Dog bite incidents inflict as much physical trauma on the victim as they do emotional trauma on those parties who witness them. If you want to take legal action against a potentially liable party after a dog bite incident, a La Verne dog bite lawyer could give you the tools to start building your case. You can schedule a free case consultation with a team member from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today by calling (800) 816-0755.
Your Potential Legal Options After a Dog Bite
You have several different ways to fight for compensation after a dog bite accident. For example, you could receive a settlement offer from the party you wish to hold liable for your losses. In these cases, you can compare an offer against your compensation estimate and negotiate for more with help from a La Verne dog bite lawyer.
However, if you want to take legal action on your terms, you can use a demand letter or a legal complaint. Demand letters allow you to contact a potentially liable party about working out a settlement. In contrast, complaints initiate a lawsuit, allowing you to go before a judge and jury to bring your case to court.
You must file a complaint within the two-year statute of limitations set by the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1. However, the only restriction on demand letters is the receiving party’s desire to respond to your request for compensation.
Determining Fault for a Dog Bite Incident
Determining fault in a dog bite case can become complicated. California Civil Code (CIV) §3224 clarifies that you can hold the dog owner strictly liable for your bite-related injuries and losses. However, should you or a loved one fall victim to a dog bite, you have the option of holding the following parties accountable if you have the evidence to do so:
- The person who owns the property where the dog lives.
- The person caring for the dog (e.g., a dog walker or trainer).
- The landlord who owns the property where the dog lives.
If the dog’s owner also owns the property where the attack took place, you have the right to hold them liable for your losses, regardless of whether they were present at the time the bite took place.
However, there are circumstances in which at-fault parties might challenge your liability claim in a dog bite case. These sorts of challenges will consider your role in the incident.
As a visitor to another person’s property, be it public or private, the owner owes you a duty of care. This duty of care notes that the property owner or manager must provide you with reasonable protections to prevent unexpected injury. You are entitled to this duty of care if you are an invitee or licensee on someone’s property:
- Invitees: People invited to another party’s property at their leisure. They have the right to file a civil suit against a property owner or any of the above applicable parties.
- Licensees: People who come onto another party’s property with the intent to sell a product or otherwise provide a service. They could also file a civil suit against a property owner if they suffered harm due to a dog bite.
Trespassers, too, might be entitled to a duty of care while on another person’s property, but with caveats attached. Child trespassers, who may not be aware of the dangers around them, receive the same entitlement to a duty of care that invitees and licensees do. However, adult trespassers who come onto another person’s property intending to cause harm do not receive the same duty of care that other parties do.
Finally, the dog owner might allege that you provoked the dog, causing the animal to bite you. If they can show you share blame for the attack, California’s comparative negligence rules could mean the court will reduce any award you receive proportionately to your fault. A La Verne dog bite lawyer can help you fight this allegation and show you did not cause the attack. 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
Dog Bite Accident Compensation
You have the right to request both economic and non-economic damages after a dog bite incident. A La Verne dog bite lawyer can help you gather evidence of your economic damages, with relevant evidence ranging from medical bills to employment opportunities that you lost because of your injuries. Your non-economic damages may not have tangible economic value, but you can establish what those losses might look like with help from an attorney.
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The Breed of Dog That Attacks You Doesn’t Affect Your Compensation
Some dogs have more proclivity towards violence than others. These breeds, including Rottweilers and dalmatians, are high-energy dogs that often thrive when given jobs to do around a person’s property. However, just because these dogs are high-energy does not mean that they have a genetic predisposition towards violent behaviors.
Instead, dogs often become violent after exposure to violent surroundings. For example, dogs trained by police officers or military members to serve them may be more inclined towards violent behavior based solely on what behaviors their owner taught them as acceptable and worth a reward. Similarly, dogs trained to fight in illegal fighting rings may also become prone to aggressive behavior even after rehabilitation.
Abused dogs also become more inclined towards violent behavior, as that behavior might have allowed them to protect themselves from harm in the past.
Effectively, it is not the breed of the dog that indicates the possibility of aggressive behavior, but rather the dog’s training and prior treatment. With that in mind, you do not have the option of requesting additional compensation for your losses based on the breed of the dog that attacked you.
However, you might have the option of discussing the animal’s living conditions with a La Verne dog bite lawyer to see if you can bring conversations about animal abuse into your fight for compensation. A judge could impose punitive damages on owners or trainers who abused a dog or trained it to attack trespassers.
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A La Verne Dog Bite Lawyer Can Represent You
You do not have to let any fears you might have about legal fees prevent you from taking legal action after a dog bite incident. The La Verne dog bite lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm won’t send you a bill for the services you receive unless you receive compensation for your losses. To start building your case, call our team today at (800) 816-0755.