Dogs can be excellent pets, but a canine of any breed can cause serious injuries if it bites a person. A dog bite may cause a deep gash that requires stitches, and the victim may be left with permanent scarring or disfigurement. A wound may not seem serious at first, but it may turn out that the person has painful neurological damage that makes it hard to perform daily tasks and requires surgery and physical therapy.
Dog owners have a duty to protect others from harm. If you were bitten by someone else’s dog, you may be able to take legal action and seek financial compensation to cover your losses, including medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
An El Segundo dog bite lawyer may be able to help you seek justice. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm helps clients in California and across the United States pursue compensation for losses they suffered due to someone else’s negligence. Call our office at (800) 816-0755 to schedule a free consultation with a staff member.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite in California
Under California’s strict liability law, if a dog bites someone, the owner is usually liable for damages. If a person is bitten while in a public place, such as in a park or on a sidewalk, or “lawfully in a private place,” such as at the dog owner’s home, the victim can file a lawsuit against the owner, according to California Civil Code §3342.
The statute applies if the victim was on the property “upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner” or performing a duty imposed by California law or by United States postal regulations. A dog owner can be held liable for a bite, even if the animal did not have a history of aggressive behavior or the owner was unaware of past biting. Under the principle of strict liability, a victim does not have to prove the animal’s owner was negligent.
What a Dog Owner Should Do to Protect Others from Bites
Regardless of a dog’s breed and whether it has a history of aggressive behavior, any animal may bite if it feels threatened or frightened. A dog owner should take reasonable measures to control the animal and to prevent aggression toward humans.
For example, an owner should keep a dog on a leash when out in public and obey the rules when at a dog park or a public park. A dog should only be off-leash when that is permitted, and the owner should consider conditions that might cause the pet to behave aggressively, such as the presence of other dogs and people or loud noises. An owner should be familiar with how a pet typically responds in certain situations. They also may need to take other precautions to keep the animal calm and protect others.
A dog on private property should be kept confined. A fence should be high enough to prevent a pet from escaping and keep people, including children, from entering the yard. The fence should be inspected, maintained, and repaired as necessary to keep the dog from getting loose.
Under CIV §3342.5, the owner of a dog that has bitten a person on at least two separate occasions, or the owner of a dog that has been trained to fight, attack, or kill and has bitten a person and caused substantial injury, may be legally required to take additional actions.
The law states that under those circumstances, any person, including the district attorney or city attorney, may bring an action against the owner to determine whether changes need to be made to how the dog is treated or confined to protect other people from harm.
In some cases, the dog may be removed or destroyed. An animal control or law enforcement officer may also file a petition to have a dog with a history of biting be declared potentially dangerous or vicious under California’s Food and Agriculture Code (FAC) §31621.
For a free legal consultation with a Dog Bites Lawyer serving El Segundo, call (800) 794-0444
How to Seek Justice for Your Injuries
An El Segundo dog bite lawyer could file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf against the owner of the animal that bit you. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may pursue a financial award to compensate you for your past and future medical bills, lost income if your injuries or medical appointments kept you from working, and pain and suffering.
We may be able to negotiate a settlement and help you avoid the stressful and time-consuming process of going to trial. If we are unable to reach a settlement agreement with the defendant’s attorney, we could take your case to court to seek a financial award we think will fairly compensate you for your losses.
If you were bitten by a dog in the El Segundo area and are interested in taking legal action, give Pintas & Mullins Law Firm a call today to discuss your situation. You can set up a free consultation with us where you can ask questions, and we can advise you on your legal options.
El Segundo Dog Bites Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
If the Dog Owner Blames You
The owner of the animal that bit you may claim you did not have a right to be on the property or that you did something to provoke the dog. If you were invited, were delivering mail, were performing maintenance or repairs, or had some other legitimate reason to be at the dog owner’s home, we could present evidence to show that. If the owner claims you provoked the animal, we may interview you and eyewitnesses and review any surveillance or cellphone video that captured the incident.
If you did something that contributed to the attack, you may still be entitled to compensation. California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that you may be eligible for a financial award even if you were 99 percent at fault. Under those circumstances, the amount of compensation you will receive will be adjusted to account for your share of liability.
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Work with an El Segundo Dog Bite Lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm
The statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years, according to the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1. We will file your case on time to make sure you meet the deadline. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 816-0755 so that our team can get to work on your behalf as quickly as possible.