Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they can also be dangerous animals. While many do no harm, others can bite or otherwise cause bodily harm to pets and people. To this end, California has statutes granting victims the right to seek reasonable compensation for injuries and trauma. If a dog has bitten you or a loved one at the Los Angeles Arts District Dog Park, you may be eligible for financial compensation for losses, including medical expenses, lost earning potential, and pain and suffering.
If you live in the Los Angeles Arts District or the surrounding community, you can turn to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for guidance. Call (800) 794-0444 to speak with a staff member about your experience and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a Los Angeles Arts District Dog Park dog bite lawyer.
Dog Bite Laws in California
Just as cities like Los Angeles have “leash laws,” most states have laws requiring owners to practice reasonable prudence to prevent their animals from destructive or antisocial behavior. California is one of several states with “strict liability” laws regarding dog bites as outlined in California Civil Code § 3342. Under this code, all dogs have the potential to be dangerous in the eyes of the law. Owners are responsible in most cases, even if the dog has no known history of aggression or other unsociable behavior. However, conditions apply.
To be eligible for compensation in a dog bite injury claim:
- The dog must have bit you. This can include incidents where the dog’s jaws clamp down, but the teeth do not penetrate the skin. It may also include situations in which a dog bites an article of clothing, causing you to fall and injure yourself.
- You must have been in a public place, such as a dog park, or “lawfully in a private place.” People hurt carrying out functions of their job, i.e., a mail delivery person, are lawfully in a private place.
- The canine in question must not be a police or military animal carrying out their duties or defending themselves against provocative behavior.
If you were provoking or abusing the animal at the time of the incident, this strict liability may not apply to your case.
Establishing Liability in a Dog Park
Dog owners are responsible for taking reasonable action to prevent their animals from causing harm. Generally, this can include keeping them in a fenced yard or on a leash. However, at a leash-optional dog park, local leash rules do not apply. Fortunately for dog bite victims, the permission to have a dog off-leash does not waive an owner’s responsibility. A victim may still be able to prove the owner did not exercise expected prudence. For instance, if an owner knows their dog tends to be unruly, provocative, easily scared, or unsociable, they should keep their dog under close supervision or on a leash. Failure to do so may constitute negligence.
Furthermore, under California’s strict liability statute, the owner does not necessarily have to be negligent to be liable. Nonetheless, proving liability can be a complex undertaking requiring specific evidence. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal process.
An attorney can assist you by:
- Collecting evidence to prove the cause of your injury.
- Strategizing and building a case based on the details or your experience.
- Answering your questions and updating you on the progress of your case.
- Seeking compensation on your behalf.
Statute of Limitations
Statutes of limitations are time limits within which a victim must take legal action following an incident. Once the statute of limitations expires, it is significantly more difficult to achieve justice. Dog bite injuries are a type of personal injury. In California, victims have two years from the date of injury incident to file a claim under Cali. Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1. The deadline for a suit for a dog bite may change based on the circumstances of your case.
Legal Options for Dog Bite Injury Victims
A dog bite injury could take weeks or months to heal, particularly if it becomes infected or results in a broken bone or disfigurement. Certain physical or psychological effects may even be permanent. During the recovery period, you may incur medical and physical or mental therapy bills, which could amount to thousands of dollars. You may also be unable to work. Even after the injury heals, victims can experience reduced work capacity due to permanent, long-term effects, including physical disability and psychological trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.
If you experienced financial loss and health problems due to your dog bite, a Los Angeles Arts District Dog Park dog bite lawyer may be able to help secure compensation.
You may be compensated for one or more of the following:
- Past, current, or anticipated medical and rehabilitation expenses.
- Lost wages for the hours you missed due to physical incapacitation or medical appointments.
- Lost earning capacity.
- Permanent disfigurement.
- Mental anguish and pain and suffering.
- Loss of consortium.
For a free legal consultation with a arts district dog park lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help
Many people enjoy a trouble-free trip to their neighborhood Los Angeles dog park every day, but incidents are not unheard of. While some of these bite injuries are minor, many may require extensive medical care, including but not limited to reconstructive surgery. Many involve chronic adverse effects that can last a lifetime.
A Los Angeles Arts District Dog Park dog bite lawyer can help if you or a loved one have been injured. Speak with the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm about your experience. They can determine if you have a case and help you seek financial compensation to heal, rehabilitate, and move forward.
Call (800) 794-0444 to discuss your case with a staff member at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today.