California Dog Bite Victim?
Unfortunately, “man’s best friend” can be responsible for biting, causing serious injuries and even death to their victims. Los Angeles has been reported to have one of the highest rates of fatal dog bite injuries. Though any breed of dog can bite, the ones that seem to cause the most damage are German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, and Rottweilers. If you or a loved one has been injured or attacked by a dog, you can seek compensation for your injuries by consulting with a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer.
I have been a personal injury attorney for over 30 years and have successfully handled several dog bite injury cases. Under the law in California, you can recover damages from the home owner’s insurance of the person whose dog it was that attacked you. These types of cases can be rather complex which is why it is best to consult with an attorney who understands the law and has experience dealing with insurance adjusters. With my experience, I will:
- Obtain all the necessary evidence including photos of the injury
- Obtain the incident report and all related medical records
- Identify and investigate the dog owner and any other responsible parties
- Contact witnesses and obtain their statements
- Report the bite/attack to animal control services
- Contact insurance companies and file a dog bite claim
California Law Regarding Dog Bites and Attacks
California’s Civil Code Section 3342 (Liability of Dog Owner for Damages Suffered From Dog Bite) states:
“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while 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. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.”
Essentially, the code states that the dog owner is responsible for an attack regardless if it was in a private or public place. The only exceptions to this law would be if the dog was provoked by the injured victim or they were trespassing on the dog owner’s property.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Dog Bite in Los Angeles County?
California is a strict liability state which means the dog owner is almost always held responsible for their dog if they were to bite or attack someone. In some cases, dog sitters or caregivers can also be held responsible if they knew the dog had a previous history of biting or attacking people. Landlords can also be responsible if they were aware the dog was dangerous and posed a threat to human beings.
What are the Most Common Dog Bite Injuries?
Dog bite injuries can be life-changing and require extensive surgery. Not only can they cause physical and psychological damage but in some cases even death. I have clients who are traumatized and no longer want to ride their bikes or walk in their neighborhoods for fear that they may run across another loose dog. Some of the most common injuries dog victims sustain include:
- Face injuries
- Eye injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Broken teeth
- Bone fractures
- Skin infections
- Punctured or broken skin
- Nerve damageSoft tissue damage
- Head-On Collisions
What Types of Compensation Can Be Recovered for a Dog Bite?
What exactly can be recovered will depend on what injuries were sustained by the victim and other specifics of the case, The most common types of damages recovered include:
Typically speaking this will likely be the largest damage recovered which covers treatment from the EMTs at the scene, emergency room treatment, hospitalization, surgery, doctor visits, any physical or occupational therapy, and counseling.
Lost Income or Diminished Earning Capacity
Oftentimes, dog bite victims miss work because of the injuries they sustained which means they can recover wages for that time off. If the injuries sustained prevent them from returning to work or being able to do the job they once did, they may recover compensation for their lost earning capacity.
Loss of Consortium
In some cases, the spouse can recover damages for loss of consortium. This includes pain and suffering, inconvenience, and emotional distress.
Pain and Suffering
Being attacked by a dog is usually a very traumatic experience for most victims. The fear that it might happen again can cause post-traumatic disorder and anxiety. Injuries that leave visible scars or disfigurement can cause quite a bit of emotional distress for some.
In some cases, a victim could be riding a bike or walking another dog that got bit. The victim could recover damages in situations like this as well.
Can Someone Recover Damages if They Didn’t Sustain Physical Injuries?
Though it isn’t as common, there are situations where someone might be attacked by a dog but didn’t sustain any serious injuries that required surgery or medical treatment. However, let’s say someone who is a cyclist was chased and attacked by a dog but even after falling off their bike they didn’t really sustain a serious injury. But, now because of that incident, they are afraid to get back on their bike or even be around dogs again. This type of emotional trauma can leave permanent damage that can keep someone from living a normal life or a life that they once lived.
What Should You Do if You’ve Been Attacked by a Dog in Los Angeles?
If you’ve been attacked or bitten by a dog in Los Angeles County be sure you do the following:
- Seek the necessary medical treatment you need for your injuries.
- Identify the dog who bit you.
- Identify who the owner is and get all of their contact information.
- Report the attack to the LAPD and animal control.
- Take photos of your injuries and any property damage.
- Write down everything you remember about the attack.
- Keep track of all your losses including all medical bills, missed work, any property damage, etc.
- Never give the insurance company a recorded statement.
- Before you take any legal action or talk to the dog owner’s insurance company, be sure to speak with an experienced Los Angeles dog bite attorney.
Why Should I Hire Robert Klein as My Dog Bite Attorney?
If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog in Los Angeles, California it is best to speak with an attorney who has successfully handled dog bite cases. I have over 30 years of experience handling dog bite cases that other lawyers don’t want to handle. I take these cases very seriously and understand the California law and will aggressively take on the insurance adjusters who will try and deny your claim if you were to handle it yourself. I’m here to help answer all your questions. Call 424-901-1234 for a free consultation today.
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