Los Angeles County Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog Bites, Attacks and Maulings in Los Angeles County, CA
Los Angeles County residents enjoy the fresh air and active lifestyle that surrounds life in a beach city. This lifestyle welcomes our beloved pets out into public. Unfortunately, not all dogs are friendly and not all owners keep their pets properly restrained, leading to thousands of people being attacked, bitten or mauled by a dog each year.
The majority of dog bites are rather minor and are easily treated at home with over the counter ointments. However, the more serious dog bites can cause painful and life-altering injuries, including disfigurement, permanent scarring, psychological trauma and sometimes even death. These extreme injuries require emergency medical treatment, often incurring expensive medical bills over several years.
Dog Bites in Children
Children tend to be curious around animals. Unfortunately, children are also at a particularly high risk for face bites since they tend to be at a height where they are interacting at eye-level and their often erratic actions can be startling to a dog.
While parents are generally responsible about watching their children around dogs, even the most vigilant parents cannot always prevent an unexpected attack from happening.
Strict Liability for Dog Owners
California is a strict liability state, meaning that owners are responsible for their dogs and may be held responsible if their dog attacks or bites a person, whether or not the owner knew of aggressive behavior. This differs greatly from states where plaintiffs must prove that the owner knew or should have known of the dog’s aggressive tendencies.
When a lawsuit is filed in a dog bite case, the dog owner may be held personally liable. In some cases, the bite is covered by homeowner’s insurance, depending on where the bite occurred and what the insurance policy covers. However, if the dog is a stray and there is no known owner, a person who was bitten may not have legal recourse. An attorney can help you determine if you have a valid case.
The victim or the person suing on the behalf of a minor victim must demonstrate with evidence that the defendant is responsible because they were the owner of the dog at the time the bite attack occurred. 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 legitimate defense against a dog bite lawsuit.
Consulting a Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog or other animal, you may be entitled to recover damages for any injuries that resulted. Determining your legal rights can be stressful and unimaginably complicated. You will likely have questions about your rights and you should consider immediately contacting a personal injury attorney with experience handling dog/animal bite cases. Keep in mind that time is of the essence when filing a case because 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.
If you believe you have a case because of a vicious dog attack in Los Angeles County, contact us at the law offices of Brent Duque today for more information and a free consultation. We are here to help you get through this.