OVER 400 Legal Answers to Frequently Asked Questions to a Variety of California Injury Issues and Legal Problems Associated with California Accidents

What is my case worth? What should I do after a bicycle accident? My car's brakes didn't function properly, do I have a case? Should I sign the insurance company's proposal? Some of your questions may have been answered already on Mark Blane's website. However, San Diego county accidents happen all the time, and all sorts of different questions about different injury scenarios can be raised by a person who is injured. As a result, this personal injury website is dedicated to answering your frequently asked questions about a variety of injuries, your legal rights, and what procedures you should follow. Just browse our frequently asked questions (FAQ) section (below) and look them up. If you have other or more specific questions, just send an email (Contact Us) and you will receive a reply without delay!

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  • ANIMAL BITE: What should I do if an animal bites me?

    The first thing you should do if you are bitten by an animal is to seek medical attention immediately. If you are not treated medically, an animal bite can cause serious injury, infection, and even death if the animal was diseased.   You have to be careful!

    Once you have been medically evaluated, you should also consider consulting a lawyer with experience in animal bite cases in California. An attorney will be able to tell you whether you have a legal claim, and what damages you may be able to recover; and, against whom (or what entity).

    Mark C. Blane is a San Dog Bite Injury Attorney and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Firm dedicated to representing families of people injured by a California dog bite. If you or a loved one has been killed or injured in a dog bite injury or attack accident in California, please order your free copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information that will help you protect your legal rights and it normally sells for $16.95.  However, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident.

  • ANIMAL BITE INJURY: What do I need to tell an attorney regarding my animal bite injury?

    An animal bite attorney will ask you for detailed information about the circumstances surrounding your animal bite. At a minimum, you should provide the name and phone number of the animal's owner - this is very important.  If you don't have this information, a neighbor or a witness might be able to provide it to you. Also, if there were witnesses, you should get their names and contact information as well.

    Mark C. Blane is a San Dog Bite Injury Attorney and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Firm dedicated to representing families of people injured by a California dog bite. If you or a loved one has been killed or injured in a dog bite injury or attack accident in California, please order your free copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information that will help you protect your legal rights and it normally sells for $16.95.  However, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident.

  • WORK COMP DOG BITE: If I am bitten by a dog while I am working , do I have a claim for Workers' Compensation and a claim against the dog owner too?

    Yes, under California law, you would have a potential claim for both.

    If the dog bite injury occurred during the course of your normal work duties, you will most likely be able to file a claim for California workers' compensation with your employer. In addition to your workers' compensation claim, if the owner of the dog is not your employer, you may be able to bring a legal claim against that person as well; thus, you would have two claims.  You would definitely need legal counsel to explain more details as to having these two claims.
     

  • LEASH LAW: My California city has a "leash law" and I was wondering if a dog owner who violates this law is potentially liable for any bite injuries caused by the dog?

    Generally speaking, yes.

    If a dog owner owner violates a leash law, and her dog attacks someone, then that person is still said to be "strictly liable" for the dog bite, under California law.  You do not have to prove negligence on part of the dog owner in order to have a dog bite case, you just have to prove the dog bite occurred and caused you bodily injury.
     

  • CRIMINAL IMPLICATIONS: Is it possible for a person to be imprisoned for keeping or harboring a vicious animal?

    Yes it is, and there have been numerous instances where people have been criminally convicted for knowingly owning dangerous animals. 

    In some California cases, animal owners have been found guilty of murder when an animal's attack killed another person. Sentences have ranged from severe fines to significant jail time.  I once represented a dog bite victim who sustained a dog bite from a dog owned by a person who was maintaining a dog fighting ring in his back yard in a local San Diego area neighborhood. Needless to say, the owner faced both criminal and civil penalties.
     

  • INJURY TO OTHER ANIMALS: Do I have a legal claim against the owner of a dog or animal that kills or injures my pet?

    If your pet is injured or killed by another animal, you may be entitled to receive "compensatory" damages from the owner of the other animal.

    The amount (case value) may include the purchase price of a similar pet, registration of a purebred animal, licensing, shots, and training costs. Additionally, if you spent additional money on your pet -- other than for normal veterinary bills -- you should be compensated for such sums. Those expenses have to be reasonable but you can certainly make the claim.  In some cases, you may be able to receive compensation for mental anguish, loss of the companionship of the pet, and even punitive damages.  The claim would be for you, and not for the dog that was injured or killed as California law does not compensate for a lost animal's estate as animals cannot have estates.
     

