California Dog Bite Statute of Limitations
A dog attack has the potential to change your life, rendering you incapable of working and dependent on others for ongoing care. Furthermore, you might be mentally traumatized by the dog attack, adding even more metaphorical salt to what is likely quite the painful wound. Sadly, vicious dog attacks occur every single day. There is no guarantee justice will be served in the form of financial compensation unless you act in a timely manner. Below, we provide a look at the timeline for filing a lawsuit in the aftermath of a personal injury lawsuit.
Time is of the Essence
Recovering from a dog bite will take some time. Your first thoughts and actions will likely relate to your health yet your legal course of action is particularly important. To be more specific, the clock is ticking in the context of filing a personal injury lawsuit. Though you do not have to immediately assert your legal rights, it is in your interest to lean on a personal injury assistance to guide you through the legal system in a timely manner. Even if you are friends with the owner of the dog who attacked you, you should not delay hiring an attorney and taking legal action. Meet with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible and you will have done your part to meet the time-sensitive components necessary for a subsequent lawsuit.
Time is not on Your Side
The longer you wait to file a personal injury lawsuit in the aftermath of a dog bite, the more difficult it becomes to obtain financial compensation simply because waiting creates the impression you are not actually hurt to the extent claimed. It is quite possible you will miss the statute of limitations for filing such a lawsuit and end up with considerable injuries and no financial compensation. California law requires dog bite victims to file a claim within two years or less of the attack. This deadline is established by California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1.
California law also mandates dog owners honor their legal duty to prevent dog attacks against others. If such an attack occurs, the dog owner has the potential to be held strictly liable, meaning the owner of the animal can be held liable in accordance with theories of negligence. In short, dog bite victims have two years from the date of the attack to file a lawsuit and seek financial compensation for resulting injuries, ideally with the assistance of an accomplished personal injury attorney.
Delving Deeper Into the Timeline for a Dog Bite Lawsuit
Though a claim must be filed within two years of the date when the dog bite or other dog attack occurs, this does not mean the claim must be resolved in the same period of time. It is hypothetically possible for the dog bite victim to wait all the way up until the last day of the two-year window to file the claim and resolve it a day later, a month later or years later. What matters most is that the lawsuit is initiated prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations.
The Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Injuries Suffered by Children
People commonly question whether the two-year statute of limitations described above is applicable to kids who are victimized by dogs. Thankfully, the statute of limitations does not start right away. Rather, the statute of limitations is essentially tolled until the child reaches 18 years of age. Add on the two-year window of opportunity to file a lawsuit and the child victim has all the way up until his or her 20th birthday to file a claim in the quest to obtain financial compensation. However, there is no need to wait until the child is 18 or 20 years-old to file such a lawsuit. In general, it is sensible to get the ball rolling on such a personal injury lawsuit sooner rather than later as it makes it abundantly clear that you or your loved one are in pain and desperately need financial compensation to right this egregious wrong.