Dogs have become a part of the American family, bringing companionship, enjoyment and even protection to so many families. Unfortunately, not all dog owners are responsible with their pets and not all dogs are gentle and friendly. For this reason, thousands of people are bitten, mauled or attacked by a dog each year. While certain breeds are known for their aggressive behaviors, any breed of dog may bite.
Luckily, most of the dog bites that occur are relatively minor and can be treated at home, but a serious dog bite can cause painful and life altering injuries. These injuries, including permanent scarring, disfigurement, psychological trauma and even death, will require emergency medical treatment, often resulting in expensive medical bills that may last for many years.
Curious by nature, children can often find a dog irresistible. Disfiguring face bite injuries are more likely in children since they tend to be at a height where they are interacting at eye-level and their quick and unpredictable actions are often startling to a dog.
Parents are advised to watch their children around dogs at all times, especially if it is unknown how that dog behaves around kids. However, even the most vigilant parents cannot always prevent a sudden attack from happening.
In a dog bite lawsuit, the dog owner will almost assuredly be held personally liable. In some cases, the bite or attack is covered by their homeowner’s insurance, depending on where the dog and victim were when the bite occurred and the specifics as to what the insurance policy explicitly covers. If the dog is a stray and there is no known owner, a person who was bitten may not have legal recourse.
As part of a dog bite lawsuit, the victim or the person suing on their behalf must have evidence that demonstrates that the defendant is responsible because they were the owner of the dog at the time the bite occurred. Furthermore, owners are only liable if the person bitten was in a public place or on private property “lawfully”. In the case of trespassing, the dog owner may have a defense to a dog bite lawsuit.
California is a strict liability state, meaning owners are responsible for their dogs and may be held liable if their dog attacks a person, whether or not the owner knew the dog was aggressive or likely to bite someone. This differs from states where plaintiffs must prove that the owner knew or should have known of the dog’s aggressive tendencies.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog or other animal, you may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries. You will likely have questions about your rights and contacting a personal injury attorney with experience handling dog/animal bite cases is critical during this emotional time. Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for a dog bite lawsuit in California is 2 years. That means claims filed after this time period will be time-barred and dismissed.
A serious dog bite can result in costly medical bills, lost wages, and costs that are more difficult to measure like pain and suffering. Some victims may need facial reconstruction surgery or other plastic surgery as a result of their injuries. Those with permanent injuries may also wish to seek compensation for future lost earnings, if the effects of the dog bite will likely affect their future job prospects.
Contact our Los Angeles County Personal Injury Attorneys at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away. You can even use our online contact form, and we’ll reply to you quickly.this.
Fields Marked With An ” *” Are Required