Most dogs are friendly, lovable family pets. Unfortunately, even dogs that are normally mild-mannered can inexplicably attack people. If you were bitten by someone else’s dog, you may be eligible to file an accident lawsuit in a Riverside-area court. Speak with a lawyer who handles accident cases to find out what you need to do to protect your legal rights and options.
What is strict liability?
California is a strict liability state with regard to dog bite cases. This means that defendants cannot successfully argue that they are not liable because the dog did not have a history of aggressive behavior. Defendants also cannot argue that they took all reasonable precautions to prevent injury to others. Regardless of these factors, the dog’s owner may still be held liable for the plaintiff’s losses.
Does it matter where the incident occurred?
Sometimes, yes. Dog attacks often occur in public places, such as when the owner is walking the dog. In this case, the injured party can usually file an accident lawsuit. If the dog attack occurred on private property, then your accident attorney will need to consider whether you were lawfully on that property. If so, you may have a claim.
Why does California have criminal and civil dog bite laws?
Although the strict liability statute does not require dogs to be considered vicious in order to hold owners liable, California does still have statutes that apply to dangerous and vicious dogs. In this state, a dangerous dog is one that has bitten another person in an unprovoked incident and caused an injury labeled as “non-severe.” A dangerous dog might have injured, bitten, or killed another domestic pet twice within 36 consecutive months while away from the dog’s owner’s property. Two separate acts of aggression toward humans within 36 months while away from the owner’s property also fit this category. A dog that is legally considered vicious has severely injured or killed a person, or is owned by someone with an illegal dog fighting conviction. If the owner of a dog legally considered dangerous or vicious fails to exercise reasonable care and the dog causes serious injuries or death, then the owner may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. However, criminal charges proceed separately from civil accident lawsuits. Even if the owner is facing criminal charges, he or she may still be held liable in civil court.
The loss of a loved one is never easy. But when the death occurs as the result of someone else’s negligence or reckless conduct, families may need to seek justice in court before finding a sense of closure. Contact an accident attorney in Riverside immediately if you suspect your loved one’s death may have been caused by someone else. In the meantime, you can watch this featured video for a quick introduction to the legal concept of wrongful death.
This professional explains that, in this type of accident lawsuit, it’s necessary to launch an investigation quickly to prevent evidence from disappearing. As an accident attorney investigates a wrongful death case, he or she will assess liability. Liability refers to which party may have been at fault for the accident. For example, if the death was caused by a defective product, the accident lawsuit may list the manufacturer as the defendant.
Driver distraction often forms the basis of car accident lawsuits filed in Riverside. Your car accident lawyer may uncover evidence that shows the other driver was texting or talking on a cellphone just before the crash. In addition to unlawful and dangerous cellphone use, there are many other causes of distracted driving. If surveillance footage of the crash scene is available, your car accident attorney can review it to determine if other distractions may have played a role. An accident lawyer can also interview passengers and other eyewitnesses.
During the course of this investigation, the accident lawyer may find that the other driver was reading a map or using a GPS device before the crash. Other forms of distraction include gawking at billboards, rubbernecking at roadside accidents, and talking with passengers. It’s not unheard of for some negligent drivers to apply makeup or eat while trying to drive. Adjusting the radio or CD player, and disciplining unruly children in the backseat are other common causes of driver distraction.
Police misconduct is a loaded subject that often triggers strong emotions. If you or a loved one has been a victim of police misconduct, you’ll need the legal advocacy of an experienced personal injury lawyer serving Riverside. There are some legal obstacles concerning police misconduct, as the concept of government immunity applies to the actions taken by police officers while on the job. However, as your personal injury lawyer can advise you, the state of California has recently passed a couple of laws that extend greater rights to citizens involved in these cases.
California Police Misconduct Laws
Your personal injury lawyer will need access to all available evidence to protect your legal rights. Fortunately, thanks to the signing of SB411, Californians can no longer be charged with obstruction of justice simply for photographing or recording police officers in public areas. Another recently signed bill, SB277, eliminates the role of grand juries in police misconduct trials. This is significant because some recent, notable police misconduct cases resulted in a grand jury’s decision not to issue an indictment. It’s commonly thought that grand juries do not offer sufficient transparency.
