Dog Bite Injuries

According to a study from the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the U.S. annually, and 800,000 of those bites result in the need for medical care. With the U.S. population at about 328.2 million people in 2019, this means a dog bites one out of every 73 people. These are scary statistics.

If you or someone you love was recently injured by a dog bite or attack or in some other manner by an animal, a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer can help you. You can meet with one to find out if you have a personal injury claim worth pursuing, how much your claim might be worth, and what you should do next. The steps you take after a dog bite or attack can significantly impact the success of your claim. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible is in your best interest.

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Do You Have a Dog Bite Case?

Under California law, dog owners or handlers have what is known as strict liability when their animal bites or injures someone. In other states, such as Nevada, if a dog owner was not aware that their dog was vicious and they hadn’t previously bitten someone, they aren’t liable for the first incident. It is only if there are subsequent incidences that they are liable. When it comes to cat bites, California imposes a standard similar to the one-bite rule.

Strict liability means that the dog’s owner is responsible for controlling and containing their dog in all circumstances. There is no one-bite rule. In California, if the dog bites or otherwise injures another party, liability is on the owner as long as:

The victim didn't provoke the dog

The victim was bitten on public or while lawfully on private property

It’s worth noting that trespassers who are bitten by canines in this state typically aren’t eligible to recover compensation for their damages. Other circumstances that might void the ability to pursue a legal claim include:

The dog was protecting its owner or another party under California's self-defense statutes

The animal was a police or military dog being used correctly per the respective agency's written policy

Even if you think these circumstances apply in your case, you may still want to contact a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer. You don’t want to take the chance that you are entitled to monetary damages but don’t pursue them.

Strict liability means that a plaintiff isn’t required to prove that the dog had a history of biting or dangerous behavior or that the dog’s owner was negligent. On the other hand, if a dog previously bit someone, the law does enforce an extra duty of care on its owner. These owners are legally obligated to take all reasonable steps to protect other individuals from being bitten. If they don’t, the victim should hire an experienced Los Angeles dog bite attorney to represent them.

What About Other Types of Injuries Caused by Dogs?

People injured by a canine but not bitten will generally have to prove that the owner was negligent. For instance, if a dog jumped up on someone, knocking them over and causing a concussion. The victim will need to prove that the owner was aware or should have reasonably known that their dog could be a danger. They will also need to show that the owner didn’t take reasonable actions to prevent others from getting hurt.

If the dog’s owner or handler broke any state or local statutes meant to benefit public health or safety, they would automatically be considered negligent under California’s negligence per se law. A seasoned Los Angeles dog bite attorney can help those injured by dogs prove their case.

Dog Bite Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations refers to a time deadline for filing a lawsuit. Each state has its own statute of limitations, which can vary between types of cases. In California, dog bites and other animal-related injuries generally have a two-year statute of limitations. This two-year period begins on the date the bite or attack happens. If the bite victim doesn’t file their legal claim within the two-year deadline, they usually cannot recover damages. This is true even if the injured individual isn’t able to identify the dog’s owner during this time period but does so later on.

When dog bite victims hire a skilled Los Angeles dog bite lawyer, they can be assured that every action is being taken to ensure their claim is filed on time. It’s imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights and options and to increase the chances of a better outcome in your case.

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Special Considerations with Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites are unique injuries, sometimes creating damages that other injury claims do not. Dog bite victims are at risk for complications such as an infection. With so much bacteria in an animal’s mouth, dog bites are commonly known to cause infections. Sometimes these infections require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics. An infection can also increase the risk of scarring and disfigurement, delay healing time, and cause increased pain and discomfort.

Scarring and other disfigurement is common, especially in severe dog bites. Some victims require plastic surgery or reconstructive surgeries, and even then, they will never look like they once did before. Long after their injuries have healed, they will have visible scars that can cause humiliation and self-consciousness. With the help of a compassionate Los Angeles dog bite attorney, these victims can pursue the compensation they are owed for all of their damages.

Did You or Someone You Love Suffer a Dog Bite? Let an Experienced Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney Help

If you or someone you love is recovering from a dog bite or attack, you have enough to worry about. Let an experienced Los Angeles dog bite lawyer help you through this difficult time so you can focus on your physical recovery. We offer no-obligation case reviews to help people just like yourself. Call today to schedule yours.

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