Dog Bite Injuries
Were you attacked by a dog in Southern California?
Dog Bite Attorney Los Angeles with over 80 million dogs in the United States, it’s not surprising that at least 4.5 million dog bites occur every year. The California dog bite statute holds dog owners responsible for bodily harm or property damage caused by their dogs. It is no defense that the dog owner had no reason to know of the dog’s aggressive tendencies – he is strictly liable for bite injuries caused by his dog.
If you were bitten by a dog, it is important that you retain legal counsel in an effort to be provided the highest amount of legal compensation available for your injuries. Dog bite victims, especially children, are particularly susceptible to disfiguring face injuries, debilitating scarring, damage to the nervous system and lifelong emotional trauma. Victims of serious attacks require immediate medical treatment such as stitches or surgery, and medical bills can add up quickly.
Insurance Applies to Dog Bites. You Probably Won’t Have to Bill Your Neighbor
Hire the top-rated Dog Bite Attorney. The average dog bite claim amounts to tens of thousands of dollars. If you were bitten by your neighbor’s dog, you might feel reluctant to file a claim because you consider him a friend and you don’t want to drive him into bankruptcy.
Rest at ease. Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies generally cover dog bites – in fact, about one-third of all homeowner’s insurance policy payouts arise from dog bites. Your neighbor will probably only have to pay the deductible, and he might not even be subject to higher premiums. Some insurance policies, however, exclude coverage of dog bites by high-risk breeds such as pit bulls and Rottweilers
What are the most common defenses against dog bite claims?
California law allows at least three defenses:
1. The victim provoked the dog into the attack
2. The victim was trespassing at the time of the attack
3. The victim was bitten by a police or military dog acting in the line of duty.
Will my claim be any different if my injury was caused by scratching or knocking me over, rather than biting me?
Yes. If the injury was caused by some act other than a bite, you will have to prove that the dog owner was negligent in order to win. You might, for example, prove that the dog had attacked someone before and that the owner knew about the attack.
Can criminal charges be filed against a dog owner for a dog bite? If so, can I still pursue my claim for compensation?
Criminal charges can be filed against a dog owner if the dog meets the legal definition of a “dangerous dog” or a “vicious dog” based on its past history, and it seriously injures or kills someone due to the owner’s negligence. You can still proceed with a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit even if the owner is also facing criminal charges.
I am planning on settling my claim out of court. Do I still need a dog bite lawyer?
Yes, absolutely. The insurance company is not your friend – the more money it pays you, the lower its profits will be. You can expect the insurance company to dispatch an expert negotiator who will look for any excuse to deny or minimize your claim and try to trick you into making a statement that will harm your claim. I have been there many times before, and I know all the tricks
Your Choice of Dog Bite Attorney is Important
My reputation as a personal injury and dog bite injury lawyer over the past 16 years is beyond question. As a matter of fact, in 2014 Consumer Lawyers of California named me Street Fighter of the Year. Insurance companies know about this, and in almost all cases they will agree to a private settlement rather than going to court against me.
You Don’t Need Any Money to Hire Us
We work on a contingency fee arrangement, which means that you will never owe me a dime unless we win a verdict or settlement for you. If you do win (like well over 90 percent of my clients do), my fee will be calculated as a percentage of the amount you recover.
Start the Process Today - California allows only a limited time for you to file a dog bite accident lawsuit. Once this deadline expires, your claim will die, you won’t even be able to negotiate a private settlement. If you need a California dog bite law firm, your search can stop here.
Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney
What To Do If A Dog Bites You in California
Dogs are also referred to as man's best friend. Even though most dogs are sweet, hundreds of thousands of people are bitten by them every month, leaving victims with physical and emotional wounds that last a lifetime. If a dog bites you or a family member and cuts the skin, taking the right precautions will mean the difference between rapid recovery and a serious infection — and it can also help you get the reimbursement later. In general, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible, find and preserve facts in your case, and contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
A dog bite attorney understands the devastating effects a dog bite can have on your life. Even a mild physical wound from a bite can leave a permanent emotional scar. More serious issues are much more difficult to resolve. Although the care and trauma can last weeks, months, or even a lifetime, you must know what to do immediately after an assault. These precautions will help you avoid physical harm and may even save your life.
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite in California
It can be difficult to deal with the effects of a dog bite. You may be uncertain what to do if a dog bites you in some situations. Following a dog attack, there are a few things you should do right away.
Depending on the circumstances, you might need to:
Determine who owns the dog. If a dog escapes from your neighbor's home, it is your neighbor's duty to catch the dog and confine it. If you don't recognize your neighbor, inquire about their name and contact details. Ask about vaccine reports as well. If the dog that bit you belongs to a friendly neighbor or someone you've never met, you should not discuss the attack with the owner.
Make a call to animal control. It is strongly advised that any dog bite be reported to the local rabies control authority.
Seek medical attention for your injuries. Get medical help right away if you've been hurt. Dog bites, in particular, are risky since they carry a high infection risk. You must obey all of your doctor's instructions and keep all of your care paperwork. This will aid in the documentation of your injuries as you plan to file a compensation claim.
Collect proof of the attack. Take pictures of the dog, the attack site, and your injury if you are able. Get the names and contact details of any witnesses so your counsel can follow up with them later. Keep any ripped or bloody clothes you were wearing, as they may be used as evidence.
