Many people take advantage of San Francisco’s pristine environment for riding motorcycles. While there are many positives to the experience, there’s also the negatives–namely the possibility of accidents. Not only that, but there’s a wide variety of different causes, up to and including dog chases and biting incidents.
At the Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan, we understand how serious any motorcycle accident can be. Our team of dedicated dog bite lawyers in San Francisco is here to help. We not only provide excellent legal services but also aim to support and guide you through the often difficult recovery process. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident where a dog is involved, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free initial consultation.
California Law Pertaining to Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Dog Chases
When it comes to dog chase motorcycle accidents, California law handles them similarly to accidents involving either a dog or a bicycle. In both situations, the owner of the dog is responsible for compensating you for injuries and damages. However, understanding the specific circumstances of the accident is crucial.
In California, dog owners are typically held strictly liable for injuries resulting from their dogs’ bite attacks in normal circumstances. This means the owner is:
- Responsible for injuries caused by a dog bite unless the person provoked the dog or was trespassing on the owner’s property.
But if you’re riding a motorcycle and a dog chases you without actually biting, strict liability may not apply. However, this doesn’t absolve the dog’s owner of responsibility if the chase leads to an accident. In such cases, California’s negligence law comes into play.
To establish negligence on the part of the dog owner, you need to prove the following:
- The person who owns the dog is legally responsible for preventing accidents and injuries.
- If the owner fails in this responsibility, and as a result, you or another person experiences injuries from a motorcycle accident, there is a direct connection between the owner’s failure to fulfill their duty and the resulting injury. This connection is referred to as the “proximate cause.”
In the scenario where a dog chases and causes a motorcycle accident, the owner is liable for covering your injuries and losses. They are obligated to keep their dog on a leash or within a fenced area to prevent harm to you and the public, as they have a duty to ensure their dog doesn’t cause harm. In these types of accidents, the damages can be extensive.
Damages in a Dog Chase Motorcycle Accident in San Francisco
The process for a dog chase motorcycle accident claim in San Francisco varies based on the specific details of your incident. In certain cases, you may have the opportunity to file a dual claim for damages, relating to both the dog bite and the motorcycle accident. It’s crucial to recognize that this type of claim differs from typical scenarios involving dog bites or motorcycle accidents. Typically, the homeowner’s insurance policy of the dog owner is the primary coverage responsible for handling the costs associated with your losses.
Whether you opt for an insurance claim or decide to pursue legal action through a lawsuit, there are established protocols to follow. Like any legal process, there’s a specific timeframe, commonly referred to as a statute of limitations, within which you must file your claim. In California, this time limit is two years from the date of the injury.
Regardless of the chosen route, the potential damages you can recover include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Loss of companionship or enjoyment of life
- Property damage
- Punitive damages
Obviously, this is a somewhat unique circumstance. At the end of the day, however, your claim is going to rest on the strength of your evidence, just like any other claim. But because there is a dog chase involved, the evidence you’ll need to begin gathering will look slightly different. That said, whenever there’s a motorcycle accident caused by a dog, make sure to look for the following:
- Visual evidence – Take pictures or videos of the accident scene, the dog, and your injuries. Visual evidence can be crucial in establishing the circumstances of the incident.
- Statements from witnesses – If there were any eyewitnesses to the accident, obtain their statements. Their accounts can provide additional perspectives and strengthen your case.
- Accident reports – If law enforcement responded to the scene, there should be an official police report. This document typically includes details about the accident, statements from involved parties, and the officer’s assessment of the situation.
- Medical records – Seek medical attention promptly and keep records of all medical treatments related to the injuries sustained in the accident. This documentation is vital for linking the injuries to the incident and assessing the extent of damages.
- Veterinarian records – If the dog’s owner claims that their dog is not aggressive or has a history of such behavior, obtaining veterinary records that indicate otherwise can be valuable.
- Details of the accident – Note the date, time, and exact location of the accident. This information can be essential for verifying the circumstances and ensuring accurate documentation.
- Damage or repair estimates – Document the damage to your motorcycle and any other property involved in the accident. This can include estimates for repair costs or the fair market value of the damaged items.
- Correspondence – Keep records of any communication with the dog owner, witnesses, insurance companies, or any other involved parties. This can include emails, text messages, or other written correspondence.
- Evidence of negligence – If there is evidence that the dog owner was negligent in controlling their dog or that they were aware of their dog’s aggressive tendencies, it can be crucial in establishing liability.
As you might expect, much of this evidence will be readily available after your accident. At the same time, trying to gather all of it on your own and then present it in a claim for damages can quickly become overwhelming. That’s where our team can come in and be a huge help to you.
How Can Our Team Help You After a Dog Chase Motorcycle Accident in San Francisco?
Whenever there’s a motorcycle accident and a dog is involved, it’s going to be a complex legal process. Even with the law on your side in terms of seeking financial support, it’s going to take a great deal of negotiation with insurance companies, on top of other responsibilities that come with any claim. If you add in serious injuries, this process can quickly become overwhelming.
Fortunately, our team of motorcycle accident lawyers can assist you in several ways:
- Gathering crucial evidence – We start by meticulously collecting essential evidence, including medical records and accident reports. This forms the cornerstone for building a robust case in your favor.
- Negotiating with insurance companies – We handle discussions with the insurance companies representing the other parties involved in the accident. Our goal is to achieve a fair agreement that ensures you receive the financial support you deserve.
- Filing a lawsuit – If negotiations don’t lead to a fair settlement, we guide you through the preparation and filing of a formal Complaint against the responsible party. This step initiates legal proceedings, granting us the authority to pursue your case in court.
- Representing you in court – We are committed to representing your interests in court, working to uphold your rights and presenting compelling evidence to support your claim.
- Getting ready for trial – In cases where a fair settlement is not reached, we are prepared to take your case to trial. Here, we present your case before a judge and jury, seeking an impartial decision based on the merits of your claim.
Helping Victims of Dog Chase Bicycle Accidents in San Francisco
Facing emotional and physical distress from a dog chase motorcycle accident can be tough. Your main goal should be to heal. Our team of skilled lawyers at MJQ Law is dedicated to helping you through this process. If you’ve been injured in a dog chase motorcycle accident in San Francisco, contact us today for a free consultation. We’re here to support you and work on your behalf.