Dog bites can cause severe injuries and emotional scars that may take years to heal. Some people develop a phobia of dogs that lasts a lifetime. According to State Farm, California led the nation in the number of dog bite injury claims in 2017. With thousands of residents calling East Los Angeles home, dog attacks are a fairly common occurrence in this part of town.
Pet owners need to keep their animals under control all the time and comply with laws prescribing the use of leashes and muzzles in certain situations. If you have suffered injuries due to a dog attack, an East Los Angeles dog bite lawyer can explain your legal rights and options. Schedule a free consultation today by contacting Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 816-0755.
Your Recovery Options After a Dog Bite
Many people who suffer injuries from a dog bite do not know whether they can recover compensation or how to get it. An East Los Angeles dog bite lawyer can help you pursue the liable dog owner and receive compensation to cover your injuries and other damages.
In most cases, a lawyer will help you submit a claim with the dog owner’s homeowners’ insurance company. Depending on your circumstances, you might also have the option to file a civil lawsuit over your injuries. A lawyer can help you decide which course of action to take. They can also help you determine fair compensation that could cover potential future damages, such as mental trauma.
Although recovering exemplary or punitive damages is not common in dog bite cases, your situation may warrant such an action. California Civil Code (CIV) §3294 makes this type of damages available for victims who suffered dog bites due to the pet owner’s egregious conduct. Usually, you can seek punitive damages when the defendant knew of the dog’s dangerous behavior yet did not take reasonable steps to protect you or gave the dog orders to attack you.
Liability in an East Los Angeles Dog Bite Incident
Identifying the owner of the dog that bit you is necessary when determining liability for your injuries. Keep in mind that the key elements when making a claim include:
- The defendant owns the dog.
- There was an actual bite and injury.
- You had a legal right to be where the bite occurred.
CIV §3342 places strict liability on dog owners after their animal injures someone by biting them. You can hold an East Los Angeles dog owner liable for dog bite injuries regardless of whether they knew that their pets displayed aggressive tendencies in the past or failed to take steps to protect victims from an attack. You do not need to prove negligence for your dog bite case, unlike most personal injury claims.
Take note that while the state adopts the strict liability doctrine, owners have some defenses available to escape liability. You cannot hold a dog owner answerable for your injuries if the following apply:
- You trespassed on private property.
- The dog bit you while assisting in a police or military operation.
- You treated the dog in your role as a veterinarian.
- You unnecessarily provoked the dog.
It is also crucial to understand that you cannot hold the owner accountable for injuries that resulted from other actions apart from a bite according to the dog bite statute. For instance, you cannot file a claim under the dog bite law if you got hurt when a dog chased or jumped on you.
However, you could hold them responsible for any negligent acts that result in injuries in a dog attack, such as failing to keep their dog on a leash. You can consult an East Los Angeles dog bite lawyer to determine which legal theory would be best for your case. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to learn more.
For a free legal consultation with a Dog Bite Lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Liability if the Dog Was Not Under the Owner’s Control
Your situation could become more complicated if the dog that bit you was not with its owner. You could hold the dog’s caretaker liable, but you need to show that they had previous knowledge of the animal’s vicious tendencies. Other potential parties who might bear responsibility for your injuries include:
- Property owners who failed in their legal duty to inspect the premises for hazardous conditions.
- Landlords who did not remove a tenant’s aggressive dog despite having a right to do so.
- A homeowner’s association.
- An animal shelter or kennel.
It is not uncommon for some dog owners to deny ownership to avoid liability. Other times, the defendant will argue that the victim trespassed on their property or provoked the attack. A dog bite attorney can help secure your legal rights to compensation by investigating the facts of your case and presenting evidence to support your claim.
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Filing a Lawsuit
If you cannot file a claim under California’s strict liability statute, you could turn to a civil lawsuit when seeking compensation. You must prove that the dog owner’s negligent behavior led to your injuries. To prevail in your case, you should demonstrate that the owner did not take reasonable care to stop the dog from harming you, and this negligence caused your injury.
Be mindful of the statute of limitations for dog bites in the state. California Code of Civil Procedure §335.1 typically gives you two years from the attack to file a suit, so you might want to contact an East Los Angeles dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you do not lose your right to recover your losses, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
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Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today to Explore Your Legal Options
If a dog bites you, first seek medical attention. Afterward, you could have the East Los Angeles dog bite lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm assess your situation to determine if you have a viable case. Set up your free consultation with a team member today by calling (800) 816-0755.
Call or text (800) 794-0444 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form