Sadly, filing a compensation claim can be time-consuming, complicated, and frustrating. The insurance company for the dog owner will do all they can to reduce your payout or refuse your claim entirely.
Understanding California's Dog Bite Laws
hey say that a dog is man’s best friend. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. According to statistics, there were more than 40 dog bite related fatalities in the United States in 2014. Data showed that 48% of fatality victims were 13 years and younger and 52% were adults. Per the CDC, the frequency of dog attacks is even higher, with nearly 4.5 million people being bitten annually. For these victims, the injuries can be severe.
Some of the common injuries sustained in a dog bite or animal attack include:
- Puncture wounds;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Nerve damage; and
- Emotional damage.
Even worse is the fact that seeking financial compensation is not always a clear process following a serious animal attack. Who you can sue and how you can pursue a claim may be unclear and may leave you with a lot of questions. That is why we encourage you to contact our Whittier dog bite attorney as soon as possible. With more than a decade of experience, no case is too big or too small for us. We are here to help you!
3 Common Dog Bite Law Questions
- Who can I sue for a dog bite?
California is a statutory strict liability state, meaning dog owners are held strictly liable should their animal bite another. This, however, may not apply if the victim was trespassing on their land, if they were provoking the dog, or if they were hurt by their employer’s dog while working.
- What if the dog didn’t have a history of violence?
California’s dog bite law does not take into consideration whether or not the dog had a history of “former viciousness.”
- How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
The state of California has a two year statute of limitations on personal injury cases.
Physical & Emotional Scars from Dog Bites
In California, especially Los Angeles, we love our dogs. We bring them to restaurants, clubs, hikes, and more! And while most dogs are harmless, some are not. In the instance that you are bit by a vicious dog, know that you have legal rights. Dog owners whose dogs bite humans may be subject to criminal penalties and/or civil fines and litigation.
California Dog Bite Law
In California, a victim of a dog bite may able to receive money for damages -- or injuries -- from the attack. A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who practices "dog bite law" will evaluate your claims and help you determine what type of financial compensation you could recover.
Paying for Injuries After a Dog Bite
The types of physical injuries a person can suffer from a dog bite are countless and many victims of dog attacks need medical treatment. The severity of injuries can range from deep lacerations requiring stitches to reconstructive surgery performed by a plastic surgeon. Many dog attack victims suffer from permanent scars or other physical injuries. A personal injury lawyer can help recover damages for these obvious injuries.
Dog bites can also result in a number of emotional injuries, such as trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A person can develop PTSD from any situation involving physical harm or the threat of physical harm, and this includes dog bites. Common symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, flashbacks, irrational fears or thoughts, problems with memory, emotional numbness, and depression, guilt, anxiety or withdrawal. In children, symptoms may include bedwetting, acting out, and losing the ability to speak.
Emotional scars can last a lifetime and feel just as painful as physical scars. If you have or a loved one has been bitten by a dog bite, seek professional help. Similarly, if your child has been bitten by an aggressive dog, pay attention to how your child feels and what he or she talks about. Treatment from a mental health professional may be warranted.
When Does a Dog Bite in California Become Criminal?
Under California law, dog bites are taken very seriously. Unlike some states, which offer a "first bite" rule for dangerous dogs, California dog bite law is based on strict liability. If a dog bites you, even if it has never bitten someone else before, it is liable for the injuries it causes.
People who are bitten by dogs can suffer from a variety of injuries, including permanent scarring or disfiguration, infections, amputations, emotional trauma, and more. While dog bites are generally handled through California civil law, there are some cases involving dog bites that are considered criminal matters. These criminal charges can be in addition to a civil lawsuit. Generally speaking, it is up to state officials to determine whether they will charge the dog owner with a criminal offense.
Criminal Charges Are Filed by the State
If you or someone you love were attacked and bitten by a dog in California, your first course of action is to call the police and report the incident. Proper documentation alerts state officials of an animal that could be vicious and helps your case should you choose to file a civil lawsuit, or should a criminal lawsuit be filed. If you elect to file a civil lawsuit, keep in mind that you only have a limited amount of time (known as a statute of limitation) to do so.
Vicious and Dangerous Dogs in California
California dog bites may fall under the category of criminal if the dog falls under the state’s legal definition of dangerous or vicious. According to state law, a dangerous dog has acted in an aggressive manner that caused another person to defend themselves at least two other times in the last 3 years while the dog wasn’t on its own property. What's more, if the dog bites another person without being provoked, even if the injury wasn’t severe, it could be deemed dangerous. If the dog killed, bit, or injured another domestic animal at least twice during the last 3 years while it wasn’t on the owner’s property, it could also be deemed dangerous.
A dog may be considered vicious in California if the dog's owner was convicted of an offense related to dog fighting, if the dog was aggressive and seriously injured or killed someone, or is listed as a dangerous dog and the owner has not followed the precautions listed by the Food and Agriculture Code. What's more, a dog owner could be charged with a felony -- if a dangerous or vicious dog is allowed by its owner to roam free or the owner fails to provide reasonable care related to restraining the dog and the dog kills a person who took reasonable steps to protect themselves in that situation.
Financial Compensation for Dog Bites - Civil lawsuits can be filed against an owner if their dog bites someone and causes an injury. For a free, no obligation consultation about your dog bite case, contact the experienced attorneys at Ghozland Law Firm today.