The Legal Responsibilities of Dog Owners in Los Angeles

While dogs have long been man's best friend, times do arise where they bite the hand that feeds them. Whether it is a large dog or even a small dog, puncture wounds and deep lacerations can damage muscles, tendons, or ligaments. In more severe cases, victims face disfigurement from scarring and require extensive plastic surgery. Whatever the case may be, you have legal options. At Gutierrez Law, we will do everything possible to help clients gain the compensation they need and deserve for their injuries.

California Dog Bite Statute

Once you consult with an attorney for domestic animal disputes, much of the discussion about your case will focus on California's dog bite statute as it pertains to liability. Under this ruling the dog's owner is held liable for injuries whether their pet has shown signs of aggressive behavior. The statute allows victims to seek compensation without having to prove the owner was at fault. To learn more and begin your lawsuit speak to a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles immediately.

The Dog Owner's Defense

While state laws are tilted heavily in favor of dog bite victims, owners do have some legal defenses they can use. The most common is proving the victim assumed the risk of being bitten. Unless eyewitnesses can corroborate the story or there is video evidence of the assumption of risk, this defense often falls flat in court. Should you face a situation where a dog owner is using such a defense against you, seek advice from a trusted lawyer.

Potentially Dangerous Dog

When you are involved in a dog bite case, it will usually come down to having your lawyer for dog attacks in Los Angeles prove the canine was "potentially dangerous." This refers to any dog engaging in hazardous behavior at least two times within the last 36 months. However, the incident must have occurred outside of the owner's property. Establishing this aspect of your case will require extensive work from your attorney.

Vicious Dog

Though the definitions are similar between a "potentially dangerous dog" and a "vicious dog," there are key differences that could carry a substantial role in your case. A dog is considered vicious if the dog attacks, injures, or kills someone unprovoked. Serious injuries may be muscle tears or disfiguring lacerations that require multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery to correct. In most cases vicious dogs are likely to continue showing signs. To ensure your case focuses on the correct classification of the dog that injured you or a loved one, put your trust in an attorney for domestic animal disputes.

Legal Responsibilities of Owners

Once dogs are classified as "potentially dangerous" or "vicious," owners have certain legal responsibilities. For example, they must confine them in an enclosure that prevents them from escaping and keeps children from gaining access. Dogs should not be allowed off the owner's property unless supervised, under the restraint of a leash, and controlled by a responsible adult. We want to ensure you maintain the right to ownership while limiting the risk of danger to the public.

Owner Liability

When "potentially dangerous dogs" injure people, the owner is liable to compensate plaintiffs for their injuries including a $500 fine. Similarly, when a "vicious dog" injures or kills an individual or animal, the owner can face a $1,000 fine and additional charges under the state dog statute.

If you or a loved one are dealing with the aftermath of an unwarranted attack, you should hold negligent owners accountable for their carelessness. To do so, schedule a consultation today at our law offices in Los Angeles. Our attorneys will fight to help obtain compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, legal fees, and other losses.