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Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog Bites Are Painful: Your Lawsuit Shouldn’t Be

No matter how well-trained a dog is, it might still bite you under the right circumstances. If you’ve been hurt by someone else’s dog, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries with the help of a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer.

Even the most well-trained dogs can injure people. While many dog bites may not be serious, some can lead to permanent injuries or death. Even a small canine bite can result in medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma.

If you’ve been attacked by a dog, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner.

Quick Summary

Below is an overview of the key points of this blog article.

  • California’s strict liability laws mean the owner is responsible even if they didn’t know the dog could be dangerous or if it has never bitten anyone before.
  • Dogs might bite for several reasons, such as feeling scared or protecting their owner. In California, dog owners are responsible for preventing bites by following leash laws, managing their dogs properly, and ensuring no one provokes their pets.
  • Dog bites can cause many severe injuries, including broken bones, deep cuts, and damage to nerves or organs. 
  • If you’re bitten by a dog in California, first ensure your safety, get medical help, and exchange details with the dog’s owner. Then, report the bite to animal control, track all related expenses, and consult a dog bite lawyer before dealing with insurance claims.
  • The dog owner’s insurance usually covers costs, but others like caretakers or property owners may also be liable depending on their involvement.
  • If a dog bite worries you financially, know there are ways to cover costs. Typically, homeowners or animal insurance will help, but without insurance, the owner pays out of pocket.
  • You have two years to file a dog bite lawsuit, but if you were under 18 when bitten, you can wait until you’re 18 to start the two-year period, giving you until age 20 to sue.
  • In California, dog bite laws strongly favor victims, especially young children under 5, as provocation rules don’t apply.
  • If a dog bites you, you can get money for both your financial and emotional losses. Your lawyer will aim to cover costs for medical bills, lost wages, any permanent scars or changes in appearance, and the pain and suffering you experienced.

Dog Owner Liability in California

According to California law, a dog owner can be held liable in a civil case if the following statements are true:

  • The victim’s injury was indeed caused by a dog bite
  • The victim was in a public place or lawfully in a private space when the bite occurred

In addition, California is a “strict liability” state. That means it doesn’t matter if a dog has been vicious before its first attack, nor does it matter whether the owner knew of the dog’s penchant for aggressive behavior. 

What Are the Common Causes of Dog Bites?

A dog might bite for various reasons. Even a family pet that has always been gentle might suddenly bite if the conditions are not right. Sometimes, a dog bites because it feels scared or threatened. At other times, a dog might bite to defend its owner or its home. 

In California, pet owners must make sure their dogs do not attack people. They need to keep their dogs under control at all times. Here are some common reasons why dogs bite in California:

  • A pet owner not following California’s leash laws
  • A dog roaming freely
  • A pet owner not managing a dangerous dog
  • A person entering private property without permission
  • A person trying to touch a dog they don’t know
  • Someone hurting or bothering a dog
  • Disturbing a dog while it’s eating or nursing

What Are the Different Types of Dog Bite Injuries?

Dog attacks can be very serious and cause injuries that last a lifetime. When some dogs attack, they hold on tight. Their teeth, jaws, and claws can lead to severe injuries, such as:

  • Broken bones
  • Hurt muscles and ligaments
  • Cuts, scrapes, and deep cuts
  • Puncture wounds
  • Organs coming out
  • Skin being pulled off
  • Injuries to the face
  • Eye injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Permanent scars and changes in appearance
  • Infections or diseases
  • Wrongful death

A dog attack can also cause emotional injuries, like feeling very upset, being in great distress, being afraid of dogs, and having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What to Do Following a Dog Bite in California?

If you get bitten by a dog in California, here are steps to help you stay safe and protect your money:

  1. Stay calm and find a safe place.
  2. Exchange contact details with the dog’s owner.
  3. Note the names and numbers of any witnesses.
  4. Report the dog bite to California Animal Control.
  5. Seek medical attention right away.
  6. Write down details of the incident while they’re still clear in your mind.
  7. Keep track of all costs related to the attack, like medical expenses.
  8. Contact the dog owner’s insurance to start a claim.
  9. Avoid giving a recorded statement to the insurance company.
  10. Speak with a dog bite lawyer about your legal options before you agree to any insurance settlement.

Who Pays After a Dog Bite?

Perhaps you’ve suffered a dog bite but are hesitant to bring a claim against a dog owner for fear that the owner could experience financial hardship as a result. Maybe the owner is your neighbor or even a relative you don’t want to upset. 

While the owner may ultimately have to pay out of pocket for your expenses, there are other options in many cases. Depending on the circumstances of your dog bite injury, your claim could be paid by any of the following sources:

  • Homeowners Insurance. In most cases, a homeowners insurance policy will cover dog bites sustained on the owner’s property. Many policies have clauses that reduce or suspend coverage after a dog’s first bite.
  • Car Insurance. If a dog bite occurs in a car or through an open car window, the owner’s car insurance usually covers the claim.
  • Animal Insurance. Certain insurance companies sell coverage for pet owners. If the dog owner in your case has animal insurance, this policy would cover your damages.
  • No Insurance. If the dog owner has no insurance policy that covers animal bites, he or she will be held financially responsible.

What is California’s Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Claims?

A dog bite claim is a type of personal injury case. If a dog’s owner acts wrongly or carelessly and lets their dog attack someone without reason, they can be sued. In California, you have two years from the day of the dog bite to start a lawsuit according to the law.

If the person bitten was under 18 at the time of the attack, they have until they turn 18 to start counting these two years. They can then file a lawsuit until they are 20 years old.

How Can I Prove Liability in My Dog Bite Case?

California’s dog bite laws usually support the victim more than the dog owner. This is especially true if the victim is a child under 5 years old. In California, the rule about provocation does not apply if the victim is 5 years old or younger. 

If a dog bite victim is over the age of 5, and none of the other exceptions fit, then the victim doesn’t need to prove anything else except:

  • That you were in a public place
  • That you were in a private place where you had permission to be

Remember, you need to find out who owns the dog that bit you. Some owners might try to confuse you to prevent you from suing. A dog bite attorney can handle this trick quickly and well.

Los Angeles Dog Bite Compensation

The compensation you receive should account for your financial and non-financial losses after you’re bitten by a dog in Los Angeles. Your attorney will work to get you compensation for the following types of damages:

  • Medical Bills. You probably visited an emergency room after your canine attack. Emergency room visits are expensive on their own, but if you also need stitches or surgery, the bills continue to mount.
  • Lost Wages or Earning Potential. Perhaps your dog bite injury caused you to miss work while you recovered or prevented you from working altogether. These types of expenses should be covered.
  • Permanent Scarring or Disfigurement. Scarring and disfigurement after a dog attack can permanently affect your quality of life. You should be compensated for that kind of suffering.
  • Pain and Suffering. A canine bite can cause a great deal of pain and suffering both in the moment and as you recover.

Your dog bite lawyer will help you construct a strong claim to give you the best possible chance of getting the compensation you deserve.

Contact a Los Angeles Dog Bite Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog in California, Haffner Law is here to help. Our dog bite lawyer has years of experience handling dog bite cases and knows exactly what to do to get you the compensation you deserve. 

We understand how tough these situations can be and are committed to supporting you every step of the way. Don’t wait to get help. Contact Haffner Law today for a free case review and learn how we can fight for your rights.

We’re ready to negotiate a settlement or take your dog bite claim to trial. Our trusted legal group can also represent you in Hip Injury, Neck Injury, and Knee Injury.

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