Barry Zimmerman – A dog bite lawyer with one of the biggest settlements in El Dorado County

When “man’s best friend” is no longer, having a dog bite lawyer on your side is a must to ensure that you receive the care and settlement that you are entitled to after an attack. Hiring a dog bite attorney can mean the difference between never recovering any money to collecting for scars, trauma, plastic surgery, fear of rabies and all the harm caused by a serious dog bite attack.

Let’s walk through a few of the dog bite injury cases we’ve handled over the years in El Dorado and Placer counties.

Dog bite injury case studies

Case study #1: Dog Bite at El Dorado county horse ranch

A man and his family were at a horse ranch in El Dorado County looking to buy a horse.  The man bent down to pet the ranch owner’s Rottweiler.  The Rottweiler bit the man in the face in front of the man’s wife and children.  The man’s lip was severed and he suffered permanent disfigurement.  The man was a musician and would not be able to play the flute again.  

After reconstructive plastic surgery and psychological counseling, we helped this musician successfully recover past and future medical expenses, past and future wage losses and lifetime damages for pain and suffering.  His wife successfully recovered damages for the loss of her husband’s help at home and in her life.  His wife and his children also successfully recovered damages for the emotional distress of having witnessed dad get attacked by the Rottweiler. 

This dog bite accident case led to one of the largest dog attack-related settlements in El Dorado County and we’re proud to have provided the representation. 

Case study #2: Auburn neighborhood jogger dog attack

A woman out jogging in her rural neighborhood in Auburn was attacked by an unleashed Golden Retriever that was left unattended.  The dog severed the jogger’s Achilles tendon, resulting in surgery, loss of income, and a lengthy rehabilitation.  Even though the dog had no history of biting or aggressive behavior, the dog owner was strictly liable for our client’s injuries and his homeowners insurance policy paid a six-figure settlement without us having to file a lawsuit.

Case study #3: Roseville PG&E meter reader bit by vicious dog

A PG&E employee was reading meters as part of his job in Roseville.  A German Shepherd sunk its teeth into our client and viciously bit him on the arm while he was on the property reading the utility meter. The dog bite caused severed tendons and required extensive surgery. This meant the employee was not able to work for some time and lost income. He had residual loss of strength and feeling in his arm and hand after surgery. We successfully reached a settlement with cash up front for all of his out of pocket losses and structured the balance of his settlement to be paid out over the rest of his working life.  

We have handled similar cases for postal workers, guiding our clients through both the workers compensation system and the personal injury claim process.

Who is liable for damages in a dog bite case?

A dog owner is strictly liable for the damages suffered by the victim of a dog bite — even if the dog had no history of biting anyone before.  This is true even if the dog owner had no reason to think his dog could be dangerous.  To recover damages, all that needs to be established is proof of dog ownership and proof of injury.

Can landlords be liable for dog bites by a renter’s dog?

Apartment renters often do not have insurance.  If a dog owner has no insurance coverage and no assets, the victim of a dog bite may be unable to collect their damages.  

If however, the dog was known to be vicious, and a landlord permitted the dog to live at the complex, the landlord may be liable for the dog bite victim’s damages.  

This is where a dog bite injury lawyer’s experience and skill comes into play. When a tenant makes a claim against a landlord for a dog bite attack, we’ll need to get rental records, veterinarian records, animal control records and obtain statements from other tenants to establish a viable case.

What about other animal attack cases?

Although the most common, dogs are not the only pets that can attack and injure.  Dog bite cases are specifically covered by California law.  No other pet has its own specific statute.  However, any homeowner or pet owner would face liability for failure to protect or warn a person who is bitten or injured by an animal other than a dog. We have helped people thrown from horses when the owner failed to warn of dangerous propensities.  Cat scratches and bites are also common and subject the owner to liability when there is a failure to warn.

How will leash laws affect my case?

Even if a dog is on a leash, if you are bitten, the dog owner is strictly liable.  If you, as the victim of the dog bite, were in some way responsible for the bite, you may still be eligible for a settlement, though it would be reduced.

What will happen to the dog that bit me?

The dog will be quarantined immediately after the bite and remained quarantined until vaccination records can be verified.  In serious dog bite cases, the animal may have to be put down and there may be a hearing before a judge to determine if that should happen.

What if the dog belongs to a friend or family member?

If you are a family member living in the same household, most homeowner’s insurance policies prevent you from collecting money from the insurance carrier.  If the dog belongs to a friend, you are entitled to collect all of your damages.  The same is true if the dog belongs to a family member who does not live with you.

What should I do if I am bitten by a dog?

1. Make a report to animal control

You’ll want to make this report no matter how small or big a bite you suffer.  The dog will likely need to be placed under quarantine for observation and to confirm vaccinations.  

2. Take photos of your dog attack injuries. 

Take pictures of the wound as soon as possible and continue to take photos as the dog bite injury heals.  

3. Find out information about the owner and the dog

Find out the name and address of the dog owner and the name and breed of the dog.

4. See your doctor.

You should always see a doctor, for your health and for your case.  Antibiotics typically need to be prescribed.  

5. Contact us for a free consultation.

After you have received medical attention, contact my Auburn (530-823-0705) or Roseville office (916-884-0705) for a free consultation. As a dog bite lawyer for 30+ years with one of the largest local settlements, I have the personal injury experience and expertise to take on your case.

6. Ask us about a plastic surgery consult.

If you think there will be a scar, our office can have you evaluated by a plastic surgeon.  Before a plastic surgeon can give an opinion, your wound must be given sufficient time to heal.

We are experienced dog bite attorneys

Over the last 30 years, I have represented utility workers, postal workers, joggers, pedestrians, friends, family members, and neighbors who have suffered serious dog bite injuries.  If you or someone you know has been bitten give me a call at my Auburn (530-823-0705) or Roseville (916-884-0705) office or fill out my contact form for a free consultation.