dog attacks by the dog?
  • How often was the landlord at the premises and what the dogs were doing when the landlord was present?
  • Do the dogs run around the neighborhood off-leash regularly and torment the neighborhood?
  • Have the dogs ever bitten anyone before the case that is being investigated?
  • Is the fence that houses the dog in good condition?

What can I be compensated for when I’m injured in a dog attack?

Dog bite cases currently have more value because of the long-term emotional scars caused by a violent and vicious dog bite attack. Indeed, the multiplier for pain, suffering, and emotional distress damages are much larger than other types of personal injury cases. They settle faster and are worth more money in a settlement. Jury verdicts are also larger, which is one of the many driving forces behind these higher values.

Economic Damages

California law recognizes the following items as Economic Damages

  • Past medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Past wage loss
  • Future wage loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Past and future surgeries
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Loss of household services
  • Modifying your home to accommodate the disability
  • Out-of-pocket expenses you incurred to accommodate the injuries and disabilities caused the attack.

Non-Economic damages

California law recognizes the following items as Non-Economic Damages

  • Impact on your personal life
  • Impact on your family relationships
  • Impact on your professional life
  • Disfigurement
  • The impact on your life and your family’s lives
  • Pain
  • Suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Inconvenience
  • Mental/emotional distress
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Temporary disability
  • Permanent disability