If you suffered injuries caused by a dog bite, the dog’s owner could be responsible for compensating you under California’s strict liability dog bite law. You must prove your case if you want to receive all the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Witnesses can play a crucial role in proving your right to compensation for your injuries. An experienced San Diego dog bite lawyer can determine which witnesses will help you and can preserve their testimony.
Types of Witnesses Helpful in Dog Bite Cases
You will need evidence to convince the insurance company for the dog’s owner and any other negligent parties of their liability to compensate you for your injuries. Witness testimony can be compelling evidence when proving your case to the insurance adjuster—and a jury if you must take your case to trial.
Different types of witnesses can be useful in a dog bite claim. Witnesses can also help you defeat the defenses raised by the insurance company to deny your claim or pay you less than you deserve. Witnesses who may be able to assist you in building a winning case include the following:
Eyewitnesses can corroborate how the dog attack occurred and that you suffered injuries from the attack. If the insurance company claims you provoked the attack, their testimony can help you refute the claim.
One type of expert witness who can help you receive the full value of your claim is a dog expert. You and your attorney may decide to retain one of these dog experts:
- Canine behavioral expert. This expert could testify about the dog’s temperament and why it acted as it did when it attacked you.
- Veterinarian. A vet also has the expertise to explain a dog breed’s temperament. If they treated the dog who bit you, they could discuss how the dog’s medical history and character contributed to its dangerous nature. They may also know if the dog attacked someone else in the past.
- Breeders. Dog breeders can understand the behaviors and aggressive tendencies of different dog breeds. This could be helpful if the dog that attacked you was of a breed known to be vicious.
- Animal shelter employees. If the dog came from an animal shelter, workers could testify about any behavioral evaluations they conducted and any history of aggressive behavior they know about.
- Animal control official. An animal control official will understand whether the dog’s breed is considered dangerous. They may also have valuable information about the dog’s history of attacking other victims.
A medical expert will be essential to proving your injuries. They can testify about the seriousness of your injuries, the treatments you need, and how much your medical care will cost. A medical expert can also explain whether you will fully recover from your injuries and, if not, the medical treatments you will need in the future and how your injuries will impact your ability to work and quality of life.
Vocational Experts and Economists
If you suffered a long-term injury, such as a traumatic brain injury or nerve damage, you may no longer be able to perform the duties of your current job. A vocational expert can help you establish the type of work—if any—that you can do in the future. If you will suffer a loss of future income, an economist can establish the amount of lost earning capacity damages you should receive in your settlement.
Family and Friends
You are also entitled to recover compensation for the pain and suffering you endured due to your dog bite injuries. Family and friends could testify about the pain and suffering you experienced. They can also help you establish how your injuries have affected your ability to take care of your day-to-day needs, the activities you can perform, and your quality of life.
How to Determine What Witnesses You Need
It can be complicated to figure out which witnesses you need to prove your case and resolve disputes with the insurance company. A knowledgeable dog bite lawyer will understand which types of witnesses can help you and can help obtain their statements. A lawyer will have a network of qualified expert witnesses who can help you and can explain their findings to the insurance company and jury.