Glendale Dog Bite Lawyers
According to the California Department of Public Health, as many as five million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. While some of these injuries are minor, not all of them are. When you’re the victim of a dog bite attack, it can be a traumatic experience that can affect you both physically and emotionally. Dogs can be powerful animals, and an aggressive or vicious dog can cause serious injuries, leading to severe pain or disability.
The aftermath of a dog attack can leave you with medical bills and lost wages that create financial hardship in your life. You should not be responsible for paying for injuries that were not your fault. When you have a Los Angeles dog bite attorney on your side, you have the best possible chance of receiving fair compensation for your attack.
Your health matters to us and often times dog bite victims require serious medical attention due to the possible chance of an infection from disease or bacteria that the dog bite can carry. Many dogs in the Los Angeles area carry disease and bacteria that require the immediate medical attention of antibiotics. While there are a variation of how dog bite incidents occur whether it be an accident, or negligent owner your life can change.
Some dog bites are severe and result in disfigurement and scarring while others will result in puncture wounds and discomfort. An experienced dog bite attorney can maximize your results and get adequate compensation while you focus on getting your mental and physical health back to normal.
Making an informed decision in hiring a Los Angeles dog bite attorney is critical and we are here to help answer all your questions and concerns free of charge.
We have extensive experience handling dog bite cases and recovering substantial awards for dog bite injury clients. Effective legal handling of dog bites requires experience in this arena. Knowledge of how to investigate the dog’s medical history and record of previous attacks is essential.
Is a Dog Owner Liable for a Dog Attack?
California is considered a “strict liability” state. This means that dog owners are considered responsible for the actions of their pets at all times and are expected to take reasonable steps to protect others from being attacked by their dog. California’s dog bite law is section 3342 of the Civil Code. Per this law, a dog owner is liable for damages caused by a dog bite as long as the bite occurred in a public place or the victim was lawfully on private property.
This can be a shock to some dog owners, who may claim their dog has never behaved aggressively or bitten anyone before this one incident that caused a serious injury to someone. Even if this is the only time the dog has ever hurt someone, the owner is still liable. A victim of a dog bite only needs to prove that they were bitten in a public place or that they were legally in a private place.
The “One Bite Rule” does not apply and owners are 100% responsible and liable for compensation associated with any injuries suffered by their dog.
Exceptions to Owner Liability
There are some situations in which the dog’s owner wouldn’t necessarily be considered liable. There is an exception written into the law for dogs that are doing police work or military work who are harassed or provoked. For this type of dog, the agency handling the dog has to have a written policy for how working dogs are handled.
If a person was trespassing on private property or attempting to commit a crime such as a burglary, they wouldn’t be able to collect damages from a dog owner if they ended up getting attacked or bitten by a dog. In these cases, the victim clearly wasn’t lawfully on private property.
What to Do if You Are Bitten by a Dog
One of the biggest risks after a dog bite is infection, so it’s important to tend to your wound right away to try to prevent this from happening. If your injury is mild to moderate, you may be able to administer first aid to yourself. If it’s a very severe injury, you will need medical attention as soon as possible.
Wash the wound with soap and water as soon as you can after being injured. If it is bleeding, gently press a clean cloth over the wound to try to stop it. It’s a good idea to apply antibacterial ointment to the area if you have it, and wrap or cover the wound with a sterile bandage. If you know who the owner is, try to find out if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.
If you’re unable to stop the bleeding, call 911 immediately. You’ll also need a medical professional right away if there is severe pain, muscle or bone exposure or loss of function of any part of your body.
The more serious your injury is, the more likely you will also need an experienced lawyer. A serious injury will have both financial and emotional consequences, and you shouldn’t have to struggle with this by yourself.
How Dog Bites Can Affect Children
The emotional impact of a dog bite can be even more serious when the victim is a child. A small child can be easily overpowered by a large dog, and if that happens, the child is likely to be traumatized for life.
A child can’t always express feelings of emotional distress. Signs that a child may need professional help to deal with his or her feelings include:
- Clinging to parents
- Becoming withdrawn
- Acting out with crying or tantrums
- Sleep disturbances including nightmares
- Loss of interest in focusing on favorite activities or schoolwork
Injuries Caused by Dog Bites
While some dog bites are relatively minor, others can cause debilitating or disfiguring injuries. Injuries from a dog bite can be so serious that they are completely life-changing. Dogs may attack the hands, arms, feet, legs, neck, the head or the face. Bites that seem to be superficial can become infected from bacteria or disease that the dog may be carrying.
Consequences of severe dog bite injuries may include:
- Damage to tendons and nerves
- Damage to bones or joints including fractures and dislocations
- Damage to limbs that can’t be repaired leading to amputation
- Contraction of rabies, a deadly and life-threatening virus
- Scars and disfigurement, particularly of the face
The Emotional Impact of Dog Bites
Physical injury isn’t the only consequence that you may experience if you have been attacked or bitten by a vicious dog. A severe injury from a dog also has a lasting emotional and psychological impact on victims and these emotional problems can last for many years.
A person that goes through a severe dog attack can suffer from depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s not uncommon for victims to develop a lifelong fear of dogs, and some people even become afraid to leave their home.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites in California?
You may not realize at first how much impact a dog bite may have on your life. Immediately after a serious dog bite, you need to get proper medical care which may include hospitalization, surgery or rehabilitation. You may be left with permanent scarring or disability.
Dog bite injuries fall under personal injury law. In California, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases is two years. If you wait longer than two years to try to file a claim for your dog bite injury, it will be too long to obtain compensation.
Compensation for Your Dog Bite Injury
A shocking 4.7 million dog bites are estimated every year by the CDC. About 800,000 people who suffer from dog bites seek medical attention for their injuries and sadly a majority are children between the ages of 5 to 10 years old.
For adults who suffer from dog bite injuries, approximately 30% are puncture wounds and as many as 50% are more serious injuries. It is estimated that approximately 16 people die each year as a result of dog bite attacks.
If you or someone you care about has sustained serious injuries because of a dog bite attack you may be entitled to compensation. Types of compensation you may be entitled to include:
- Coverage of current and ongoing medical expenses
- Cost of mental health treatment
- Payment for emotional and psychological distress
- Lost wages or lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Potential Evidence in a Dog Bite Case
Taking the time to gather evidence for your dog bite case will give you the best chance of holding the dog owner liable. It’s a good idea for you or a loved one to take photos or videos of your injury, the scene where the attack occurred and the dog if possible.
If there are any witnesses to the attack, get their names and contact information. Their testimony may be a key factor in your case.
Write down key details so that you don’t forget anything important as time passes, including:
- When and where the incident happened
- The name of the dog owner
- Whether there was a report filed with Animal Control
- The contact information for any responding agency
- Information about medical treatment needed, including medical bills and records
Hire an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney
If you need legal guidance after a dog bite injury, it’s important to consult an attorney with expertise in the field of personal injury law. Contact Megeredchian Law by filling out the form on our contact page or call us now at (888)243-2050 to speak directly to one of our attorneys.