Getting attacked by a dog can be a terrifying experience. Even a relatively minor incident can result in emotional trauma, medical bills, and lost time from work. Those who have found themselves the victim of an attack should immediately seek the assistance of a Los Angeles dog bite attorney. Understanding how an attorney can help with your personal injury case and what the next steps look like will provide clarity and focus as you recover from your injury.
BITTEN BY A DOG IN LOS ANGELES?
The state of California holds dog owners responsible for the actions of their pets. Most dog bites occur because of the negligence of a dog’s owner. Often, the individual failed to properly secure their pet, and this failure can result in injuries to unsuspecting victims.
Legally, the location of the sustained dog bite injury matters. If the victim is on public property or legally on personal property (including the dog owner’s property), then the dog owner can be held responsible for the injury. If the dog bite victim was unlawfully on the dog owner’s property, the dog owner will unlikely be found liable for the damages. There are also exceptions if the dog was provoked or attacked by the injured party prior to the dog bite.
Likewise, the law distinguishes between a dog bite and damages from scratches. It will be important to get documentation of the injury from medical professionals to demonstrate that the injury was, indeed, a dog bite.
WHEN SHOULD I CALL A LOS ANGELES DOG BITE ATTORNEY?
Filing a claim to receive compensation for damages resulting from a dog bite falls under personal injury law. Filing a personal injury claim can be a complicated process that will require the plaintiff (the injured party) to bring forward evidence that the defendant (the dog’s owner) was negligent.
California operates under “strict liability” for dog owners, which means that the defendant will only have a few potential defenses against the claim. One of those defenses will be proving that the dog was provoked or attacked prior to the sustained dog bite. Another defense will be proving that the injured party was unlawfully present on private property.
Calling an attorney soon after you have sought medical treatment and are stable from the injuries will give you the chance to collect evidence as quickly as possible.
TYPES OF INJURIES RESULTING FROM A DOG BITE
Depending on the size of the dog, the physical condition of the victim, and the circumstances of the attack, dog bites can cause a wide range of injuries.
Some dog bites can be serious enough as to cause broken bones. This is especially true if the dog bites an individual’s hand or fingers, which have many small bones that can easily fracture.
The most immediate injury evident from most dog bites is puncture wounds. When sharp canine teeth enter human skin, the resulting wounds will likely require bandaging and potentially stitches.
While the immediate aftermath of a dog bite attack is evident, there are also longer-term threats. A dog’s bite can contain a plethora of bacteria, and dog bite wounds can become quickly infected if not properly sterilized and treated. These infections can cause lasting damage.
A dog’s bite may puncture delicate nerves in the body. The resulting damages can be long-lasting with few treatment options, causing ongoing numbness and difficult movements.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MY DOG BITE INJURIES
In California, the dog’s owner will likely be held responsible for the dog bite injuries. There are some circumstances in which the owner would be able to reasonably defend against such liability, but they are limited. Dog owners are expected to keep their dogs contained and provide a safe environment for those who are around their pets. Even if the dog is leashed or behind a fence, the dog owner can still be held accountable for injuries sustained when their dog bites.
The dog owner will likely be held liable for a range of damages including medical expenses, ongoing therapy for physical recovery, lost wages, and emotional damages.
In some cases, the dog owner’s insurance company may cover the expenses resulting from a dog bite. If the incident occurred at the dog owner’s home, homeowner’s insurance may come into play. If the incident occurred through the open window of a car, automobile insurance may be involved. There are some dog owners who hold pet insurance, and some policies may cover dog bites.
FINDING THE BEST LOS ANGELES DOG BITE ATTORNEY FOR YOU
It is important to find a Los Angeles dog bite attorney who is experienced in similar cases and who can navigate the ins and outs of a personal injury lawsuit following a dog bite injury. A capable attorney will help gather the evidence needed to demonstrate the extent of your injuries and help get the compensation needed to aid in recovery.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.