Government immunity means that a government entity cannot be sued, except in cases where permission is granted to do so. However, this legal doctrine does have its limits. It is possible for your personal injury lawyer to take legal action if the police officer has acted outside the scope of his or her reasonable duties, and/or violated a person’s constitutional rights.
Police Misconduct Cases
There are several types of police misconduct. A case might involve claims of false arrest, which occurs when a police officer arrests a suspect without having probable cause or a warrant. Excessive force means that a police officer used force that was unreasonable for the situation.
Police Misconduct Claims
There are strict deadlines to file police misconduct claims, which is one reason why you must consult a personal injury lawyer promptly. Your lawyer must file a notice of claim within six months for cases involving false arrest or false imprisonment. The notice of claim is essentially an official announcement of your intention to file a lawsuit. After filing the notice of claim, you’ll have up to a year from the date of the incident to file the lawsuit.
In 1994, the country was horrified to learn of the violent deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Simpson’s ex-husband, former NFL player O.J. Simpson, was acquitted of the murders. However, a civil lawsuit was brought against him and he was found liable for wrongful death. There are significant differences between verdicts in criminal cases and the outcomes of wrongful death accident lawsuits. If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s actions, you can consult an accident lawyer in Riverside to discuss how an accident lawsuit would proceed differently from a criminal case.
As you’ll learn when you watch this featured video, a verdict in a criminal trial is not binding on a civil accident lawsuit. One of O.J. Simpson’s defense lawyers points out that the burden of proof is different. In a criminal case, a defendant must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil accident lawsuit, a defendant must be found liable by a preponderance of the evidence.
If you are injured by a dog bite, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your medical costs and pain and suffering. To file an accident lawsuit in Riverside , contact an attorney with experience in personal injury lawsuits, who can evaluate your case and determine if negligence was to blame. If you are the victim of a dog attack, these tips will help you cope with the incident itself and the aftermath.
Don’t Run Away
If you think a dog is about to attack, resist the urge to run away. When you start running, the dog will begin to chase you, especially if you are running with your back towards the dog. It is better to stand perfectly still and keep your arms down by your side, even if the dog is approaching. Avoid eye contact and remain still. This could cause the dog to lose interest in you. If the dog appears to have diverted its attention to something else, back away slowly, still facing the dog. If your movement causes renewed aggression, stop again and remain still for longer.
Do Put Something Between You and the Dog
If a dog is biting you, grab anything you can to put between yourself and the dog. A jacket, purse, backpack, shoe, or even a stick could all work. Continue to try to do so until the dog stops biting you and latches on to something else. If you are knocked to the ground during the process, try to avoid excessive movement and noises, which will cause the dog to escalate the attack.
Do Protect Your Rights
After a dog attack, getting medical attention is the most important step to take. If your injuries allow, get the names and contact information of witnesses of the attack and of the dog owner. Photograph everything you can about the scene and the attack. Never speak with an insurance company or an attorney for the dog owner without your own lawyer. Contact an accident lawyer as soon as possible to determine if you have a case against the dog owner.
The loss of a family member is never easy to cope with. The knowledge that your loved one died due to the negligent or reckless actions of another person can add to your grief. You may wish to find closure by pursuing a wrongful death claim. Consider talking to a personal injury lawyer in Riverside about whether you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is the legal definition of “wrongful death?”
For legal purposes, a wrongful death occurs when someone dies as a direct result of another person’s or an entity’s negligence or wrongful act. Wrongful death lawsuits proceed in civil courts, not criminal courts. It is possible for the same incident to lead to both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit, which would proceed completely independent of each other. Even if a person is found not guilty in a criminal court, he or she may be held liable in a civil court.
Who is allowed to file a wrongful death claim?
