Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyer
A dog attack can cause painful injuries that require expensive medical care and leave you permanently scarred or disfigured. You may also suffer psychological trauma from the attack, as well as a fear of dogs. At Rose, Klein & Marias LLP, our Los Angeles dog bite lawyers are passionate about helping injured victims seek justice and financial compensation from pet owners and other responsible parties. We can help you get your life back on track after a dog attack in Southern California.
Why Hire Rose, Klein & Marias for Your Dog Bite Claim?
- Our attorneys have been representing clients since 1936.
- We have recovered more than $5 billion in successful settlements and verdicts.
- We will do everything that we can to secure the results you need.
- Our dog bite lawyers in Los Angeles operate on a contingency fee basis. You won’t pay us unless we secure financial compensation.
How Can a Los Angeles Bite Attorney Help?
The dog bite injury claims process is not simple. You may need a Los Angeles injury lawyer experienced in dog bite claims to assist you, especially if you suffered serious injuries. An insurance company may intentionally mishandle your claim to save money on your payout. An attorney can help you in many ways during a dog bite injury claim, including:
- Answering your legal questions
- Investigating your dog bite incident
- Identifying who is at fault
- Helping you prove liability
- Filing an insurance claim on your behalf
- Negotiating with an insurance claims adjuster
- Taking your case to trial, if necessary
A dog bite attorney in Los Angeles can make sure that you have everything you need throughout the claims process, including medical care by top doctors and answers to your legal questions. You can rest, relax, and focus on your future while a lawyer handles the legal elements of your claim for you.
California Dog Bite Laws
Whether or not you can hold a pet owner legally and financially responsible – liable – for your dog bite injuries will depend on the circumstances of your case and the laws in your state. Some states use a strict liability law, where the owner or controller of the dog is liable for injuries and property damage regardless of whether the owner was negligent or had reason to suspect that the dog was capable of biting someone.
Other states use a one-bite rule, which is based on the legal theory of negligence. Negligence refers to an action or omission that a reasonable and prudent pet owner would not have committed in the same or similar circumstances. One-bite states hold that a pet owner will only be liable for a bite injury if the dog had a history of violence and the owner was negligent in preventing a subsequent bite.
California uses a strict liability dog bite statute, where a pet owner can be liable even without proof of negligence. California Civil Code Section 3342 states that the owner of a dog is liable for the damages suffered by a victim who was bitten by the dog while lawfully on private property or in a public place, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or whether the owner knew of such viciousness.
If your injuries were caused by a dog bite and you were lawfully on the property where the attack occurred, the owner or controller of the dog is liable for your injuries. Note, however, that this law generally does not apply to dog bite injuries that occur while a dog is performing police or military work.
Who Is Liable for Dog Bites?
In most cases, the owner of the dog is liable for injuries, deaths, or property damage caused by the dog. If someone else was controlling or keeping the dog, however, such as a dog walker or family member, that individual may be liable instead. California’s definition of a dog “owner” can mean someone who is keeping or harboring the animal. If someone other than the owner was exercising care, control or custody over the dog at the time of the attack, that party may be liable for injuries.
In a case involving a dog that is owned by a child under the age of 18, his or her parents will be vicariously liable. In this case, it would be the parents’ responsibility to pay for the injured victim’s bills. Finally, a landlord in California could be liable for dog bites if he or she knew that a tenant was keeping a dangerous dog but did not do anything to prevent foreseeable attacks. If you have questions regarding liability, speak with a skilled Los Angeles dog bite lawyer. He or she will be able to help you determine liability after discussing the specifics of your case.
Who Pays After a Dog Bite?
One of the most common reasons why dog bite injury victims do not seek legal remedies is concern that the dog owner will suffer financial hardship as a result of the lawsuit – especially if the owner is a friend or family member. Note, however, that in most cases, it is the pet owner’s insurance company that pays for injury claims. A homeowners insurance policy generally covers dog bite injuries that occur on the owner’s property, as pets are technically classified as property.
If a dog bite injury occurs while the pet is sitting inside of a vehicle, the owner’s car insurance company will cover the claim. Some insurance companies sell policies that specifically cover dog attacks. If the pet owner took out one of these policies, this insurance can pay for bite injuries. If the pet owner does not have any insurance, however, he or she is individually liable.
A pet owner may pose a defense against a dog bite injury claim. A common defense is alleging that the victim was trespassing at the time of the attack. In California, trespassing on private property can bar a dog bite victim from financial recovery. Another common defense is alleging that the victim was partially responsible, such as by provoking the dog. In California, partial fault can reduce the victim’s financial recovery by an equivalent amount.
Common Causes of Dog Bites
A dog may decide to bite someone for many different reasons. Even a household pet that has never shown signs of viciousness may snap unexpectedly under the wrong circumstances. Often, a dog will bite in response to an environmental factor, such as feeling scared or threatened. In other cases, a dog will bite to protect its owner or territory. In California, it is a pet owner’s responsibility to prevent foreseeable dog attacks by maintaining adequate control of the pet at all times.
