If you suffered injuries from a dog bite, a Southern California dog bite attorney may be able to help you get justice and hold the dog owner accountable. This could include receiving compensation for medical bills, time away from work, and other losses. The state of California has strong laws that allow you to pursue damages in dog bite cases.
Speak to a Southern California personal injury lawyer from KJT Law Group today about your options for legal action. We provide complimentary case reviews throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and other neighboring counties. Call (818) 507-8525 to learn more.
Millions of People Suffer Dog Bites Each Year
According to the Insurance Information Institute, there are about 4.5 million dog bites in the United States each year. Most dog bites are relatively minor, although some are severe or even fatal.
The National Canine Research Council reported 46 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States in 2020 alone. Surprisingly, most fatal dog bite victims were adults. The age breakdown included:
- Adults – 60.9 percent
- Children (under age 13) – 34.8 percent
- Teenagers – 4.3 percent
In nine of these cases, criminal charges were filed against the dog owner because they violated laws about keeping vicious dogs, restraining or containing their dogs properly, or other similar regulations.
When Insurance Companies Get Involved
If dog bite victims require a hospital visit, filing an insurance claim for compensation may be necessary.
The dog owner’s homeowner or renter insurance policy will typically cover these expenses. In 2021, dog bite liability cost insurers $882 million. Californians filed more dog bite claims than any other state (a total of 2,026 in 2021). The average payout per claim in California in 2021 was nearly $60,000.
Southern California Dog Bite Injuries and Damages
Most of the time, dogs handled properly by their owners and restrained on a leash outside their own yard do not attack unless provoked. When an animal runs free, the odds increase significantly. In some situations, dogs have unsupervised access to parts of their owner’s property where others may be, such as people making deliveries.
Several types of wounds can occur when a dog attacks, such as punctures, tears, fractures, or amputations. Scarring and disfigurement may be significant in some victims. The most common injuries include:
- Puncture wounds that require thorough cleaning to prevent infection
- Torn skin, ligaments, tendons, or muscles
- Broken bones
As you may already know, the cost of treating dog bite wounds adds up quickly. Some only require emergency treatment, while others require hospitalization, surgery, follow-up observation, therapy, or future care (such as plastic surgery). You could miss weeks or months of work and face a period with little to no income depending on your benefits. This experience leads to frustration, stress, and financial burden for many people.
Potential Damages for Southern California Dog Bites
When our attorneys seek compensation in a Southern California dog bite claim, we consider all the expenses and losses the client incurred because of the bite. These may include:
- Medical bills
- Future care costs
- Lost income
- Reduced ability to earn if there are lasting injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Wrongful death damages if the victim passed away
There Are Laws in Place to Help Prevent Dog Bites in Southern California
When a dog bites and injures you, our personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles can pursue a case on your behalf. According to state law (CIV § 3342), California dog owners have a duty of care to keep others safe from their animals. Under this law:
- The dog owner is liable for damages suffered
- The law applies when the victim is in a “public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog”
- There are no rules requiring the dog to have prior vicious behavior or for the owner to have knowledge of it
Local laws also outline what dog owners must do to keep their dogs and others safe. For example, LA County has strong licensing laws. Any dog over four months of age requires an annual license from the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care & Control.
LA County also has strong leash laws that prevent owners from allowing their dogs to roam free outside of their own yard. Owners must have control of their dog using a leash no longer than six feet while on public streets or in parks or other shared areas. San Diego, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties have similar laws under city or county codes.
Who Is Financially Responsible for Dog Bite Injuries?
Dog bites generally fall under California premises liability law. CIV § 1714(a) creates an obligation for property owners to provide “ordinary care.” This obligation applies to those who come onto their property or who come into contact with their dog offsite, such as finding the dog running free in the neighborhood or encountering them in a local park.
With the duty of care established under this law and California’s dog bite statute, it is possible to prove negligence occurred. This requires:
- Duty of care owed to the victim
- Breach of the duty of care
- Causation (in other words, the breach of the duty of care caused your injuries)
- Harm suffered by the victim
A Southern California dog bite lawyer from our team can explain this process and how we work to recover the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Dog Bite Attorney in Southern California Help Me?
When you work with a lawyer to fight for justice and hold the dog owner legally responsible, you do not have to do any of the legwork or worry about how to navigate the claims process. We handle all this for you, so you can focus on healing both physically and emotionally.
Our attorneys investigate what happened, protect your legal rights, communicate with the liable party and their insurer, and seek fair and just compensation based on your documented damages.
If you or a loved one were harmed in a canine attack, you can talk to one of our dog bite attorneys in Southern California today for free. Contact us now so we can assess your case and explain how we can help.
The Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites in Southern CA
When we need to sue a dog owner to pursue compensation, the time limits set by CCP § 335.1 create a deadline for beginning legal action. We generally have two years from the date of the dog bite incident to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in the appropriate county’s civil court. Missing this deadline jeopardizes our ability to move forward with your case.
Connect With a Southern California Dog Bite Attorney Today
Dog bites can be painful, leaving you with physical and emotional injuries and financial losses that you should not have to bear alone.
Are you ready to learn more about your legal rights after a Southern California dog bite? Our personal injury lawyers can assess your case for free today. Contact us online or call (818) 507-8525 for your free consultation.