  • RESPONSIBLE PARTIES: Can anyone else, other than the dog owner, under California law, be responsible for a dog bite to another that caused bodily injury?

    The California dog bite statute imposes strict liability solely on the dog owner.

    However, any person might be liable if he or she was negligent or maintained custody or control of the dog with knowledge that the dog was dangerous. This can include a landlord, for instance.  In cities with a "leash law," violation of the leash law constitutes a form of negligence too, and should not be overlooked.  The California dog bite victim can direct a legal claim to other possible defendants, including employers, companies, and dog breeders. It is even possible to make a legal claim against someone who negligently entrusted a dog to another person who could not control it, like a child. This analysis goes to reasonableness of the control.  Also, legal claims against people other than the dog owner might be crucial under certain circumstances, such as when the dog owner lacks insurance.  Therefore,  a good and experienced California dog bite lawyer needs to be retained to look at possible "other" defendants.
     

  • DOG BITE LIABILITY: Are there any exceptions to dog bite liability a California dog owner could use to escape legal liability (fault)?

    Yes, there are narrow exceptions under California law.  The following circumstances could be used by a dog owner to escape legal liability (fault) if:

    1. The dog bite victim was a trespasser, and it was not a foreseeable trespasser (meaning the dog owner had no reason to expect the potential trespass in the past for example);
    2. The dog bite victim was a veterinarian doctor who was treating the dog medically at the time of the incident or dog bite;
    3. The dog bite victim was committing a felony;
    4. The dog bite victim provoked the dog; (also known as "contributory negligence")
    5. The dog who bit or attacked another was assisting the police or the military at the time of the incident/attack or dog bite.

    There is a possibility for the dog bite victim to enact or direct a legal claim to other (or against) possible defendants, including employers, landlords and dog breeders. It is even possible to make a claim against someone who negligently entrusted a dog to another person who could not control it, like a child. Claims against people other than the owner might be crucial under certain circumstances, such as when the dog owner lacks insurance.  However, to obtain legal liability of any other party you generally have to prove that the other party knew of the dangerous propensities of the dog, and where the dog was located (like for landlord dog bite negligence for instance).
     

  • LEGAL DAMAGES: In order for a California dog bite victim to secure legal damages , what does the dog bite victim's lawyer have to prove?

    The California dog bite lawyer must prove at least the following items for a dog bite victim's legal case:

    (a) The identity of the owner of the dog and its owner (stray dogs can exclude this if the owner is not identified);
    (b) Any insurance connected with the dog bite and the dog's owner (namely, homeowner's insurance);
    (c) The dog bit the victim and caused bodily injury (medical damages); this also means the dog bite caused suffering, loss or harm; also known as general damages like "pain and suffering."
    (d) The dog bite victim, at the time of the dog bite, was in a public place or lawfully in a private place, which could also be the property of the dog owner; and the dog bite or attack could not be excused because of any of the legal exceptions listed in another FAQ in the California Dog Bite and Animal Attacks FAQ on my website.
     

  • LEGAL DAMAGES: How do you calculate legal damages in a California dog bite case?

    A California dog bite victim can receive money for all of the following items:

    1. Medical treatment such as first aid, emergency room, hospital and ambulance;
    2. Any infections as a result of the dog bite (this sometimes happens and increases pain and suffering damages);
    3. Future medical treatment for scar reduction; depends on the depth of the dog bite;
    4. Psychological counseling to overcome the emotional trauma of the attack; fear of dogs, fear of being outdoors, and dealing with disfigurement.  This can be common for a victim of a dog bite.  I once represented a lady who had counseling because of the dog bite as she was attacked by a large pitt bull that jumped a fence as she walked past.
    5. Loss of earnings from work or the victim's business; this can also include future wage loss if there is a permanent impairment to a particular body part; if one exists, it needs to be documented under the AMA 5th Edition Guidelines by a medical doctor;
    6. Torn clothing and broken glasses or other personal property;
    7. Medications, and other out-of-pocket expenses;
    8. Co-pay expenses;

  • MONETARY RESOURCES: How does a California lawyer get monetary damages for a dog bite victim? What are some sources of recovery?

