Dog Bite Lawyer Los Angeles
We love to watch videos of cute dogs on social media. They’re adorable and cuddly. They truly are man’s best friend. There are times, however, when dogs aren’t so nice. A dog can become not so nice at any time. Even the friendliest dogs bite people from time to time. Usually, when people get bit by dog’s they know the dog’s owner. They’re either a friend or neighbor. They could even be a family member. You go to pet their dog and, out of nowhere, the dog attacks you. If you’ve been bitten or attacked by a dog, you need to contact a dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles. Dog bites can leave some pretty nasty injuries. You may need surgery and even physical therapy. You could miss time from work while you’re trying to recover. An experienced Los Angeles dog bite attorney will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Understand Dog Bite Law in California
Every state’s a little different when it comes to dog bite laws. Some states hold the dog owners strictly liable for anyone who gets injured by their dog. Others only hold the owner liable if he knew the dog was not a friendly dog.
California is a strict liability state. This means that the dog owner can’t escape liability by claiming they didn’t know their dog was dangerous. In California, even if the dog had never bitten anyone before, the owner is still responsible.
The California dog bite statute holds an owner liable if the following apply:
- The damages were caused by a dog bite (and not some other action by the dog) and
- The victim was bitten in either a public place or was lawfully in a private place
The statute is limited to dog bites. If you’re hurt in some other way by a dog, the statute doesn’t apply. For example, if a dog jumps on your child while playing and your child falls and hits their head, the statute doesn’t apply. This doesn’t mean you can’t sue the dog owner. It just means you’ll have to file your suit under negligence and not the dog bite statute.
You’ll also note that this doesn’t apply if you’re not legally supposed to be on the premises. If you’re trespassing or committing a crime, the statute is not going to protect you.
What to Expect from the Defense Side
If you’re bitten by a dog, the defendant isn’t going to just lie down and admit fault. He’s going to have an attorney too. And his attorney is going to argue that his client isn’t responsible for your injuries.
There are certain defenses to the dog bite statute. They’re few and far between, but they do exist. Some of the defenses to a dog bite claim in California include:
- You were trespassing at the time of the bite
- You were bitten during the commission of a crime
- The dog was a police dog working at the time of the bite
There is a general exception for police and military dogs. If you’re bitten by a police dog, you can’t sue under the dog bite statute. You may still be entitled to damages under negligence. If you’re an innocent party who’s bitten by a police dog, you can file a claim against the police department. However, if you’re a suspect and you’re bitten while fleeing the cops, don’t expect to receive a dime.
The other defense is against trespassers. If you were trespassing on someone’s property when you got bit, the statute won’t apply. The statute only protects people who are in a public place or are lawfully in a private place.
Let’s say that you break into a neighbor’s garage to get a tool back that he had borrowed. You don’t have permission to be in house. While in there, the neighbor’s dog comes through the doggie door and bites your arm. You need stitches and surgery to repair the damage.
Because you’re trespassing at the time of the bite, the statute doesn’t protect you. Quite frankly, you probably don’t have any legal claim in this situation. You can always discuss your case with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer and see what he thinks.
Your Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney Will Get You Compensation for Your Injuries
You wouldn’t think that a dog bite would cause very serious injuries. However, sometimes the injuries are very serious. This is especially true when the victim is a small child. Your Los Angeles dog bite attorney will fight to get your family the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Some of the common dog bite injuries include:
- Skin tears – The most common dog bite injury would be a skin tear. The dog will more than likely tear your flesh when he sinks his teeth into you. You may need stitches to fix these tears. You may even need plastic surgery to cover some of these injuries.
- Bruises – If you’re lucky, the only think you’ll suffer from your dog bite are bruises. Just the pressure the dog’s teeth can have on your skin will cause bruises.
- Broken bones – If the dog’s bite is strong enough, it can actually break your bones. These will require surgery to repair. You’ll probably need physical therapy as well.
- Nerve damage – If you get bit in a certain area, you could end up with permanent nerve damage. This is common in the wrist, ankle, back and neck.
- Infection – If the dog has an infection, it can spread it to you. This is common if he breaks the skin. Thankfully, most dog bites are by domesticated dogs and they’re usually infection free.
- Facial disfigurement – If you get bit in your face, you may need plastic surgery to correct it. This can be painful and cause long-term medical issues.
Your Los Angeles dog bite lawyer is going to fight to make sure you’re compensated for these injuries.
Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorneys Fight the Insurance Company
If you get bit on someone’s property, you can file a claim against their homeowner’s policy. If they rent, you can file it against the landlord’s policy. Ideally, your claim will be paid without issue. However, if you get bit in public, it could be difficult to file an insurance claim since it didn’t take place on their property.
Even if you do file a claim, your claim could be denied. The insurance company may deny it for a variety of reasons, including:
- The policy isn’t valid or cancelled due to non-payment
- This type of injury isn’t covered by homeowner’s
- The landlord forbids his tenant from having a dog
- The insurance company doesn’t think you were injured
If your claim is denied, your Los Angeles dog bite attorney will fight the insurance company. He’ll file an appeal and talk to the insurance adjuster. He’ll do whatever he can to get it paid.
If the incident took place in public, you may have to rely on a civil suit to get paid. The issue with a civil suit is you may never see a dime. Unless the defendant has assets, your judgment won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.
How Can Your Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyer Get Your Judgment Paid?
If you win your lawsuit against the dog owner, you’ll want to get paid, right? Your lawyer has a few ways to do this.
First, he’ll try to settle your claim out of court. The defendant may have enough in savings to pay the settlement. If this isn’t the case, you’ll have to execute on the judgment. This means your lawyer will have to get your money in one of the following ways:
- Bank Levy – your attorney can file a levy against the defendant’s bank account. Sometimes, this is quite efficient. The good thing about it is that the defendant never knows when you’re going to hit his account.
- Wage Garnishment – You can always file a garnishment against the defendant’s paycheck. You don’t get much per week, but once it’s in place, you’ll continue to collect funds until they quit or retire. Once the judgment is paid (with interest) you’ll be paid in full.
- Personal lien against property – You can always convert your judgment into a lien. This means the defendant will have to pay you in full if they ever want to sell their house
Hopefully, it won’t come to this. But, worse case, your attorney will do whatever he can to get you paid.
Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer in Los Angeles
If you or your child has been bitten by a dog, you need an experienced dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles. Call and schedule your free initial consultation today. You can sit down with an attorney and have him review your case. He’ll answer any questions you may have and let you know what your case may be worth.
Call today. The consultation is free and you pay nothing until you settle your case!