Dog Bite Lawyer in Los Angeles

Contact in Los Angeles Dog Bite Laywer: Determining Liability for Dog Bite Case

At The Law Offices of Oscar H. Gutierrez, APC we understand that dog accidents can happen when you least expect them to. It is unreasonable and unfair for victims to pay for the physical and emotional damages that follow. Owners have a duty of care to make sure nearby pedestrians, friends, or family don't get attacked or bitten.

Training, socializing, and properly restraining your pet when needed will limit risks and liabilities. But failing to take these precautionary measures often results in a lawsuit should someone get hurt. Whether you’re the owner or the victim, we can help you pursue justice and compensation while offering you the support you'll need.

Dog Bite Statistics 

In 2018 California was reported to have the highest rate of dog bite cases than any other state in the U.S. According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, further studies show:

  • 4.5 million dog bites were reported in the U.S. annually
  • Nearly 20% of the 4.5 million cases required medical attention
  • In 2017, 488 of 3,600 claims resulted in $18.7 million in compensation
  • Children, postal workers and the elderly are frequent dog-bite victims
  • 1/3 of homeowner's liability insurance claims were dog-bite related

California is a great state to own a dog. While these statistics are alarming, it is valuable information to know. Dog bites are more common than they seem.

Who Should You Hire for A Dog Bite Injury Claim?

If a dog viciously attacked you or a loved one, it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles. At Gutierrez Law, our esteemed legal team has represented clients for over 40 years. You deserve representation from someone who is conversant with the statutory laws regarding canines in the state of California and who will be able to fearlessly fight for you against the defendant.

Dog bite injuries often go far beyond physical damage. The accompanying emotional trauma can have a lifetime effect on the victim. A few examples of what some of our clients suffered from include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Severe head and brain injuries
  • Deep muscular tears and contusions
  • Loss of flesh muscles
  • Lifelong scarring
  • Long term emotional trauma
  • Amputations

During a free consultation we will review all aspects of your claim to ascertain how much your case is worth.

California Laws Against Dog Bites

California is one of few states with strict liability laws against dog bites. Owners' can face criminal and civil charges when their pets hurt someone or show signs of aggression. Courts have even upheld claims against landlords whose tenants had their visitors bitten by a dog in their building.

Whether there was prior knowledge that the dog had attacked someone before doesn't matter in court if the plaintiff can demonstrate the following:

  • The dog bit them
  • It happened in a public or private place, including the owner's property

The only time an owner might not be held responsible for a dog bite accident is if it was:

  • A provoked attack
  • The attacks happened during a crime
  • There were signs of animal cruelty

But if a personal injury lawyer in LA establishes the dog in question was vicious, the court will compensate the plaintiff and impose conditions to control the defendant's animal. Potentially dangerous dog-related injuries can result in a $500 fine; vicious dog-related injuries or wrongful death can result in a $1,000 fine. In cases where they are still a threat to public safety, the dog might be euthanized. Circumstances vary per case.

How To Prevent A Dog Bite

There are preventative measures that can be taken to avert unwarranted circumstances.

  • Socialize your pet – it will help him/her feel at ease in different situations
  • Use a leash – when in public, keep your dog on a leash to ensure you maintain control
  • Train your dog – proper instruction will reduce the risk of dog bites
  • Pay attention to body language – body gestures, postures, how your dog communicates
  • Avoid risky situations – Knowing when to let strangers, friends, or family interact
  • Fence the yard – it will keep adults and children out and free from harm

When Should I Sue for A Dog Bite?

Dealing with a dog bite accident claim alone will be challenging without the legal expertise of an attorney. The best time to sue is after you've received emergency treatment for your injuries. Having a medical report to use as the basis of your lawsuit will increase your chances of receiving maximum compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, or other costs. To help you decide the best course of action, you might find the following resources helpful.

