In a dog attack, you could suffer serious injuries such as a traumatic brain injury, scarring, disfigurement, and nerve damage. In California, the dog’s owner and handler could be liable to compensate you for your injuries under our strict liability dog bite and negligence laws.
You have the burden of proving your right to damages to obtain the maximum recovery in a settlement with the insurance company. You may need to hire expert witnesses to establish all the elements of your case.
What Is an Expert Witness?
An expert witness has the qualifications based on their education, experience, or training to give an opinion on a disputed issue in a dog bite case. Not all witnesses can be expert witnesses. Before they can testify at a jury trial, the judge must approve the person as an expert witness who is qualified to testify about their opinions in your case.
How Do You Know If You Need an Expert Witness?
You need the help of a skilled dog bite attorney to determine if you need an expert witness and which type of expert witness to hire. Your lawyer will have a network of qualified experts they have worked with in the past. When selecting an expert witness, you want someone with extensive qualifications who can explain their findings in a way the jury will understand.
Types of Expert Witnesses You May Need
The types of expert witnesses that can help you will depend on the facts surrounding your dog bite and the disputes raised by the insurance company to deny your claim or pay you less compensation in your settlement. Common types of expert witnesses used in dog attack cases include:
A dog breeder can testify about the dog's temperament, socialization, and dog training and whether the owner or handler had sufficient control over the dog at the time of the attack. They can give an opinion on whether the owner or handler was negligent and whether the way the owner socialized and trained the dog contributed to the dog attack.
Animal Control Officer
An animal control official could testify about their investigation into your dog attack. They can also discuss whether the owner violated local ordinances and whether there have been other attacks by this dog in the past, which can help you prove your negligence claim.
Canine Behavior Expert
A canine behavior expert is a typical expert witness used in dog bite cases. They can help establish the dog’s aggressive nature, whether the dog owner should have known about it, and how they could have prevented your dog bite. They are also able to recreate the dog attack for the jury. They may also be able to give an opinion on the following:
- The dog’s history of attacking people
- The way this breed of dog acts
- How the dog was trained
- Whether this is a dangerous dog breed
You will need to retain a medical expert to support your claim for injury compensation related to the dog bite. This expert will help you prove the seriousness of your dog attack injuries, the treatments you need, and whether you will make a full recovery.
Mental Health Expert
Being bitten by a dog is a terrifying experience, and you may suffer anxiety, depression, or another mental health condition resulting from the attack. You may need to hire a psychologist or other mental health expert to explain how the experience affected you psychologically and the treatments you need to treat your condition.
If you suffered severe injuries, you may not be able to perform your current job duties or could become permanently disabled. A vocational expert can explain how your injuries affect your ability to work.
You are entitled to recover your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and lost earning capacity damages. If you suffered a long-term injury, an economist can determine your future medical costs and wage losses you should receive. They can calculate the lost earning capacity damages you should recover to compensate you for the rest of your life if you can no longer work.
Let Us Advise You After a Dog Attack
Did you or a loved one suffer injuries from a dog bite in Southern California or San Diego? You need the help of an experienced dog bite lawyer. Call my San Diego office at 619-813-7955 or fill out my online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how I can assist you. Also, order my free book, The Ultimate California Dog Bite & Animal Attack Survival Guide, to start learning about your rights.