Enduring a dog bite injury in Los Angeles can be arrowing and unsettling moment. The physical pain, emotional trauma, and potential scarring can leave lasting effects on victims, making the road to recovery challenging. The fear and anxiety that arise from such incidents may also lead to long-term psychological distress.
At Omofoma Law, our Los Angeles dog bite attorneys understand the complexities of these cases and the toll they take on victims. With compassion and legal expertise, we are dedicated to providing support and seeking justice for those who have endured the pain and suffering caused by dog bite injuries.
Why You Need To Hire a Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney for Your Claim
When you're a dog bite victim with a potential dog bite injury claim, an experienced dog bite attorney can assist with medical treatment, dealing with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and handling issues with the insurance company.
What You Need To Know About Dog Bites
In many cases, an aggressive dog has caused serious injuries resulting in emergency room care and high medical bills. A dog bite injury is nothing to take lightly. Depending on the extent of the physical injuries, the pet owner or their insurance company may have to pay your medical bills.
Dog bite attorneys are trained to handle these types of personal injury cases, gathering all the facts to ensure their client is fully compensated.
Dog Bite Statistics in Los Angeles
According to the U.S. Postal Service and State Farm Insurance, California was first in dog attacks on mail carriers in 2021. Los Angeles was fourth among the cities on the list, with 44 dog attacks. When factoring in other dog bite victims, the number is exponentially higher. When considering dog bite victims, pit bulls are responsible for many fatal dog attacks and are considered one of the most dangerous breeds.
Having a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer is key when seeking relief from a dog attack.
California Dog Bite Laws
As a strict liability state, California dog bite victims are covered under the dog bite law, which holds the dog's owner liable for any damages suffered by dog bite injury victims. The dog can be in a public place or on private property. If the victim was found to have provoked the dog, the dog owner would not potentially be held responsible.
Causes Dog Attacks in Los Angeles, CA
There are many causes of dog attacks and animal bites. Pet owners may be neglecting them. Some dog breeds may be known for their susceptibility to animal bite attacks and more. It is not uncommon for animal control to be called to help the dog's owner get control of a dog involved in a dog attack.
Common Dog Bite Injuries to Sue For
Victims of dog bites often sue for lost income, medical bills, property damage resulting from the attack, multiple or punitive damages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more. A dog bite victim case is very tricky because of the type of bite and the severity of what they went through.
Steps To Take After a Los Angeles Dog Bite Incident
A. Seeking Immediate Medical Attention
When you experience a dog bite, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Dog bites can lead to various complications and health risks that require professional evaluation and treatment. One significant concern is the risk of infection.
Dog mouths contain bacteria that can be introduced into the body through a bite, increasing the chances of infection. By seeking prompt medical attention, the wound can be properly cleaned, assessed for infection risk, and treated with antibiotics or other necessary measures.
B. Reporting the Incident To Local Authorities
Reporting a dog bite incident to the local authorities is an important step to take after such an incident occurs. By contacting the authorities, you can ensure that the incident is properly documented and that necessary actions are taken to address the situation.
Working with a dog bite attorney and informing your insurance company will help protect your rights and support any potential claims or legal actions that may arise from the incident.
C. Collecting Evidence at the Scene
Collecting evidence at a dog bite incident scene is crucial for building a strong case. It is important to gather the pet owner's name, details about the dog, whether the incident happened on private or public property, and any relevant information. Taking photographs of the scene, including visible injuries, the location, and the dog, if possible, is essential.
Collecting witness information and preserving any physical evidence can also support your claim. Recording the date and time of the incident is crucial. By gathering this evidence promptly, you enhance your case's strength and provide necessary facts for insurance claims or potential legal actions with the guidance of a dog bite attorney.
D. Gathering Witness Statements and Contact Information
Gathering witness statements and contact information after a dog bite incident is crucial to support your claim. You can provide valuable evidence of what happened by approaching potential witnesses respectfully and collecting their detailed statements. It is important to record their recollections accurately, including information about the dog's behavior and the sequence of events.
Collecting contact information ensures future communication if needed. Keeping organized documentation and expressing gratitude for their cooperation enhances your case's strength, as witness testimony can corroborate your account and provide essential details. Working closely with a dog bite attorney allows you to effectively utilize witness statements in your claim or legal proceedings.
E. Documenting Injuries and Damages
When dealing with injuries and damages from a dog bite incident, it is essential to involve a medical practitioner for thorough documentation. A medical professional can assess your injuries, accurately record them, and create official medical records. These records serve as vital evidence for insurance claims, legal proceedings, and future medical treatments.
Seeking medical attention ensures prompt diagnosis and treatment, addressing immediate medical needs and preventing potential complications. The objectivity and credibility of a medical practitioner's opinion strengthen your case, as they provide an unbiased assessment of your injuries.
By giving a detailed account of the incident, including information about the dog and its owner, the medical practitioner can offer comprehensive documentation to support your claim.
