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Eye Injuries Due To Dog Bites:What You Need To Know

Dog Bite Eye Injury Claims
Dog Bite Eye Injury Claims

Suffering an eye injury from a dog bite can be a traumatic, painful experience with severe consequences. In addition to excruciating physical pain, dog bite victims may experience temporary or permanent vision impairment, require multiple surgeries and medications, and accumulate substantial medical expenses.

If you or a loved one suffered an eye injury from a dog bite in California, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options to recover compensation. California adheres to strict liability laws when it comes to dog bites, making owners financially responsible for the injuries and damages their dogs inflict.

In this guide, our dog bite lawyers will cover the common eye injuries caused by dog bites, California’s liability laws, how to file an insurance claim and lawsuit, and the damages victims can recover through legal action. Arm yourself with knowledge so you can take the necessary steps to receive a fair settlement.

Common Dog Bite Eye Injuries

Dog bites can lead to severe, vision-threatening injuries to the eyes and surrounding structures. Some common eye injuries from dog bites include:

Corneal Laceration

One of the most serious eye injuries. The dog’s teeth can penetrate the clear, protective corneal tissue, leading to a severe laceration or puncture wound. This often requires surgery to repair the corneal defect and prevent permanent vision damage or blindness.

Penetrating Injury

If the bite penetrates past the cornea into the inner chambers of the eye, it allows fluid leakage and can cause the eye to rupture. This is an ophthalmic emergency requiring immediate surgery to have any chance of saving vision.

Eyelid Laceration

A dog bite easily tears the delicate eyelid skin and muscle. Lacerations can cause disfigurement and impaired eyelid movement. Multiple rounds of plastic surgery may be needed for proper eyelid function and cosmesis.

Blunt Trauma/Proptosis

The mechanical force of a dog bite can fracture orbital bones and push the eyeball forward (proptosis). This requires urgent reduction of the proptosis and orbital reconstruction to avoid compressive optic nerve damage and vision loss.

These severe eye traumas often lead to hospitalization, multiple surgeries, specialist consultations, medications, and extended recovery time. Victims endure excruciating pain and emotional distress. Many endure permanent impairment or disfigurement despite treatment.

Dog Owner Liability in California

In California, dog owners are held to a strict liability standard for dog bites and injuries according to Civil Code 3342. This means owners are liable regardless of whether they knew or could have foreseen their dog biting someone. The only exceptions are:

  • If the victim of the bite was breaking the law or trespassing on private property when it happened.
  • If the victim antagonized or provoked the dog through abuse or other conduct.

Otherwise, the owner faces automatic liability as long as the dog bite happened in a public area where the victim was lawfully present.

This no-fault system helps protect public safety by incentivizing owners to control dangerous dogs. It also ensures victims have a clear path to recover damages for their injuries.

Seeking Compensation After a Dog Bite Eye Injury

If you suffered an eye injury from a dog bite in California, you have legal grounds to receive compensation for your damages. There are two main options for securing a settlement:

File an Insurance Claim

Liability coverage for dog bites is typically included in renters’ and homeowners’ insurance policies. You can file a claim with the dog owner’s insurance company to seek reimbursement for medical bills, lost income, and other damages up to the policy limits.

This is often the quickest way to get compensated without a lengthy legal battle. However, insurance companies try to minimize payouts, so you may not receive full compensation. Having an attorney negotiate the settlement can greatly increase your payout.

Pursue a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If the insurance settlement does not sufficiently cover your damages, or the owner is uninsured, then filing a personal injury lawsuit allows you to fight for maximum compensation. Proving liability is straightforward under California’s strict laws.

However, calculating and proving the full value of your economic and non-economic damages requires legal experience. An experienced dog bite attorney can build the strongest case on your behalf during settlement negotiations or in court.

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

Dog bite victims can claim compensation for a wide range of monetary and non-monetary damages. An eye injury victim may be entitled to recover:

  • Medical expenses – All past and future bills related to hospitalization, surgeries, medications, treatments, and appointments with eye doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, etc.
  • Lost income – Wages lost due to missing work during recovery. This may include reduced earnings if the injury caused permanent disability or impairment.
  • Pain and suffering – Monetary damages accounting for the physical pain, discomfort, and mental/emotional trauma endured. Typically, the largest damage component.
  • Loss of companionship – Compensates for losing participation in normal activities with family and friends during recovery.
  • Property damage – Reimbursement for clothing, eyewear, or other personal property damaged in the bite.
  • Punitive damages – Extra penalties levied to punish gross negligence or reckless behavior by the owner. Requires proof they knew the dog was dangerous but failed to restrain it properly.

The total settlement or court award can easily exceed $100,000 or more when eye injuries are involved. An experienced California dog bite lawyer can evaluate the full worth of your claim and fight for maximum compensation.

Hiring a Dog Bite Attorney

Pursuing fair compensation after a dog bite eye injury is extremely challenging without legal help. An attorney brings several advantages:

  • They handle correspondence, negotiations, and legal filings so you can focus on recovery.
  • They determine what evidence is needed to prove liability and damages. This may include medical records, reports from eye doctors, employment records, receipts, and witness statements.
  • They understand the full scope of damages you can claim and use proven methods to calculate their monetary value.
  • They aggressively negotiate directly with insurance companies to secure a fair settlement. They’re not hesitant to take the case to court for a jury verdict if needed.
  • They take the case on a contingency basis, meaning legal fees are only paid from the settlement amount after you win compensation.

Contact an experienced California dog bite lawyer for a free consultation to get started. They will review the details of your eye injury, help you understand your legal options, and build a strong claim to maximize your compensation. You can concentrate on getting better while holding the careless owner completely responsible if you have a lawyer on your side.

Pursue Maximum Compensation – Contact LA Dog Bite Law

If you suffered a dog bite eye injury in California, contact our dedicated attorneys at LA Dog Bite Law. Our experience, negotiation skills, and willingness to go to court give injured victims the best chance at recovering maximum compensation under California’s strict liability laws.

Don’t wait – contact us today for a consultation. The sooner you contact them, the sooner they can start fighting for the settlement you deserve.

How to Report a Dog Bite Near You

Our reach extends throughout California, from the sunny streets of San Diego to the bustling cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, and beyond. We’re here to help victims across the state report dog bites, find the legal support they need, and ensure that justice is served. By reporting dog bites and seeking assistance, we’re all doing our part in making our communities safer while helping victims get back on their feet.

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