Related Articles About Dog Bite Injuries

Dog Bite Settlements in California
Settling is dependent on several factors, such as the injury itself, the statute of limitations, and the type of breed. A settlement is an agreed-upon resolution between the victim and the pet owner regarding a monetary amount. In most cases where the dog's owner has a pre-existing homeowner's policy, their insurance company will oversee settling and paying the financial amount. The total should reflect damages caused, including:

  • Lost Wages
  • Lost Earning Potential
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Medical Bills (Both Future and Past)
  • Health Insurance Deductibles

Read on to learn how a settlement can get underway, why lawyers reject the first offer, and how to file a lawsuit.
5 Reasons to Hire A Dog Bite Attorney
If you or a loved one were recently attacked by a dog – or if you are a dog owner that was presented with an unlawful case, our attorneys strive to provide you with the best representation. Hiring legal counsel to discuss the accident allows you a chance to strengthen your claim for the best outcome. Injuries, both physical and emotional, have adverse effects on everyone involved. You deserve to get compensated. This article details five reasons it is in your best interest to hire an attorney to manage your domestic animal attack case.

Who Is Liable in A Dog Bite Case?
California imposes strict laws regarding dog liability. Section 3342 assigns responsibility to the dog owner in most circumstances. Higher risks are determined by where the attack took place.

For example, studies show postal workers are attacked the most when entering private properties to deliver mail. Private property normally classifies personally owned land. Whereas public properties can include government grounds and government workers.

One of few exceptions applies to law enforcement and military personnel who are exempt from the statute if their dog bites someone while performing its duties.

The "One-Bite" Rule for Dogs
The "one-bite" rule is a recognized law that pertains to the dog owner. Most states adhere to this policy, whereas others require additional evidence to rule out the dog's behavior.

The owner is liable for injuries sustained only if they knew of the dog's vicious nature before the attack. If your furry companion is aggressive at the slightest provocation, you should provide notice and warning that there is a possibility of your dog harming someone. It is one of many factors that will be weighed in a case.

Read on to learn how the rule can apply to you if you own a dog or were hurt in California.

Evidence in Dog Bite Cases
If you were attacked and hired legal counsel, they would request substantial evidence to build your claim. Photographic evidence is a vital component to evaluate scratches, bruises, and punctured skin. In most legal assessments, the dog's breed has a strong correlation with the nature of the wound. Rather than settle on your own, you should hire a trusted attorney to help you along the way.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bite Accidents

Before you reach out to a dog bite attorney from Gutierrez Law, you should follow these key steps:

  1. What should I do when a dog bites me?
    • Identify the dog that attacked you.
    • Locate the owner, caretaker, or dog sitter responsible at the time of the accident
    • Take photographic evidence of the accident scene, dog and injury.
    • Seek immediate medical attention even if the injury is minor. It can get infected and lead to further damage when left untreated.
    • As you wait for emergency services, look for nearby pedestrians that might be able to testify on your behalf.
  2. What should I expect if my dog attacks someone?
    Suppose your dog attacks someone on public or private property. A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer would tell you that what happens to your furry companion depends on the nature of the attack and whether your dog has a history of biting. Dogs that exhibit harmful behavior are often categorized in one of two ways: potentially dangerous or vicious.

    Potentially Dangerous
    The dog has attacked an individual or other canine 2+ times within three years. The wounds are minor.

    The dog has fatally attacked/killed someone or another animal 2+ times within three years.

  3. Can I report a dog bite in California without going to a lawyer?
    Yes! If you feel the dog bite injury does not require filing a lawsuit, you can always contact Animal Control to report the incident. When you go to the hospital or receive treatment elsewhere, doctors have a legal responsibility to report your injuries as well.
  4. Would my apartment manager share liability for a dog attack?
    That depends. Property managers are only liable for attacks if the landlord rents to a tenant with a dog and fails to maintain the premises. Neglecting to put up a sign or fence can be damaging for their case. To better understand how it could impact you, we recommend scheduling a consultation.

Consult With the Best in California

At Gutierrez Law, our dog bite lawyers are prepared to discuss the necessary steps to take after you have been bitten or attacked by a dog. When we meet for a consultation, we will discuss your case in further detail to strategize the next steps. Call us without any further delay at (323) 999 – 3500 so that our lawyers can bring the dog owner responsible for your pain to justice.