Assigning Liability for Your Dog Bite Case in Los Angeles
In most cases, per section 3342 of the California Civil Code, the dog owner is automatically held responsible for any damages or injuries the dog causes. This is regarded as a "strict liability" statute and is applicable as 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 the circumstances like these, the dog's owner 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 restrained with a leash or is left behind a gate, if the dog attacks or bites a victim, the owner of the dog is responsible.
Statute of Limitations for a Dog Bite Claim
The California Civil Code §3342 specifically legislates the liability of dog owners in biting incidents. The statute of limitations in California for many personal injury claims is two years. The deadline for filing a lawsuit in a dog bite claim would be two years from the day the bite occurred.
The law states the owner of the dog is responsible for all injuries caused by a dog bite as long as the injured person was attacked in a public place or lawfully in a private place (i.e., not trespassing).
Available Damages in a Los Angeles Dog Bite Claim
Economic damages refer to quantifiable financial losses that can be directly attributed to a specific incident. While past and present economic damages are calculated based on actual losses, future economic losses are estimated.
- Medical costs – The plaintiff has the right to seek indemnity for the expenses incurred due to medical care received as a result of injuries sustained in a dog bite incident. This encompasses both the current and potential future medical costs for treating the injuries, as long as such treatment is deemed necessary and advisable.
- Lost income and/or earning capacity – It is not uncommon for individuals who have been injured in dog bite attacks to experience a loss of income due to missed work. Fortunately, it is possible to seek compensation for this lost income, including the current and potential future income loss.
- Ongoing future medical care – Individuals who have suffered severe injuries in dog bite attacks may require specialized equipment to maintain mobility. The costs associated with acquiring such equipment, both in the past, present, and future, can be included in the compensation sought for the damages suffered.
Non-economic damages primarily focus on the impact of a dog bite attack on the injured person's overall well-being and quality of life. When someone experiences an injury from a dog bite in California, they often encounter unique challenges that significantly disrupt their life and introduce struggles they would not have faced otherwise.
With a financial recovery from a dog bites attorney, we can offer you the support you need when you go through the following:
- Emotional distress – A person who sustains injuries in a dog bite attack may experience severe and sometimes lasting emotional harm, such as developing a fear of dogs or feeling anxious in public settings. These emotional injuries can profoundly impact their daily life, including sleep disturbances caused by nightmares and persistent fear of encountering dogs.
- Pain and suffering – Without a doubt, an individual who has been harmed in a dog bite attack in California will endure continuous physical pain and psychological trauma. This will have significant effects on their well-being and daily life. Recognizing the impact of this trauma, compensation may be sought to address the physical and emotional suffering experienced by the victim.
- Loss of companionship – In certain instances of dog bite cases in California, the severity of the injuries can result in the affected individual's inability to experience a fulfilling life with their spouse and/or family due to the loss of companionship, affection and support that was previously shared. This type of loss, which encompasses the emotional and practical aspects of daily life, can be evaluated and quantified with the guidance of a knowledgeable California dog bite attorney.
Our Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorneys at Omofoma Law Are Here To Help | Call Us Today!
If you or someone you know has suffered from dog bites and are seeking compensation, contact us for a free consultation and speak with a qualified dog bite lawyer that can point you in the right direction.
Los Angeles Dog Bite FAQ
Dog bites can occur anywhere. These FAQs should help guide you when seeking information on dog bites and what could happen when encountering dangerous dog breeds.
How bad does a dog bite have to be to have a case?
Someone can be a victim of a dog attack resulting in a minor dog bite where the dog owner acted quickly but still requires medical attention. This person can consult with a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer and file a personal injury case claim.
What kind of dog is most likely to bite?
According to statistics, Pit Bulls are reported to be the breed of dog that bites humans the most frequently, followed by Rottweilers and German Shepherds. However, it's important to note that breed alone is not the sole determining factor in a dog's likelihood to bite. Other factors, such as training and past abuse, can also contribute to higher rates of dog bite incidents.
The tracking of dog bites by breed has been used in the past to discourage ownership of certain breeds deemed as "dangerous," with the anti-Pit Bull campaign gaining attention due to their involvement in dog fighting and association with drug dealers. Advocates for Pit Bulls argue that with proper training, they can be gentle and well-behaved like any other dog.
Nevertheless, statistics indicate that certain dog breeds may have a higher tendency to resort to physical aggression and biting when they feel threatened.
What is the average settlement for dog bite cases?
According to the State Farm insurance company, the average settlement for dog bite injuries is about $59,900. In 2021, they paid 120 million dollars in dog bite attack claims. It is not uncommon for a dog bite attack to result in disfigurement or disability. The more harm the dog causes, the higher the settlement.
What if the dog owner has no insurance?
If the dog owner has no insurance, they could encounter financial ruin from one dog bite case. Dog bite lawyers are trained to work on their client's behalf for relief from their injuries.