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Dogs might be man’s best friend, but they also descend from wolves and were once wild animals. As a result, it is not uncommon for dogs to bite humans, even without provocation. In fact, 4.7 million Americans will be the victim of a dog bite attack this year, and approximately 800,000 of them will need medical assistance to heal from their wounds.
If this has happened to you or a member of your family, it is important to be aware that California law enables you to take action in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. If you’ve been attacked, contact the Fresno dog bite lawyers at The May Firm immediately.
Fresno is an extremely dog friendly city that has numerous restaurants, hotels and attractions that accept four-legged visitors. In fact, there are almost 20 restaurants in the city that allow dogs to dine with their human companion at an outside table. This may be adorable most of the time, but it is also dangerous because every animal is unpredictable.
If something frightens them such as a loud noise or some unexpected chaos, it is possible that they will break free of their leash and attack someone. The Fresno dog bite lawyers at The May Firm represents dog attack victims just like you throughout Fresno and California’s Central Coast.
When you take legal action, the ultimate goal is to win your case. In order to improve your odds of this happening, it is vital to choose a proven team that has won many similar cases.
The May Firm has amassed millions in damages for our clients, and we have also settled several individual cases for six or seven figures. Additionally, the local legal industry has recognized our excellence and dedication to our clients by honoring us with numerous awards. In other words, you can rely on our dog bite lawyers to provide you with top-notch legal representation.
One of The May Firm’s founding principles involves treating each and every client with respect, compassion and kindness at all times. We will never treat you like a number, and our team will take the time to answer all of your questions. At the same time, we will tirelessly defend your legal rights and go after a fair settlement from the responsible party.
We understand that suffering from a personal injury can cause you to miss a lot of work, so we take cases on a contingency basis to avoid upfront fees. You won’t receive a single bill unless we successfully settle your case. We will also provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to help you determine whether or not to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit.
Our Fresno office is conveniently located just outside of the downtown area. We proudly serve the entire Central Coast, including the San Joaquin Valley and all of Fresno County.
The first step to take if a dog bites you or a loved one is to properly clean and bandage the wound and then seek professional medical treatment within eight hours. If the bite is severe, you should go to an emergency room or doctor immediately.
In order, you should:
Do not neglect any of these steps! Even a dog bite that appears minor can cause infection or rabies.
After you have received medical treatment, be sure to follow your doctor’s advice. Monitor the bite for any signs of infection for several days. Signs of infection include swelling, redness, pain, and pus.
The second step is to consult a Fresno dog bite attorney. Dog bite laws may allow you to seek compensation for your injuries, which can help you manage the medical bills, any lost time from work, as well as the emotional fall-out of the attack. Dog bite attorneys generally offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
If someone else’s dog injured you, you may seek compensation for your injuries via a Fresno dog bite lawsuit from the dog owner or his or her insurance carrier.
California law imposes strict liability for dog bites if they happen either in a public place or private property where you were legally present. Strict liability means that the owner is financially responsible for the dog bite injuries whether or not they knew the dog was likely to bite someone. If you were in a private home, you must have been invited in or otherwise have been on the premises with the owner’s permission.
Workers on the property to perform tasks the owner contracted for, such as cable installation or deck repair, are also on the premises with permission, as are specifically invited neighbors who drop by. The law considers postal carriers on the property with the owner’s permission, as well.
There is just one exception to the law: If the dog is used for military or police work and was provoked or annoyed into defending itself, strict liability doesn’t hold.
As a result of the strict liability law, you can bring a lawsuit in the case of a dog bite on public or private property. This is much better for dog bite victims than the laws in many other states, which often make owners responsible for injuries only if they knew the dog tended to bite. That’s not the case in Fresno, or anywhere else in California.
Folks injured by dog bites can seek compensation for the following:
That’s a very good question! Dogs, unfortunately, can cause non-bite injuries, by knocking people down, scratching, and even suffocating them in the case of small children or the elderly. They can cause people to fall off bicycles and motorcycles or fall down stairs. They can also maul and attack with their paws and legs.
The strict liability law only covers dog bites. As a result, if a dog injured you but it did not bite you, the strict liability law may not cover you. In this situation, you may have to prove owner negligence. This requires evidence and sometimes leads to a court case. It also gives owners a chance to counter your claims. Victims often find it possible to refute these claims and receive compensation, but it is not quite as straightforward a process as a dog bite case.
However, the history of the dog bite law is complex. At some points and in some cases, courts have found that the strict liability dog bite law covered injuries other than bites. Other courts have found differently.
If your case doesn’t fall under the dog bite law, you will need to prove that the owner was negligent. Negligence is a violation of the duty of care dog owners owe the public. Dog owners should, for example, use reasonable precautions to see that their animals don’t harm people. If a dog is provoked by bicycles, for example, owners should keep it away from a street that neighborhood children bicycle down. If it has attacked a human before, owners must restrain it with a leash or fence.
Under another California law, if a dog has bitten people who weren’t trespassing at least twice, the owner must take reasonable precautions to reduce the risk that it will bite again by, for example. restraining the dog or building a fence.
