One of the scariest experiences a person can have is being attacked by an animal. It is almost always unexpected and causes the victim to not know how to react or what to do. Most commonly, these attacks are caused by dogs who have not been properly trained or restrained by their owner.
If you have suffered a dog bite or been attacked by an animal, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Speak with a Los Angeles dog bite attorney at Citywide Law Group today. We offer a free consultation.
Establishing Liability in a Dog Bite Case
In most cases, in accordance with section 3342 of the California Civil Code, the owner of a dog is automatically held responsible for any damages or injuries the dog causes. This is considered a “strict liability” statute and holds true so long as the victim is:
- In a public place;
- Lawfully on private property; or
- On the dog owner’s property, so long as the victim is there legally.
In these situations, the owner of the dog is held responsible even if, in the past, the dog had never shown signs of aggression or been vicious to other people or even other animals.
Further, because this is a “strict liability” statute, the victim doesn’t need to show that the dog owner was negligent, and it doesn’t matter even if the dog owner took measures to prevent the dog from attacking. Even if the dog is on a leash or was left behind a gate, if the dog attacks or bites a victim, the owner of the dog is responsible.
Compensation After a Dog Bite
Although there are some exceptions where the owner is not going to be responsible for the actions of their dog, in most cases the owner of the dog will have to reimburse or “make whole” the victim of the attack. There are several aspects to that are required when a dog owner is making a victim whole, the owner is responsible for the victims
- Medical Bills;
- Property Damage;
- Phyiscal Pain and Suffering;
- Lost Wages; and
- Mental Anguish.
Although the money that a victim can recover for a dog bite or dog attack cases will not prevent the dog attack, it does allow the victim to have certain hardships to be reduced, which is in most cases the best that is provided by the law.
While a dog bite may seem minor, some can have long lasting consequences never the less and can require costly medical treatment and impact the victims quality of life.
How Long Do I Have To File a Dog Bite Case?
Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1, the statute of limitations, or time period where you can file a lawsuit for a dog bite case, is limited to 2 years after the bite has occurred. If a law suit is not filed in that two year window, the victim will lose their right to file the lawsuit and will be left without recourse against the dog owner.
For this reason, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at CityWide Law Group immediately after a dog bite has occurred. By doing so, you will ensure that you receive the medical treatment necessary for the injury caused by the dog bite, and you preserve your rights against the owner of the dog.
Steps To Take After A Dog Bite Attack
If you have been a victim of a dog bite or dog attack, do not panic and follow the following steps:
- Make sure you are safe from further attacks
- Once you are safe, and if you are in a condition that allows it, take pictures of the dog, the location and the injuries caused by the attack
- Get the information of the dog owner, including, name, number, address and homeowners insurance information that they have
- Get all witness information for future reference
- Seek immediate medical attention for the injuries caused by the attack
- Contact the experienced dog bite/attack attorneys at CityWide Law Group for a free consultation.
- Contact animal control so that nobody else will fall victim to the dogs attack
The attorneys at CityWide Law Group will look to many different sources to recover compensation for our clients including the owners homeowner’s insurance policy or their rental insurance policy.
Common Causes of Dog Bites/Attacks
Dog bites are typically caused by several different situations and do not always have to do with the breed of dog or its size. These reasons include:
- A dog defending its territory
- A dog being startled or scared by an action, fast movement or noise
- A dog protecting its territory or owner
- A dog being sick or malnourished
- A dog has pain inflicted on it, whether intentional or by being stepped on
- A dog that is provoked by its surroundings
Common Injuries Caused by Dog attacks
Dog bites can cause a variety of different injuries, including the following:
Fractures or Dismemberment: In the case of very vicious attacks, the dog is capable of causing broken or crushed bones due to the extreme power of their jaws. As natural hunters, dogs are capable of breaking bones in order to prevent their prey from escaping. In an attack from a vicious dog, the victim can be seen as prey and the dog bite can causes breaks, fractures and crushed bones which will may require immediate and long lasting medical treatment.
Dermal lacerations, punctures, and abrasions: Even if the dog bites do not cause a victims bones to be fractured or broken, the sharp teeth are able to rip or tear through the victims skin and can cause infections, scarring or other deformities which may require surgery or treatment to recover from.
Sprains and Strains: When a dog latches on to a victim, especially if the victim is a smaller victim or a child, the dog may move around causing the victim to fall or be dragged, which may cause sprains, strains, bruises and other maladies that would require medical treatment.
Death: Many dogs, especially the larger breeds have extremely strong jaws, which are capable of crushing or tearing through their victims. Certain parts of the human anatomy are more susceptible to injuries that can cause death. The most important areas to protect in cases of an attack are the neck, stomach and major arteries such as the wrists and the inner thigh area, because these areas can cause the most bleeding, which can be life threatening. In these unfortunate cases, the surviving family members will be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Speak to a Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney Today
We at CityWide Law Group have the experience and resources to help you through these difficult experiences. We have a strong network of expert witnesses and have successfully settled many dog bite/attack cases in Los Angeles County and the surrounding areas.
If you have been attacked by a dog, or know someone who has, call an experienced Los Angeles dog bite attorney at Citywide Law Group today. And as always, we do not collect any fee unless we recover for your injuries.