FACTS ABOUT DOG ATTACKS
When a dog attacks an individual – regardless of the victim’s age, physical build or mental attributes – the incident leaves a mark. This goes beyond the physical puncture wounds and bite marks suffered by the victim. There is a heavy emotional and psychological toll in dog bite cases, which is indisputable. Whether the victim is a 6-foot-tall man or a 2-foot toddler, they both go through a period of intense fear and insecurity. A dog attack is traumatic, period. The emotional trauma of a dog bite can last a lifetime.
Injuries associated with a serious dog bite are typically:
• Deep contusions
• Serious head and face injuries
• Long term emotional scars
If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, you should consult with a dog bite lawyer to determine if you are entitled to compensation to cover your damages and pain and suffering.
WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP
At Yagoubzadeh Law Firm, we have extensive experience representing victims of dog attacks. We will work relentlessly to obtain the financial compensation you deserve, to make the legal process as simple and painless as possible, and do our utmost to take pressure off you so that you may concentrate on recovering.
To learn more about our results in dog attack cases and how we can help you, call us now for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day at 1-800-982-9070.
If you, your child, or another loved one has been bitten and injured by a dog in the L.A. area, you should be aware of your rights and your recourse to file a tort action for full compensation. In recent years, many states have passed stricter statutes to protect the public from dangerous dogs, and California’s dog bite laws are particularly strong.
For example, in California Civil Code Section 3342.5, the duty is put upon dog owners to take all reasonable precautions to prevent their animals from harming other people. This includes keeping dangerous dogs inside or within a fenced perimeter from which they cannot escape. It also means that such fenced-off areas are not accessible to small children and that the dog owner must restrain his dog with a leash or by some other means when others are on his property.
In California, a “potentially dangerous dog” is defined as one that meets any of the following criteria:
- Without provocation, on two distinct occasions, its behavior necessitated a person to take defensive actions to prevent injury. The two incidents must have occurred within a three-year time span.
- In the past, the dog inflicted on someone an injury that would not qualify as “severe” under California law.
- The dog attacked and injured another animal outside of the dog owner’s property.
After a dog has been classified as potentially dangerous, if the owner does not take action to correct the dog’s dangerous behavior, the dog can become labelled as “vicious.” Any dog that severely injures or kills a human being can also be classed as a “vicious dog.” The owners of vicious dogs are liable for the harm they inflict on others, and the dogs themselves are subject to removal from the local area or even being put to sleep.
Unless a dog has been trained to fight, California does not normally remove a dog or put it to sleep after just the first bite. However, this does not mean that dog owners are given “one free bite.” As a strict liability state, owners are liable for the harm their dogs do to other people even if it is the first bite. Subsequent bites will only lead to more severe repercussions to negligent owners.
Even with strict liability, however, the California dog bite law does have some limitations. The dog bite law does not protect trespassers. It only applies to those bitten in public or while legally on private land. Nor does it apply to police and military dogs going about their duties. It only concerns personal injury rather than property damage, and only the owner of the dog is liable.
If a lawsuit is to be brought against a non-owner who had control of the dog at the time of the attack, the “one bite rule” may be resorted to. Since strict liability only applies to owners, this common law rule becomes indispensable in many cases. If the keeper of the dog was aware of “vicious propensities” of the dog under his care, and the dog exhibited “dangerous behavior” in the past, he can be held liable for injuries inflicted. While more difficult to prove than strict liability, it may become necessary to file a one bite rule suit.
Liability can also be based on “negligence per se,” which obtains whenever a law is violated and leads directly to an injury. The injury must have been one that the violated statute was specifically designed to prevent. In dog bite cases, violation of animal control laws constitute negligence per se. For example, dogs must be leashed while being walked and cannot be let to roam free in the neighborhood. Negligence per se will usually be an additional charge used as a “back up strategy” in case the main charge is not deemed applicable. For example, the judge may find the dog bite statute inapplicable if the injury is a scratch rather than a bite or if a non-owner is being sued.
Dog bite law can be quite complex, and defendants will hire skilled lawyers to try to prevent you from collecting any damages. Therefore, it is imperative to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in Los Angeles dog bite cases.
Defenses such as the following will typically be argued to deny your claim:
- They will claim you were trespassing or were not in a public place when attacked. You need a good lawyer to legally establish the legal location and situation of the attack.
- It may be argued that you provoked the dog, thus assuming a degree of risk. If you can be shown to have taunted or prodded the dog, your claim could be denied.
- Comparative negligence might also be argued. It might be argued you did not do enough to prevent a possible attack from a dog you knew had vicious tendencies.
- Finally, the defense attorney may try to get out of the claim based on legal technicalities. A serious injury might be called a scratch instead of a bite. The injury may have been caused when you were knocked down by the dog instead of by an actual bite.
Without expert legal representation on your side, a just claim to compensation could be denied simply because you were “legally outmaneuvered.” At Yagoubzadeh Law, we have a team of dog bite lawyers who have recovered tens of millions of dollars in claims their clients. We have studied at top law schools like UCLA and have earned the respect of attorney networks like AVVO. Our many years of experience in the Los Angeles area have given us a true advantage in the courtroom, and we know how to put that experience to work for you.
Injuries from dog bites include torn muscles, disfiguring lacerations, bone fractures, and deep contusions. Multiple stitches, cosmetic surgery, and even amputations are sometimes necessary to correct the damage. The total medical expenses and the loss of income due to forced time off work can all be compensated. The psychological trauma caused by dog bites, particularly to small children, can last for many years and is also subject to compensation. When the negligent acts of another cause you pain, trauma, and heavy medical expenses, it is your right to seek reimbursement for all you have suffered.
In California, as in most states, there is a statute of limitations on personal injury cases. You must file within two years of the dog attack. If the time limit runs out, you will lost your ability to file a lawsuit.
Yagoubzadeh Law is headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, but also serves Orange, Kern, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. Our services, in fact, extend throughout all of southern California. Feel free to call us 24/7 at 800-982-9070 or visit us online at www.yaglaw.com for help if you have suffered from a dog bite. We will tenaciously and adeptly fight to win your case, and we do not get paid unless we collect compensation for our clients.