Ankle Injuries Due to Dog Bites in San Francisco

Do I Have a Case?

The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan represents dog bite victims across San Francisco. We understand how challenging these incidents are, particularly when a bite injury impacts your ankle. If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog in San Francisco, our experienced dog bite lawyers can help. Contact us for a free consultation today.

Should You Hire a Lawyer?

One of the first questions you’ll probably have is whether or not you need a lawyer’s help. The answer, like most cases, depends on the circumstances. If your incident is minor, you can probably just get medical care and recover without involving the legal process.

However, you should seriously consider hiring a lawyer if your ankle injuries are more serious and traumatic–as most dog bites are. Not only will we set you up with a free consultation, we can:

  • Explain your legal rights and options
  • Investigate your records from the incident, building a timeline
  • Help you gather important evidence and information on the dog’s owner (crucial in these cases)
  • Guide you through the entire process, whether you decide to file an insurance claim or lawsuit

As you probably can tell, what you need to do after being bitten by a dog can vary widely from case to case. What’s important for you to understand, though, is that you have options. We can help, but there’s a few things you’ll need to do immediately after the bite incident.

What Do I Need to Do After Being Bitten by a Dog?

As a dog bite victim, it’s absolutely necessary to act swiftly and responsibly to protect your health and safety. Not only that, but this will also protect your potential claim. In order to fully do that, you should take the following steps immediately after being bitten:

  • Get to safety – If the dog remains aggressive or poses a threat, relocate to a secure place to prevent further harm.

  • Seek medical care right away – Regardless of the bite’s severity, promptly obtain medical assistance. Dog bites can lead to infections and complications, so it’s crucial to have a healthcare professional assess the wound.

  • Try to find the dog’s owner – If possible, try to find the dog’s owner. Their details may be necessary for reporting the incident and are vital for your potential claim.

  • Gather witness information – If there were witnesses to the bite, get their contact details. They could provide valuable testimony if you decide to move forward with a claim.

  • Document the bite – Take photos of the dog bite and any ankle injuries you suffered. Additionally, make a detailed note of the time, location, and circumstances surrounding the bite to build a timeline.

  • Report to animal control – Make sure to tell local animal control or authorities about the dog bite. They can investigate, check the dog’s vaccination records, and take actions to make sure nothing further happens.

Remember, taking these measures not only protects your health but also provides vital information for your potential legal or insurance claims. Once you’ve addressed your health and safety concerns, you can then begin the process of moving toward a claim.

What is the Law Regarding Dog Bites in San Francisco?

While the city has its own regulations regarding leashes and so-called “dangerous” dogs, a bite incident follows California state law in terms of liability. Under this law, dog owners are:

  • Strictly liable for their dog’s actions

What this means for you is that, as a victim, the dog’s owner is required to cover your losses from the bite. Now, there’s a couple important exceptions to this law. Namely, it doesn’t apply if you:

  • Provoke the dog
  • Were trespassing on private property

Even with these exceptions, the vast majority of dog bite incidents are going to leave the owner responsible. And in cases where you suffer ankle injuries, your losses could be extensive.

Ankle Injuries

An ankle injury is a common outcome of a dog bite, due to the fact that your lower body is often the first point of contact for an attacking dog, especially if you’re moving. Regardless of the circumstances though, you can expect to see the following ankle injuries in a dog bite:

  • Punctures from teeth – Dog bites frequently cause puncture wounds on the feet or ankles, which can be deep and susceptible to infection.

  • Broken bones and fractures – The force from a dog bite can result in fractures in the bones of the foot or ankle.

  • Deep cuts – The sharp teeth of canines can create cuts and lacerations, potentially damaging the skin, muscles, or tendons in your foot or ankle.

  • Infections – Due to the bacteria present in a dog’s mouth, there is a risk of infection following a bite, especially if the skin is broken. Infections can impact the region of your foot and ankle.

  • Nerve damage – Severe bites may bring about nerve damage, leading to numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in your foot or ankle.

  • Emotional and mental trauma – Apart from physical injuries, dog bites can cause emotional trauma, affecting your mental well-being.

  • Soft tissue damage – Dog bites have the potential to inflict damage on soft tissues, such as ligaments and tendons, leading to pain, swelling, and restricted mobility.

Just like with any injury, it’s vital not only to prioritize your immediate safety but also crucial to seek swift medical care. This is even more pertinent for dog bites, as infections can develop rapidly without timely treatment.

What are My Damages?

Whether you file an insurance claim or lawsuit–or both–against the dog’s owner, California law provides you with the right to pursue certain “damages.” This is simply a legal term for your losses from the incident, like your injuries and other damage you may have suffered. In instances where you suffer an ankle injury, these damages will be centered around that and the various outcomes from the bite. So, in order to know what your damages are, you have to look at what’s generally available in a claim:

  • Medical expenses – These are the costs related to any expenses or bills from your medical care, including surgeries, walking boots, crutches, and any ongoing care.

  • Lost wages – If the ankle injury causes you to miss work (which is common) or reduces your future earning potential, these damages take that into account.

  • Pain and suffering – These damages relate to the physical pain and mental anguish you go through because of your ankle injury and the incident itself.

  • Emotional distress – These damages, although similar to mental anguish, relate to any emotional issues that come up because of your injuries and the incident.

  • Loss of enjoyment of life or companionship – These damages cover the reduction of your quality of life, especially if you’re not able to do things that you once did because of your ankle injury. It can also be extended to any impact it has on your personal relationships.

In cases where the dog’s owner was intentionally negligent or reckless, you may be able to recover punitive damages. These are awarded on top of these other damages, and are designed to further punish the owner for their recklessness.

What’s important to understand is that your damages are going to depend on the extent of your injuries, coupled with how well you present your case. Also, you have to file within California’s statute of limitations for injury claims, which is within two years of the incident. Missing this deadline could mean that you’re not able to file a claim at all.

Dedicated San Francisco Dog Bite Lawyers

Whatever the circumstances are that led up to your ankle injuries after being bitten by a dog, MJQ Law will be there to guide you through the recovery process. Our dedicated team of San Francisco dog bite lawyers can explain your options and what the path ahead looks like. Don’t hesitate–contact us today to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.