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San Francisco Dog Bite & Animal Attacks Lawyer

dog bite lawyerMany of our animal injury cases have been dog bites, but there are many ways of being hurt by an animal that can lead to a financial recovery. We have handled cases where a dog jumped up and knocked a person down, for example. In another successful case, our client was bitten by his own cat. In that case, the vet’s insurance paid the claim, as it was careless for the vet’s assistant to encourage the client to help hold the cat during a procedure. If you need a dog bite attorney in San Francisco, or have been the victim of an animal attack in the Bay Area contact Callaway & Wolf today for a free consultation.

*PLEASE NOTE: We do NOT handle cases involving injured dogs or pets. We only handle cases involving people who were bitten & injured by dogs or other animals.

Although California has strict liability for dog bite injuries, many cases we have handled have involved non-bite injuries. Often non-bite cases involve violation of a local leash law ordinance, but other incidents happen in private homes, with no apparent reason or provocation. Callaway & Wolf has had many types of successful dog injury cases over the years.  In some cases, animal behavior experts are used. Despite the strict liability law, frequently there are allegations that the victim provoked a dog, or contributed to the attack in some other way. Even when insurance carriers and their lawyers realized that their client will be responsible an incident, they will often try to minimize the recoverable damages, forcing a claim into litigation and well down the road towards a trial date before they will pay what’s fair. This is a typical tactic in the industry, designed to save money with the victims or lawyers who are not willing to hold out for full compensation.

Cases We’ve Handled Involving Dog Bites & Injuries

  • $800,000 for a woman who tripped and fell, sustaining a badly broken ankle, while protecting her dog from an unleashed dog which attacked it as she walked in Oakland.
  • A limo driver was attacked and bitten by two dogs when he approached a customer’s house, requiring stitches and antibiotics.
  • A woman who needed skin grafts and had severe scarring on her arm after she was attacked by a large Mastiff dog when she was at a relative’s house and offered to put out a water bowl for the dog.
  • A woman who had a concussion and a hip fracture when she was hiking in a park in San Francisco and was knocked down by an otherwise-friendly dog which ran up and jumped on her.
  • A woman who was walking her own dog near her home in Oakland and sustained a complicated ankle fracture when an off-leash dog rushed up and attacked her dog, causing her to stumble while trying to save her dog.
  • An elderly woman who had a badly broken hip when a neighbor’s terrier knocked her down while she was outside her home in Sonoma County.
Although there is sometimes no explanation for a dog attack, many incidents clearly are caused by bad pet care-taking. There are a lot more bad dog owners than bad dogs. One case involved a man who sustained facial scarring when he was suddenly bitten by a colleague’s Chow dog when he leaned over to pet the dog. Discovery showed that the owners never walked dog, and even had trained it to use a cat box in their apartment so that they would not have to take it outside.

Know What Your Case is Worth if Attacked by a Dog

Like other injury cases, dog and animal attack claims are valued in comparison to other case jury decisions and settlements. Unlike most injury claims, these claims usually involve much more emotional distress from the attack. Also, animal bites often leave permanent scarring, which is especially hurtful if it’s on a person’s face or highly visible place. To know the full value of your case, you will have to have healed up enough that the extent of scarring and recovery is known.

What’s California’s Law on Animal Bites?

California has a no “one bite” rule. California’s law provides strict legal liability against the owner of a dog for the harm caused by another person bitten by that dog. Liability is imposed whether the bite happens in a public place or in a private place, including on the property of the dog’s owner. Depending upon the facts of your case, if you are injured by a dog you receive compensation for your injuries from the dog owner, or someone who has kept a dog knowing that the dog had vicious propensities.

What is the Statute of Limitations on Animal Bite Injuries in California?

California has a two-year statute of limitations to file a claim for dog and animal bite injuries. This is the time in which your case must be settled, or filed in court. This time limit shrinks to six months if the state or a city is responsible. Even though you may have plenty of time before your time limit is up, our San Francisco dog bite lawyer can help guide you through the process from day one, helping to insure that the proper groundwork is done for your claim.

Who’s Responsible if I’m Bitten by an Animal?

Of course the animal’s owner is typically the primary person responsible. Often, though, a significant financial recovery is impossible without insurance. Homeowner’s insurance is the typical coverage which applies. When the dog owner is a tenant, the landlord might be responsible if he/she knew about the dog’s aggressive behavior.

For example, if the landlord or his representatives had actual knowledge of the dog’s vicious nature prior to the attack and could have had the dog removed before it injured the victim, or if a dog is able to escape from the premises because the landlord has failed to properly maintain a gate or fence. Knowledge of prior incidents with a dog are another way landlords become liable.

Also, the local authorities and animal control officers will often investigate the circumstances of an animal attack and take action against the animal and/or its owner.

What Will They Do to Try to Avoid Paying My Injury Claim?

As in any injury claim, defendants and insurance companies will look for any means to avoid responsibility that they can find.  Usually this means pointing the finger of blame at you, either by claiming that you provoked the animal in some way, or that you ignored a warning about a dangerous animal. Many dog bites happen when a person’s own dog is attacked first. This sometimes leads to a defense claim that it was unreasonable to try to break up a dog fight.

Does Insurance Cover Injuries from Dog and Animal Attacks?

Oftentimes, the homeowner’s insurance company for the owner of a dog will be liable for injuries. If the dog owner does not have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, then collecting any compensation can be more difficult.

Contact a San Francisco Dog Bite Injury Attorney

Boone Callaway of Callaway & Wolf is a leading dog bite lawyer in San Francisco who has numerous awards for accomplishments in the field of personal injury. If you, your child or a loved one has been bitten or mauled by a dog in San Francisco and have been seriously injured, call Callaway & Wolf today to get your questions answered at 415-541-0300 or contact us here to schedule a free consultation.

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