The specifics of wrongful death claims vary from state to state. A personal injury lawyer can determine if you are eligible to file a claim. In California, the decedent’s spouse, domestic partner, and children are legally allowed to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. If the decedent does not have a surviving family member, any party may bring a wrongful death claim if that person would be entitled to inherit property from the decedent in accordance with the state’s intestate succession laws. Other parties may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit if they can prove they were financially dependent on the decedent. These people may include the decedent’s stepchildren, parents, putative spouse, and children of the putative spouse.
Is there a deadline for filing claims?
Yes. In litigation, this deadline is referred to as the statute of limitations. California law requires that a party file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the date of the decedent’s death. This is one reason why it’s important to contact a personal injury lawyer right away.
What damages may be recovered?
A personal injury lawyer can seek damages that would compensate the decedent’s estate for losses, including the funeral and burial expenses, hospital bills, and loss of earning capacity. The surviving family members may sue for the loss of love, affection, and guidance, along with the loss of anticipated financial support.
Recovering from a brain injury takes time, intensive therapy, and assistance from an accident lawyer in Riverside. As you’ll learn when you watch this video, a severe brain injury can affect virtually every area of your life. A car accident lawyer can file an accident lawsuit on your behalf to secure compensation for medical bills accrued as a result of someone else’s negligence.
With the compensation from an accident lawsuit, your family can cope with substantial expenses like hospitalization, long-term care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychotherapy. As this video explains, many people with severe brain injuries require long-term or even lifelong care. The functional limitations caused by a brain injury can also keep a patient out of the workforce permanently.
Tort law refers to the civil proceedings that can bring relief for plaintiffs who have suffered financial losses, physical injuries, or psychological injuries at the hands of the defendants. Tort actions are complex, and they require the skillful attention of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Riverside. Your personal injury lawyer can answer any questions you may have about tort law, including questions pertaining to intentional and negligent torts.
Most tort cases filed by personal injury lawyers are negligent torts. A negligent tort is a personal injury lawsuit filed by the person who was injured (the plaintiff) against the person who allegedly inflicted the injury (the defendant). The lawsuit does not allege that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff, but rather that the harm or financial losses were inflicted as a result of negligence. One common example is a car accident. Hypothetically, John is in a hurry to get home from work and he makes a right-hand turn at a red light without checking for oncoming traffic. Sally, who has right-of-way, drives through the intersection and strikes John’s car because she cannot stop in time. In this case, John could be held liable in a negligent tort. He didn’t intend for Sally’s car to collide with his, but the accident occurred anyway because he failed to check for oncoming traffic. A car accident is just one example of a negligent tort. These cases can include slip and fall incidents, dog bite cases, and nursing home neglect.
Intentional torts are less common than negligent torts. As the term implies, an intentional tort case may be filed by a personal injury lawyer when the defendant is accused of intentionally harming the plaintiff. Intentional tort cases can be tricky to litigate because they rely upon the establishment of the tortfeasor’s state of mind. A tortfeasor is a person who commits a tort or act of wrongdoing. One straightforward example of an intentional tort is assault. Using the previous example of the car accident, when Sally strikes John’s car, it is the result of John’s negligence. However, if John becomes enraged by the accident, gets out of his car, and punches Sally in the face, this is an intentional action that may be litigated in civil court. It should be noted that John may face criminal charges as well, which would proceed separately from an intentional tort claim filed by Sally.
Catastrophic injuries include amputations, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and other injuries that are expected to have permanent, life-changing effects. It’s never easy to move forward after a major injury, especially when the medical bills become overwhelming. After an accident, it’s in your best interests to consult a car accident attorney in Riverside. An accident lawsuit cannot reverse your health problems, of course, but it can provide the means to cope with your limitations.
Compensation from an accident lawsuit can allow you to not only pay your medical bills for surgeries and hospitalizations, but also to make arrangements for therapy sessions with physical, occupational, speech, and other therapists. A jury award or settlement from an accident lawsuit may also allow you to make any needed modifications to your home to improve its accessibility and help you overcome your physical challenges. Consider using some of your settlement or jury award to schedule psychological counseling sessions. A mental health counselor can guide you in developing the coping tools you’ll need to move forward.
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