TOP PERSONAL INJURY FIRM IN LOS ANGELES

Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney

California has uniquely strict dog bite laws. When a dog bite occurs in California, the dog’s owner is legally responsible for any injuries caused by the bite in most scenarios. While many states give pet owners who didn’t know their dog could be dangerous a pass, California does not. Legally, it does not matter whether or not a California pet owner knew their dog could be dangerous. As long as a dog bite injury victim was in a public place or lawfully in a private space at the time of the incident, the dog’s owner will almost always be liable for the victim’s injuries.

California’s strict liability dog bite laws will generally work in an accident victim's favor, allowing them to get justice more easily. Dog attacks can cause severe injuries, physical disfigurement, serious illness, mental trauma, and even death. California's strict liability canine bite laws can help dog attack victims recover compensation for the damages they’ve incurred due to the attack, including compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.

If you or a loved one has sustained injuries after a dog attack, contact LA Lawyers Group today. Our dedicated team of dog attack attorneys is here to help you recover the damages you’re legally entitled to. Note that all of our personal injury attorney services, including our dog bite attorney services, are offered on a contingency basis. You will never pay legal fees until we win or settle your case.

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Dog Bite Law in California

Dog Bite Law in California

California’s dog bite laws are laid out in California Civil Code Section 3342, which states:

“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

California law ensures that dog owners are liable for their dog’s bite in most situations. However, there are some circumstances in which an owner would not be liable. For example, California’s dog bite statute does not apply to bites from dogs that were engaged in military or police work when the victim was bitten. Dog bite victims are also usually not entitled to damages if they were trespassing on private property, if they deliberately provoked the dog, or if the dog was protecting their owner or another individual in a self-defense situation. Additionally, it’s important to note that California’s dog bite laws are also only related to dog bites, not dog attacks or accidents that don’t involve a bite.

Summary: When Can You Sue for a Dog Bite in California?

To summarize, a dog’s owner will generally be liable for injuries caused by their dog’s bite if:

  • The injury victim was bitten while on public property or while lawfully on private property

A dog bite victim will usually not be able to hold a dog owner liable for their dog’s bite if: 

  • The injury victim deliberately provoked the dog
  • The injury victim was trespassing on private property
  • The dog was engaged in police or military work during the bite incident
  • The dog was protecting their owner or another person per California’s self-defense laws
Damages available in dog bite accident cases

Damages Available in Dog Bite Accident Cases

The damages that are available in a dog bite accident case will depend on the specific damages a dog bite victim sustains due to their injury. A dog bite victim may be entitled to a variety of compensatory damages, such as compensation for:

  • Medical Bills
  • Physical Therapy
  • Reconstructive Surgery
  • Psychological Counseling 
  • Lost Wages
  • Lost Earning Capacity 
  • Emotional Distress
  • Scarring
  • Property Loss
  • Loss of Limbs

In rare cases, the victim of a dog bite may be also able to recover punitive damages on top of compensatory damages. Punitive damages are monetary damages that are meant to punish a defendant who has engaged in particularly malicious or egregious behavior. Punitive damages can only be awarded by a judge. To recover punitive damages, a dog bite victim will have to prove in court that the defendant willfully and consciously disregarded their rights or safety. 

In cases where a dog bite leads to a person’s death, the injury victim’s family may be able to recover damages on their loved one’s behalf. This particular type of dog bite case would fall under California’s wrongful death law, so the decedent’s family would be able to file a wrongful death claim.

How can a Los Angeles dog bite attorney help a dog bite victim?

How Can a Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney Help a Dog Bite Victim?

A Los Angeles dog bite attorney can help a dog bite victim pursue justice and fight for their legal right to receive an appropriate amount of compensation for their losses. Every dog bite injury case is different, so exactly how an attorney may help a dog bite victim will depend on their specific case. A dog bite attorney may: 

  • Conduct an Investigation of the Incident 
  • Obtain Important Records
  • Establish an Insurance Claim
  • Negotiate With Insurance Companies 
  • File a Dog Bite Lawsuit 
  • Build a Strong Case
  • Collect the Victim’s Settlement or Judgement

Typically, a dog bite case is settled with insurance companies. While a dog bite victim certainly can file an insurance claim on their own, we recommend using a lawyer to communicate with insurance companies, especially in the case of more serious injuries. 

Having a lawyer as your advocate can significantly improve the outcome of an injury case. Insurance companies count on the fact that injury victims don’t fully understand the type of compensation they may be entitled to. Accordingly, insurance companies frequently provide injury victims with lowball settlement offers. However, a lawyer that has experience negotiating dog bite settlements will understand the exact type of compensation their client may be entitled to. A dog bite lawyer can aggressively negotiate with insurance companies in order to ensure that their client receives fair compensation. 

