There is no doubt that dogs are beloved members of the typical American family, bringing companionship, happiness and even protection to so many people across the United States. Unfortunately, not all dogs are friendly and not all dog owners are responsible with their pets. This fact has lead to thousands of people being bitten, mauled or attacked by a dog each year.
While most of the bites are fairly minor and can be treated at home, many are quite serious and can cause painful and life altering injuries, including permanent scarring, disfigurement, psychological trauma and sometimes death. These injuries will require emergency medical treatment, often resulting in costly medical bills.
Though certain breeds are well-known for their aggressive behaviors, dogs of any breed can and do bite, oftentimes resulting in serious and permanent injuries.
While most parents are vigilant with their children around dogs, children can often be unpredictable and startling to a dog. Children tend to be at an especially high risk for face bite injuries since they are more likely to be at a height where they are interacting at eye-level.
Parents are advised to watch their children closely 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.
Fortunately, 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 statute differs from states where plaintiffs must prove that the owner knew or should have known of the dog’s aggressive tendencies, making a victory more difficult.
The dog owner may be held personally liable in a dog bite lawsuit. In certain cases, the bite or attack is covered by their homeowner’s insurance, depending on where the bite occurred and 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, it is the responsibility of the victim or the person suing on their behalf to come prepared with evidence to prove 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.
If bitten by an animal, you or your loved one may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries. Determining the merits of your case can be overwhelming and unimaginably complicated on your own. You will likely have many questions about your rights and contacting a personal injury attorney with experience handling dog/animal bite cases can help you understand these rights. 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.
Contact our Los Angeles County Personal Injury Attorney 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.
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