Getting attacked by a dog can be one of the most frightening experiences in life. While dog attacks do result in physical injuries and scarring, many victims also suffer severe psychological and emotional scars that could remain with them for the rest of their lives.
What's frightening about dog bites is that they can happen anywhere, any time – whether you're taking a walk in your own neighborhood, visiting a friend or acquaintance or when you are on the job delivering food or a package.
If you have suffered injuries as the result of a dog attack, you may be able to receive compensation for the injuries, damages and losses you have suffered. A number of dog attacks in Los Angeles occur because of dog owners who are negligent.
An experienced Los Angeles dog bite attorney can help you determine if you may be able to receive compensation to cover your medical bills and other damages, and hold the at-fault dog owner liable for your losses.
Table of Contents
- What to Do If You Are Attacked by a Dog: Protecting Your Rights
- What Does California Law Say About Liability for Dog Attacks?
- What Types of Damages Can I Seek in a Dog Bite Case?
- Why Do I Need an Attorney in a Dog Bite Case?
What to Do If You Are Attacked by a Dog: Protecting Your Rights
If you have been injured in a dog attack, there are certain steps you would be well advised to take to protect your rights:
Locate the dog's owner
A number of dog attacks in Los Angeles are caused by dogs running loose in the neighborhood, or animals that have escaped from their home. The dog owner has the responsibility to make sure his or her dog is properly confined. One of the first steps to take if you've been bitten by a dog is to identify and locate the owner of the animal.
Report it to the authorities
Contact your local animal control agency. Your city could have an animal control department or in many cases, that department could be under the county. Be sure to report the dog attack to local animal control officials.
Get prompt medical treatment
Seek and obtain medical attention, treatment and care for your dog bite injuries. This is important because there is a higher risk of infection with dog bites. It is important not just to get the treatment you need but also to carefully compile your medical records. This will help document the injuries you suffered and the treatment you received when you file your claim.
Gather as much evidence as possible
If you are able to do so, take photos of the dog, the location where the attack occurred and your injuries. If anyone witnessed the attack, it would be a good idea to obtain their name and contact information so your lawyer can follow up with them later. Also, save any torn or bloody clothing you were wearing at the time of the attack.
Contact an experienced Los Angeles dog bite lawyer
Going through the process of seeking compensation can be exhausting and time-consuming. This is why you need a knowledgeable dog bite lawyer on your side who will fight to protect your rights and hold the negligent dog owner responsible for your injuries and losses.
What Does California Law Say About Liability for Dog Attacks?
Under California's “strict liability statute,” dog owners are responsible for injuries their pets cause, even if the dog has not shown any prior signs of aggression or whether or not the dog owner knew about it. California Civil Code Section 3342 states that the owner of any dog is liable for the damages sustained by a victim, regardless of whether the attack occurs in a public place or lawfully in a private place including on the dog owner's property.
There are very few exceptions to this rule such as when the dog attack was provoked by cruelty toward the animal or when a dog attacks someone who is on a property illegally or without permission. Under this law, dog owners could potentially face citations and be held financially responsible for the injuries and losses sustained by victims.
In addition, there have also been a number of cases in Los Angeles where personal injury claims have been upheld against property owners who have permitted a tenant to have a dangerous or vicious dog on their premises.
What Types of Damages Can I Seek in a Dog Bite Case?
If you have been injured in a dog attack in Los Angeles, you may be able to receive compensation for losses including:
This might include everything from emergency transportation, treatment, hospitalization, cost of surgeries, medication, medical equipment, etc.
Cost of cosmetic surgery:
Dog bites often result in scarring and disfigurement, which can cause not just a great deal of physical discomfort, but also emotional and psychological trauma. Your claim for compensation should include the cost of surgery to repair scarring.
Permanent injuries and disabilities:
In some cases, brutal dog attacks can leave victims with severe, lifelong injuries or disabilities.
Pain and suffering:
These are noneconomic damages seeking compensation for the physical pain and mental suffering caused by these traumatic incidents.
Why Do I Need an Attorney in a Dog Bite Case?
Dog bite cases can be complicated. There are a number of questions that must be asked in such situations including but not limited to:
- Was anyone violating any laws?
- Did the dog have a history of biting or aggressive behavior?
- Was the dog bite victim on a property legally or was he or she trespassing or there for illegal reasons?
An experienced personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled dog bite cases can help you understand your legal rights and options so you can make decisions that are best for your situation. Your lawyer can also help you compile crucial evidence that could help strengthen your claim and negotiate with the insurance company to maximize your compensation.
The experienced Los Angeles dog bite lawyers at the Vaziri Law Group are committed to fighting for the rights of injured victims. If you have been seriously injured in a dog attack, call us at 310-777-7540 to find out how we can help you.
If you have suffered serious injuries in a dog bite, your attorney can hand le all paperwork and documentation related to your claim so you can take the time to recover from your injuries. When it comes to dog bite cases, it would be in your best interest to retain quality legal representation instead of attempting to do it all on your own especially when you are physically, emotionally and financially stressed.