If a dog bit you like this, you may file a lawsuit against the owner.
Dogs are a threat if one or more of the following have happened:
Dogs can be classified as vicious if one or more of the following have happened:
Either local animal control agents or police can petition for a hearing if they have reason to believe a dog is dangerous or vicious.
When a court decides that a dog is dangerous or vicious, the owner receives a legal order to keep the community safe from the dog. The court may order owners to keep the animal inside, for example, or to leash it, or keep it in a fenced area. The court can fine an owner who doesn’t follow the court’s mandates.
If a dog bit you and you want to seek compensation, you can do so under civil law and in a civil court, with the help of a Fresno dog bite lawyer. Civil courts are different and separate from criminal courts.
However, dog bites can also come under the jurisdiction of criminal courts. If a dog kills a person or injures someone severely and the owner was aware that the dog had dangerous tendencies, a prosecutor can bring criminal charges against the owner.
Law enforcement brings criminal charges, rather than the injured person or their family. While the purpose of a civil lawsuit is compensation, a criminal charge punishes people for wrongdoing. The punishment can include fines, jail terms, and probation. If the dog killed someone, prosecutors can charge the crime as a felony. If the person sustained injuries, owners can face misdemeanor or felony charges.
Because the civil and criminal court systems are entirely separate, you can bring a Fresno dog bite lawsuit even if criminal charges for the incident are also proceeding. The two cases are not dependent on one another.
If an injured person brings a civil lawsuit against a dog owner, the dog’s owner can try to defend against the claim. That isn’t to say their defenses will necessarily be successful, but plaintiffs (the person who brings the lawsuit) should be aware of common possible defenses.
As discussed above, the owner bears responsibility if the attacked person was legally on their private property. Dog owners may try to claim that you weren’t legally on the property, even if you were. They may claim that they didn’t invite you or didn’t know you were on the property, or even that you were trespassing, even if you weren’t. Other owners may attempt to argue that you knew the home had a dog, and thus that you voluntarily took the risk of a bite. An owner can also accuse you of provoking the animal, in an attempt to shift responsibility to you.
It’s a good idea to talk to an experienced dog bite attorney in Fresno before you file a civil claim after a dog bite. Lawyers can help you counter these kinds of defense tactics. Law firms often work with investigators, for example, who can dig up all the available evidence. They can talk to other people in the area who know the dog’s history, for instance. They can find out if the dog has attacked anyone previously.
In other words, just because a dog’s owner tries a defense does not mean you can’t counter that defense.
The statute of limitations is the deadline by which victims must file a lawsuit. In the case of dog bites, the statute of limitations is two years from the date you received the injury.
People in Fresno sometimes feel reluctant to approach a lawyer for help with their case because they fear they can’t afford the attorney’s fees. Most of us have watched TV shows about cops and lawyers, and the lawyers’ offices look expensive!
But legal expenses are not a worry if you receive a dog bite or other injury for which someone else is liable. Why? Because our lawyers never charge our clients upfront. You will not have to open your checkbook or use your credit card to pay us at all.
Our dog bite lawyers always work on contingency. This means that their fees are contingent, or depend, upon winning the case. They receive a percentage of what the dog owner pays you if they help you win your case. If your case does not recover compensation, you don’t owe the lawyer anything.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Dog bite lawyers also almost always offer a free initial consultation to discuss potential cases. This is an opportunity to tell the lawyer what happened, describe how you were injured, and name who (or what) you believe was responsible. At the end of the consultation, the layer will advise you about whether they believe you have a claim and tell you if they are willing to take your case.
Take notes about what happened and what you know about the dog and its owner before you meet the lawyer for the initial consultation, and bring any evidence you have to help the lawyer to evaluate your case. Evidence can include medical records (from doctor or emergency room visits, physical therapy, and more), records of reports to police or animal control, pictures or videos of the dog or your injuries, eyewitness information, statements of neighbors or other people who know the dog’s behavior, or anything else you have.
If you need further information, consult an experienced Fresno dog bite attorney.
Contact us to get started. It is important to have the proper legal representation on your side if you’re involved in a motorcycle crash. Often wrongful blame is placed on the rider in a multi-vehicle collision due to the increased risk that comes with riding a motorcycle. Insurance companies are reluctant to side with the motorcyclist and oftentimes will attempt to place the full or partial blame on them. Don’t accept that blame and the legal repercussions that come with it.
Call (866) 619-6679 to schedule a free consultation with our award-winning motorcycle accident lawyers. We’ll help determine the viability of your case based on your testimony and help you determine the best way to proceed. Working on a contingency fee means our lawyers are only compensated when your case or settlement is won, and our extensive experience and case history allow us to settle most claims out of court, giving you a faster resolution to your case and allowing you to focus on your recovery process. We factor in every possible expense when building your settlement: Medical bills, wage loss, property damage, and emotional suffering are all considered. Our goal is to help you put your life back in order to the best of our ability.