Injuries Caused by Jumping Dogs in San Francisco

Do I Have a Case?

The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan proudly represents victims injured by dogs across San Francisco. While most dogs are well-behaved and trained, the reality is that any dog can get too excited and hurt you by jumping on you. This is an unfortunate, yet common part of living or interacting with a dog. If this has happened to you, contact us for a free consultation to talk about your options.

Who is Liable in These Accidents?

The first question you probably have after being hurt by a dog is: who is responsible? Thankfully, California law makes this fairly easy: the dog’s owner is “strictly liable” for any injuries or harm their dog causes.

While this normally revolves around bites, it can be extended to incidents where you’re hurt when a dog jumps on you or knocks you down. Basically, dog owner’s have a

  • Duty of care to keep you and others safe around their dog

When this doesn’t happen, they will be seen as acting negligently, and will therefore be responsible for covering your injuries and damages.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

Whether you want to pursue further action depends on the circumstances. If the injuries are just minor, you probably don’t need a lawyer. However, in cases where you’re hurt badly or the dog’s owner intentionally caused the incident, you should really consider your options. The best way to do that is to meet with our team for a free initial consultation. During this meeting, we can lay out our strategy and how we can help you. We do this by:

  • Investigation of the accident – We’ll look at any evidence you have and get your timeline of events to dive into an investigation of the accident. We’ll also explain your legal options and the path forward for you.

  • Gathering our own evidence – Along with your help, we’ll gather your medical records, incident reports, or any other evidence that’s available so we can build a strong case.

  • Dealing with insurance – One way or the other, an insurance company is going to get involved in the process. We’ll help you get all the insurance information you need, then help you file the claim and negotiate on your behalf to get a settlement offer.

  • Simplifying things – More than anything else, we’ll be there to support you throughout the process, making it easier on you. It can be tough worrying about your injuries and the legal process all at once. We can ease that burden for you.

Although a dog jumping on you and hurting you is somewhat unique, it’s ultimately up to you to decide to take action and protect your rights. Regardless, though, dog owners have to be held accountable for their negligence.

What Should You Do After These Incidents?

Again, an incident where you’re hurt after a dog jumps on you is not uncommon. As such, while you might not necessarily expect such an incident to happen, you have to be ready. Part of that preparedness is in knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath of the incident:

  • Check your injuries – Check for any visible injuries like cuts or bruises, then get medical care at an urgent care, doctor’s office, or emergency room.

  • Clean wounds – If there are cuts or scratches, clean them gently with soap and water. You may also want to use an antiseptic ointment and cover the wound with a clean bandage.

  • Pain management – Over-the-counter pain relievers may be useful, but consult with a doctor or healthcare professional first. If there’s swelling, applying an ice pack wrapped in a thin cloth may help.

  • Watch for infection – Keep an eye on the wound for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or increasing pain.

  • Report the incident – If the dog belongs to someone else, you should report the incident to them. They should then take action. If not, report the incident to local animal control so they can respond.

  • Prevent future incidents – If you know the dog’s owner, talk with them so they can address any behavior issues in the dog, like jumping, to prevent similar incidents in the future.

What can complicate incidents like these is the fact that you may know the dog or the owner. They may even be a member of your family. While that can certainly play a part in your potential action, what’s important is that you prioritize your well-being. From there, make sure that the dog doesn’t hurt anyone else by talking to the owner. Regardless of the circumstances, you have the legal right to file a claim for damages.

Damages in an Injury Claim

An injury caused by a dog, whether it be through a bite or by jumping on you, is no different than one caused in a car accident or slip and fall in the eyes of California law. With that said, the injuries you can suffer when a dog jumps on you can differ from case to case. In fact, it’s the extent of your injuries and other damage that will be the basis for what you can recover in an injury claim. These damages typically include:

  • Costs associated with medical bills, surgeries, and ongoing treatment.
  • Damage to your personal property, like clothes, glasses, or phone, resulting from the incident
  • Lost income from missed work or lost earning potential because of the incident
  • Support for the physical and emotional pain you’ve endured due to the injury.
  • Damages related to the emotional impact of the incident.
  • Financial consideration for your loss of enjoyment of life or companionship
  • Damages relating to any scarring or disfigurement you suffered

In cases where the dog owner’s conduct is seen as reckless or intentional, punitive damages may be available. These are rare, but are meant to punish the responsible party.

The specific damages available in your dog bite case hinge on the circumstances of the incident and the severity of your injuries. Additionally, similar to other injury claims, there is a statute of limitations for dog injury cases in California. Dog injury victims in San Francisco have a two-year window from the date of the incident to file a claim. Missing it means being unable to recover these important damages.

What Could Cause a Dog to Jump On You?

Nobody likes to be in a situation where they get hurt, especially where there’s a dog that momentarily loses control of itself. However, not only do these unfortunate situations happen, they can leave you facing serious injuries like broken bones, puncture wounds, or even head injuries. In looking at these incidents, it’s important to understand their underlying causes:

  • Excitement or overstimulation – Dogs jumping up when they’re excited or in an overstimulating environment is a natural instinct. But it can cause injuries, especially with larger dogs.

  • Attention-seeking – Dogs might jump to get attention from their owners. If they have learned that jumping results in attention or petting, they may continue doing it.

  • Lack of training – Jumping may occur if a dog hasn’t been properly trained. If they haven’t learned appropriate behavior, they may resort to jumping.

  • Excess energy – Dogs with excess energy may jump as a way to release pent-up energy. Regular exercise and mental stimulation can help address this.

  • Dominance – Some dogs may jump to assert dominance or show that they are in control. This is more common in untrained or improperly socialized dogs.

  • Fear or anxiety – In some cases, jumping can be a response to fear or anxiety. Dogs may jump as a way to cope with stressful situations.

Regardless of why it happens, being injured by a dog is going to leave you facing medical bills and emotional and psychological damage if the incident was more traumatic. That’s why it’s so important to follow through with protecting your health, safety, and legal rights.

MJQ Law Can Help You With Any Dog Bite Injury

Dealing with both physical injuries and emotional distress from an incident caused by a dog is undoubtedly challenging. In these tough times, the Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan can offer valuable help and support. Our experienced team of lawyers knows how to handle such cases, and can make sure your rights and well-being are taken care of. To learn more about our process, contact us today for a free consultation.