While most dog bite injury cases are settled with insurance companies, sometimes an insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith. In this case, a dog bite lawyer can file a lawsuit in order to pursue appropriate compensation.

What Should You Do After You’ve Been Bitten By a Dog?
Seek Medical Treatment
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, the first thing you should do is seek medical treatment. Even if you think your dog bite isn’t severe, know that dog bites post a serious infection risk. It’s always important to contact a physician after being bitten by a dog. If your dog bite injury is severe and you need urgent medical attention, call an ambulance immediately or go to an emergency room as quickly as you can.
Gather Documentation
After sustaining a dog bite, it’s important to gather certain information. You or a loved one should try to identify the dog that attacked you and locate the dog’s owner. If there were witnesses to the attack, take down their contact information. Additionally, you or a loved one should take photos documenting the incident. Take photos of any visible injuries you may have, of any torn or bloodied clothing, of the accident site, and of the dog itself (when possible).
Report the Attack
Whenever someone is bitten by a dog in the State of California, that incident must be reported to local authorities. After you’ve been bitten, report the dog bite to either county animal control or your local sheriff’s department. When you report the incident, you may be asked for some information, such as a description of the dog, the owner’s information, and the location of the bite incident. Be sure to have any applicable information on hand when you report the attack.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyer
After being injured in a dog attack, you may be dealing with severe pain, steep medical bills, and emotional trauma. You may also be dealing with pressure from an insurance company, which could be requesting that you give a statement or that you settle right away.

The time immediately following an accident is extremely stressful, but don’t let an insurance company pressure you into speaking with them before you contact a lawyer. It’s critical that you contact an experienced dog bite lawyer before you speak to any insurance company, since a skilled attorney will be able to dramatically increase your chances of having a successful claim. A dog bite lawyer can help you preserve evidence, locate witnesses, identify defendants, and speak with insurance companies on your behalf in order to protect your best interests.

Can a Dog Bite Lawyer Help if My Dog Was Attacked?

If your dog was attacked by another dog, this doesn’t fall under California’s dog bite laws. However, because California classifies dogs as personal property, you may be able to pursue compensation for property damage if your dog is attacked by another dog. If your dog was hurt by another dog, one of our personal injury lawyers may be able to assist you in pursuing compensation for your property damage.

Can a dog bite lawyer help if my dog was attacked?
What are my legal options in cases of dog attacks with no biting?

Legal Options in Cases of Dog Attacks With No Biting

California’s strict liability dog bite laws only apply in cases where a person is bitten during a dog attack. However, if you are injured in a dog attack that didn’t involve biting, you may still be able to pursue damages in cases of negligence. If you can prove that a dog owner’s negligence led to the animal attack or failed to prevent an attack, you may be able to hold them liable for your damages under personal injury law. 

If you’ve been injured in a dog attack in Los Angeles that did not involve biting, contact LA Lawyers Group for a free case evaluation. Our personal injury attorneys can help you understand the options that are available to you according to the circumstances of your injuries and the attack.

What Happens To a Dog That Bites You?

In California, dog bites must be reported to local health officials, who will begin a mandatory quarantine process. This 10 day quarantine is designed to make sure a dog does not have rabies. Dogs that are considered low risk for rabies can sometimes be quarantined at home, while dogs that are considered high risk must be quarantined and monitored in confinement. Once it’s determined that a dog is healthy at the end of their quarantine, their quarantine can be lifted and they can return safely home if they were confined. 

Typically, dogs that bite people are not euthanized. However, in certain cases a euthenasia hearing can be initiated, which can end with a dog being put down. A euthenasia hearing can be called if:

  • A dog has bitten at least two people
  • A dog has bitten and seriously injured someone, and had been raised to fight or attack people

Essentially, a euthenasia hearing is held to determine whether or not a dog is a danger to the public. Anyone can initiate a euthenasia hearing, since it’s a matter of public health and safety. Most commonly, a euthenasia hearing will be initiated by either the dog bite victim, a member of law enforcement, an animal control officer, or a concerned neighbor. At a euthenaisa hearing, the person who initiated the hearing must prove that the dog is a danger to the public. A dog owner will have an opportunity to argue that their pet is not a danger to the public.

What happens to a dog that bites you?
What are the time limits in dog bite accident cases?

Time Limits in Dog Bite Accident Cases

Every state has a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time a victim has to file a personal injury claim, such as a dog bite claim. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years. So, if you’ve sustained injuries from a dog bite in California, you have two years from the time you were bitten to file a claim or a case.

Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been involved in a dog bite attack in Los Angeles, contact LA Lawyers Group to receive a free consultation. One of our knowledgeable, compassionate, and dedicated dog bite attorneys can provide you with a free case evaluation and work to protect your best interests.

Call our law firm today at (213)LAWYERS (529-9377) to receive your free, confidential consultation with one of our LA dog bite lawyers.

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