    Sadly, many serious dog bite injuries are caused by a dog owned by a friend or family member, and as a a result, dog bite victims frequently worry about who will pay their damages because they don't want a friend or family member to endure the worry or burden of a legal claim or even a lawsuit. However, the good news is there is no reason to worry about this, since it is obvious under California law the dog owner is technically liable for the bite, the truth is legal damages for a California dog bite are usually paid by:

    1. Homeowner's insurance;
    2. Renter's insurance;
    3. Landlord's premise or property liability insurance (very tough to prove landlord liability in California - definitely consult a lawyer on this one or look at my other FAQ's on California Dog Bites and Landlords)
    4. Dog owner insurance (whatever that might be);
    5. Insurance covering employers and breeders, if, and only if, they are found to be legally responsible for the dog bite.

  • LEGAL RECOVERY: How can you know if the person who owned the dog that bit another has a valid liability insurance policy to cover for all the damages?

    You can speak with the dog owner and see if he has any homeowner's or renter's liability insurance.

    However, you have to be careful here.  Some people deny they have a liability insurance policy when in fact they do have it. Therefore, you should not solely rely on the dog owner's statement that he or she does not have a liability insurance policy.  You should contact a California dog bite lawyer for this; for example, I can hire a company to research and find out about any insurance policies and how to best navigate a dog bite claim when insurance is difficult to find.
     

  • LEGAL CONSEQUENCES: In California, what will happen to the dog that bites someone causing bodily injury?

    In most California dog bite cases, if the dog bite is the dog's first bite, then nothing happens to the dog except that it might be quarantined for a few days (frequently at the dog owner's home). If the attack is brutal or other conditions are met, however, the local animal control authority or court may issue orders requiring that the dog be confined or destroyed.  If it is the dog's second bite, then it is usually "put down" since public policy dictates it is a danger to society.
     

  • LEGAL EXPERIENCE: Is your San Diego California Dog Bite injury law practice experienced enough to help me with my dog bite injury case?


    I have help many satisfied California dog bite victims from the San Diego, Riverside, and Orange County areas.  In San Diego County, I have helped dog bite victims from Chula Vista, El Cajon, La Mesa, Oceanside, and Carlsbad areas.  I have been licensed to practice law in California since 1999 and I help all dog bite injured clients on a contingency fee basis.  This means, if I do not successfully resolve your dog bite case then all my legal work is free of charge.

  • DOG BITE LAWSUIT: Does a dog bite injury justify a legal claim or lawsuit in California?

    Yes, depending on the injuries.  If you sustained minor to major injuries from a California dog bite, then yes, a legal claim or a lawsuit in some cases is justified.  Recent statistics suggest a rise in California dog bites, and sadly, most or a majority of victims tend to be children.

  • CA DOG BITE LAWS: Are there "Dog Bite Statutes" or "Dog Bite Laws" in the State of California?

    Yes, there are.  All dog bites are covered under California State law.  The laws are designed to make dog owners responsible for the actions of their dogs and if they bite, they are held to high standard of care known as "strict liability."  You only need to prove, as the dog bite victim, that the dog owner's dog bit you and you sustained injury.  There are only narrow exceptions a dog owner can escape legal fault in California.
     

  • DOG BITE LAW: Is California's dog bite laws strict and enforceable when it comes to a dog bite?

    Yes they are!  Be wary if you are dog owner in the State of California.

    All dog bites are covered under California State law, and the laws are designed to make dog owners responsible for the actions of their dogs and if they bite, they are held to high standard of care known as "strict liability."  You only need to prove, as the dog bite victim, that the dog owner's dog bit you and you sustained injury.  There are only narrow exceptions a dog owner can escape legal fault in California.

  • LAWSUIT: In filing a California dog bite lawsuit, what is the first thing that needs to be done?

    A dog bite lawsuit requires first consulting with an experienced California dog bite lawyer.   I offer FREE books to anyone injured in California to help them make a decision on their injury case BEFORE they call a lawyer.  Just check out my website how you can get valuable FREE legal information.  Regarding California dog bites, I can help you attain your personal injury settlement; I can also guide you through litigation as we have other victims of dog bites that I have helped over the years!

  • LAWSUIT: Is litigation (the necessity of filing a lawsuit) very common in a California dog bite case?

    Many dog bite claims and resulting litigation (filing a lawsuit) from dog bites are not uncommon.   Sometimes I have to file a lawsuit because the dog owner fails to take responsibility for the dog bite in tendering over their home owner's insurance.  Sometimes it is difficult to ascertain the homeowner's insurance through other means, and a lawsuit will force a party to notify their homeowner's liability policy.
     

  • FAMILY DOG: Is it possible for family members of a fatal dog bite or dog attack pursue a legal claim in California?

    Yes. In California, fatal dog attacks do occur, and families of victims can file a lawsuit and pursue litigation under California law.