As the holiday season approaches, many of us will be going to the homes of friends and family to celebrate. At many of these houses in San Francisco, dogs will be present. And while the vast majority are well-behaved and pleasant, any dog can fall victim to its instincts–particularly if there are a number of people around their “territory.”
In San Francisco, \you don’t have to face the burden of a dog bite injury alone. By reaching out to the Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan and consulting with our experienced San Francisco dog bite lawyers, you’ll gain insights into the necessary steps and explore alternative legal avenues. Insurance companies might attempt to downplay the value of your claim, but with our skilled team on your side, we’ll ensure the strength of any potential claim you may have.
To get the recovery process started, contact us today for a free consultation.
What Happens When a Dog Bites You at a San Francisco Party?
Sadly, getting bitten by a dog is usually a distressing and painful incident. Regardless of your familiarity with dogs or how calm a dog may appear, the truth is that any dog can succumb to their natural instincts and bite. Nevertheless, dog bites in San Francisco have a wide variety of causes and outcomes. Thus, your legal options when it comes to these incidents is dependent on the circumstances.
Usually, dog owners in San Francisco are “strictly liable” for any harm or injury caused by their dog. This means that when you’re bitten, the owner is legally responsible for covering your damages.
However, there are certain exceptions to the law:
- The dog was provoked into the attack
- You were trespassing on private property when the bite happened
Obviously, when the bite happens at a gathering or party, it becomes a bit murky. Generally speaking, if you were invited to the party or otherwise had permission to be there, the owner of the dog that bites you will still be responsible. With that said, the relative strength of your claim is going to rest on the circumstances of the incident and what evidence you have to prove your side of things.
What Evidence Do You Need After Being Bitten By a Dog at a San Francisco Party?
Again, the circumstances of your dog bite injury is going to be very important in a scenario where you’re bitten at a party on someone else’s property. First and foremost, you need to get to safety and any injuries taken care of. Dog bites, in particular, can also cause serious infections if not treated properly. From there, you’ll want to collect the following evidence to bolster your claim:
- Photographs of the injury -Take clear and detailed photos of the bite wound immediately after the incident. Document the location, size, and severity of the injury.
- Establish ownership of the dog – Gather information about the dog and its owner. This includes the owner’s name, contact details, and any relevant information about the dog, such as its breed and size.
- Witness statements – If there were any witnesses to the incident, collect their contact information and ask them to provide statements describing what they saw. Witness testimonies can strengthen your case.
- Communication with the owner – If possible, communicate with the dog owner and document your conversations. This can include text messages, emails, or any written correspondence that acknowledges the incident and the fact that you were allowed to be on the property.
- Medical records – Seek medical attention promptly and keep all medical records related to the dog bite. This includes documentation of treatments, prescriptions, and any follow-up care.
- Damaged property – Preserve the clothing or personal items you were wearing at the time of the incident. They may serve as additional evidence, especially if they have bloodstains or damage.
Even though it’s impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of a dog bite, especially in certain situations like a party, it’s crucial to minimize the risk of such accidents. This involves educating yourself on dog behavior, steering clear of unfamiliar dogs, and informing animal control about the incident. Once your health and safety are addressed, you can turn your attention to the legal process.
Legal Process After a San Francisco Dog Bite
When you choose to move forward with a dog bite claim in San Francisco, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the process. Legally, a dog bite claim is handled much like other injury claims in California, such as those stemming from car accidents or slip and falls. The crucial difference is the application of strict liability law, making it easier to determine responsibility, which typically rests with the dog owner. When you file your claim, it’s usually directed at the dog owner’s insurance company. The process includes:
- Making an insurance policy claim
- Filing a lawsuit
In California, the statute of limitations for injury claims is two years from the accident date, so it’s important to move quickly. If you do decide to move forward a lawsuit, you may potentially recover:
- The expenses tied to medical treatments, surgeries, and continuous care for your injuries.
- The costs associated with fixing or replacing your damaged belongings.
- Compensation for wages lost due to missed work caused by your injuries.
- Expenses linked to the physical pain, emotional distress from the dog bite, and any resulting psychological trauma.
- In situations where the dog owner’s actions were especially careless or deliberate, punitive damages may be granted to penalize the owner.
Every case is unique, and the outcome depends on the circumstances. The claims process can be time-consuming and challenging, so patience is essential. However, our team of experienced and dedicated lawyers will make sure that you have a strong claim and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Is a Lawyer Necessary After a Dog Bite at a San Francisco Party?
While there isn’t a legal obligation in California mandating the involvement of a lawyer in the claims process, having a legal professional by your side significantly impacts the overall outcome of your case. Our commitment to your cause is will be borne out in various ways:
- Evidence gathering and investigation – We assist in collecting crucial evidence such as medical records and accident reports, strengthening your case.
- Communication and negotiation – Engaging with the insurance company, we strive to achieve a fair agreement, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
- Filing a lawsuit – If a fair settlement isn’t reached, we guide you in preparing and filing a formal complaint against the responsible party, initiating the legal process.
- Court representation – Acting as your legal advocates, we support you in court, fighting for your rights and presenting evidence to support your compensation claim.
- Making the process easier – Overall, we take a great deal of pride in our approach to making things easier for you. Particularly after a dog bite, you could be dealing with extreme medical and financial strain. We take that burden off of you, guiding you through the legal process every step of the way, hopefully setting you up for recovery and success.
Overall, our team prioritizes open communication, keeping you well-informed about the progress of your case. We believe that our approach will make sure that you and your family receive the care and attention you deserve.
Dedicated Dog Bite Lawyers in San Francisco
Facing an injury resulting from a dog bite at a party in San Francisco can be exceptionally challenging. In such situations, our committed and experienced team of San Francisco dog bite lawyers is ready to stand by your side.
We are here to assist you in holding those accountable for your injuries. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to get started.