Some of the most common reasons dog attacks occur in Los Angeles are:
- A pet owner breaking California’s leash laws
- A dog running at large
- A pet owner failing to control a dangerous animal
- Someone trespassing on private property
- Someone trying to pet an unfamiliar dog
- Harming or provoking a dog
- Someone disrupting a dog while it is eating or nursing
Do your best to prevent a dog bite injury in Los Angeles by never petting or reaching out to a stray or unfamiliar dog. If you know that a friend or relative has a dog, make sure the owner is home or the dog is safely put away before stopping by. If you think you’re about to be attacked, keep your distance, remain still (don’t run) and do not make any loud noises. Stand slightly sideways and avoid direct eye contact with the dog. Try to remain calm and assertive to create an energy barrier between you and the dog. You may be able to deescalate the situation and avoid an attack.
Types of Dog Bite Injuries
Dog attacks can be catastrophic, meaning they cause injuries that will impact the victim for life. When some dogs attack, they do not let go. Their teeth, jaws, and claws can cause significant injuries, such as:
- Broken bones
- Injured muscles and ligaments
- Cuts, scrapes, and deeper lacerations
- Puncture wounds
- Facial injuries
- Eye injuries
- Nerve damage
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Infections or diseases
- Wrongful death
A dog attack can also cause emotional injuries, such as distress, anguish, a phobia of dogs and post-traumatic stress disorder.
What To Do After a Dog Bite in Los Angeles
If you suffer a dog bite injury in Los Angeles, take the following steps to protect yourself physically and financially:
- Try to remain calm and get to a safe place.
- Exchange information with the pet owner.
- Write down the names and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the attack.
- Call animal control in Los Angeles to report the dog bite.
- Get immediate medical care for your injuries.
- Write down what happened for your own records while it is still fresh in your mind.
- Document the losses associated with the attack, including your medical bills.
- Call the pet owner’s insurance company to file a claim.
- Do not give the insurance company a recorded statement.
- Talk to a Los Angeles dog bite attorney about your legal rights before accepting a settlement from an insurance company.
Taking the correct first steps after a dog attack in LA can help you avoid infections and hold the pet owner accountable for your losses.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites in California?
As a dog bite injury victim, it is important to obey California’s statute of limitations when bringing a lawsuit. This is a law that places a deadline on your right to file. In general, you must bring a dog bite lawsuit within two years of the date of the attack. If the dog bite victim was under the age of 18, they may have until their 20th birthday to file, even if this is longer than 2 years after the attack.
With only some exceptions, the courts in California will refuse to hear an injury claim that is filed after the expiration of the statute of limitations. This is why it is important to consult with a dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as possible after the event. An attorney can quickly go to work on your case to make sure that your lawsuit is filed before the deadline.
How Much Money Can You Get for a Dog Bite?
At Rose, Klein & Marias LLP, we know that money does not solve everything for victims with serious injuries from dog attacks. However, securing fair and full financial compensation can go a long way toward improving your peace of mind. It can allow you to pay for your necessary medical care, including reconstructive surgery and psychological therapy, as well as make up for other losses, such as lost earnings. You may be eligible for compensation for the following damages, and more:
- Medical bills (present and future)
- Missed wages and income-earning opportunities
- Property damage repairs
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and psychological anguish
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement or disability
- Lost quality or enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Death benefits
- Punitive damages
The value of your dog bite claim will depend on circumstances that are unique to your case. The severity of your injuries, for example, can impact how much you will receive from the defendant’s insurance company. The best way to determine the value of your claim is by consulting with an experienced dog bite attorney lawyer in Los Angeles. An attorney can give you an accurate idea of how much your case is worth before you negotiate with an insurance provider.
How Much Is a Dog Bite Lawyer?
It is normal to be concerned about the price of hiring a lawyer after a dog bite or attack. You may already be dealing with significant costs arising from your injuries. To keep our rates affordable, our dog bite lawyers at Rose, Klein & Marias LLP operate on a contingency fee basis. With this payment arrangement, you will never have to pay out of pocket for your attorney.
If we do not secure financial compensation for your losses, you won’t pay – guaranteed. If we do win your case, we will deduct our fees as a percentage of the overall settlement or verdict won. This allows you to pursue a claim with help from an experienced attorney without any financial risk. It also incentivizes your Los Angeles dog bite lawyer to obtain maximum compensation, as how much he or she makes depends on how much is won.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Dog Bite Attorney in Los Angeles, CA
A dog attack can be a physically and emotionally scarring event. At Rose, Klein & Marias LLP, we can help you pursue closure, justice and fair financial compensation from the pet owner or another party after a dog bite injury. We will use the full power of our resources to prove your case and help you get through this difficult time. Start with a free, zero-obligation consultation. Call (213) 626-0571 or contact us online today to request a case review.