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Rabies Exposurefrom Dog Bites

rabies exposure
rabies exposure

Being attacked and bitten by a dog can lead to significant physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial hardship. When a dog bite also transmits rabies, the consequences can be even more severe or life-altering.

As dog bite lawyers in Southern California handling these sensitive cases for many years, we have seen the pain endured by bite victims and their families firsthand. We aim to protect your rights, help you seek fair compensation, and give you the support and guidance to move forward.

Common Causes of Dog Bites and Rabies Transmission

While most dogs won’t bite, certain situations can provoke even well-trained pets to react defensively. Dog bites often occur when:

  • A canine feels threatened and bites in perceived self-defense.
  • Dogs aren’t correctly leashed or contained, allowing unwanted contact.
  • Children or adults unintentionally provoke or tease a dog.
  • Owners fail to train, socialize, or control aggressive dogs.

Veterinary rabies vaccines, on the other hand, make infection 100% preventable. However, rabies becomes fatal when transmitted to humans through a dog bite and not treated properly.

Sadly, negligent owners who fail to vaccinate their dogs cause nearly all rabies cases today.

Signs & Symptoms of Rabies Infection

Without treatment, rabies has a nearly 100% fatality rate once symptoms manifest. Unfortunately, rabies symptoms may not appear for weeks or months after a bite. Early signs include:

  • Fever
  • General weakness and discomfort
  • Headache
  • Nausea

As the virus spreads to the brain and spinal cord, more alarming symptoms arise, like anxiety, confusion, agitation, paralysis, hallucinations, abnormal behavior, and hydrophobia (fear of water).

Seek urgent medical care if you experience unusual symptoms after a dog bite or see signs of infection. Doctors can administer rabies treatment before it’s too late.

Your Legal Rights as a Dog Bite Victim

California has strict liability laws protecting dog bite victims. This doctrine states that dog owners are automatically liable for all damages caused by their pet’s bite, regardless of previous aggression shown or the owner’s negligence.

To successfully claim compensation after a dog bite, your attorney must prove:

  • The defendant owned or had custody of the dog that bit you.
  • The animal attacked you and caused bite injuries.

Since dog owners are strictly liable, you do not need to prove they were careless or intentionally caused harm. The focus instead is on the injuries inflicted by their dog. Exceptions exist if you trespassed, provoked the dog deliberately, or assumed the risk around a known aggressive dog.

Establishing Liability in Rabies Cases

While dog bite lawsuits focus on strict liability, rabies cases focus more on the owner’s negligence. To establish dog owner liability for rabies damages, we must prove:

  • A dog with rabies bit you.
  • The dog’s owner failed to vaccinate their pet against rabies as the law requires.
  • You suffered damages after contracting rabies.

Unlike a regular bite, rabies causes long-term medical implications, expensive treatment costs, potential wrongful death damages, lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and more.

Owners violating Los Angeles County leash or vaccination laws can be held liable through dog bite litigation. Exceptions exist only when you maliciously provoke the dog despite knowing its unvaccinated status.

Statute of Limitations to File Claim

Dog bite victims in California must typically file a personal injury lawsuit within two years after the bite or rabies transmission occurred. The deadline extends for minors under 18 years old, starting when they legally become adults. Other dates may also apply depending on specific circumstances.

Unlike some states with shorter limits than two years, California usually allows plenty of time to document the victim’s injuries, fully understand rabies implications, and negotiate an appropriate settlement before going to court.

We advise speaking to an attorney promptly while details are still fresh. Doing so facilitates collecting evidence, establishing the owner’s negligence early, communicating with homeowner’s insurance companies, calculating total current and future damages owed, and securing the compensation you deserve on the most favorable timeline.

Compensation Available in Dog Bite Injury Claims

As experienced Southern California dog bite lawyers, we have secured large settlements for clients bitten by dogs. Every case is different. However, when negotiations fail and we file a lawsuit, we work diligently to recover full compensation like:

  • Past and future Medical Bills: Emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, prescriptions, rabies treatment, counseling, physical therapy, etc.
  • Lost Income: For missed work due to recovery from injuries.
  • Loss of Earning Capacity: When disabilities exist that limit future earnings.
  • Property Losses: Repair or replace damaged belongings, clothing, etc.
  • Pain and Suffering Damages: Monetary compensation for trauma and emotional distress.
  • Punitive Damages: Extra penalties levied against grossly negligent owners.
  • Wrongful Death Damages: Support for families who lost a loved one to rabies.

Proper documentation strengthens the projected value of each damage category. We take great care to establish present and future costs so clients gain adequate resources to move forward positively.

Steps to Take After a Dog Attack

In the chaos following a dog bite, many victims forget to take steps that can impact their health and legal rights down the road. Here is what you should do:

Seek Medical Care

Seek medical treatment at an emergency room or urgent care to properly disinfect wounds, receive stitches if necessary, obtain medications, and start a medical record. Be sure to make follow-up appointments with your usual doctor.

Report Bite to Animal Control

Alert local animal control officers about the bite and describe the dog and owner details, such as name or contact information, when known. The dog may need to undergo a 10-day rabies quarantine.

Document Details of the Attack

Write down exactly when and where the bite happened, name and description of the dog, circumstances that provoked it, witness info, and aftermath details. Photos of injuries help, too. Thorough records strengthen your case.

Consult a Dog Bite Lawyer

Speaking with an attorney helps you understand your legal rights and options to recover damages. A lawyer can facilitate communication with insurance companies, pursue compensation for all losses, and file a lawsuit if warranted.

Why Choose Us? How We Can Help

With many dog bite lawsuits resolved, clients choose us because we offer genuine empathy and compassion for victims and conduct comprehensive case investigations, leaving no stone unturned.

LA Dog Bite Law assigns total liability and damages to owners and negotiates aggressively with insurance companies. And when necessary, we’ll file lawsuits when insurers or dog owners don’t voluntarily offer fair compensation.

Our personal injury law firm also retains medical experts like infectious disease doctors to prove rabies implications, and we operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no upfront fees.

Contact Our California Dog Bite Lawyers Today to Protect Your Rights

Be sure to seek experienced legal representation after a dog bite injury. Contact us now for your free consultation or request a callback online.

Our personal injury lawyers respond promptly to start helping Southern California dog bite and rabies victims fully recover when harmed by a negligent owner’s unvaccinated pet.

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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