Los Angeles Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
L.A. has some of the best dog parks and dog walking spots in California, whether you want to let your pooch play off leash with their buddies or help you lose those extra pounds as you jog on the beach. Most dogs are tame, but they also can be unpredictable and sometimes will surprise their humans and go rogue. There are certain precautions dog owners can take, such as keeping their pets on leashes when out in public and having them wear muzzles if they’re known to be aggressive. This pertains to dainty poodles just as much as it does to the toughest-looking pitbull.
If you own a dog, or even if you don’t and find yourself in the company of canines from time to time, it’s important to know your rights in the event of a dog bite. Whether the dog owner is negligent has some bearing on your claim for dog bite injuries, but you may have a valid claim either way. It’s best to sort out the details with a Los Angeles dog bite injury lawyer. We’ll discuss the basics of dog bite injury liability and claims below. Walch Law has over 40 years of experience helping victims of dog bites and would love to help you during this difficult time. We take all our cases on a contingency fee basis.Determining Liability for Your Los Angeles Dog Bite Injury
Some states apply what is known as “one bite” rule for dog bites, letting owners who are following proper dog handling procedures off the hook for the first such instance. But this is not the case in California, which applies strict liability for dog bite injuries. So if your neighbor’s otherwise mellow dog who is safely on a leash unexpectedly lurches and bites you as you cross paths, causing an injury, you may claim damages even though there was nothing the owner could have done to prevent it.
Strict liability, however, doesn’t apply to the following:
- Injuries that didn’t result from bites (knocking someone over, for example)
- Police or military dogs performing their official duties
- When trespassers are bitten
- When the dog is provoked or teased
- Individuals who are not the dog’s owner
In this sense, all California dog owners are on notice just by virtue of being a dog owner. It’s worth repeating that this does not include non-bite injuries, but you may still be able to file a claim for those types of injuries under a different legal theory (which would benefit from the help of a Los Angeles dog bite injury lawyer).Negligence and Other Injuries Caused by Dogs
As long as you were bitten by a dog (and your injuries are a direct result of the bite or bites), it’s not necessary to show that the dog owner was negligent. But what if you were knocked onto the pavement by an off-leash Great Dane, resulting in a broken hip or chipped tooth? In that case, you may be able to prove that the owner was “negligent per se” by failing to keep their massive dog on a leash. This would be like any other negligence claim, where you’d have to prove the following elements:
- Defendant (at-fault party) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (injured party)
- Defendant breached that duty
- Plaintiff’s injuries were in fact caused by this breach
- Defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the injury(ies), meaning the injuries would not have occurred if not for the defendant’s breach
- Plaintiff has suffered actual damages (legally recognized injuries), such as bodily injury
The defendant owed a duty of care to keep their dog on a leash. They breached that duty by failing to do so, resulting in you getting knocked to the ground and injured. Had the defendant kept their dog on a leash, none of this would have happened. Because of the accident, you’ve suffered a broken hip or some other injury. Knowing the legal theories of recovery isn’t important (we will take care of that) but what is important is that you maximize your financial recovery by getting in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can present the strongest case possible for you.Dog Bite Injuries and Claims for Damages
Dog bites differ in their severity from a painful laceration to more-complicated injuries. Sometimes a dog bite can lead to a serious infection or the contraction of a serious disease. In any event, you’ll want a full assessment of your injuries before you agree to a settlement offer.
Damages for a dog bite may include (but aren’t limited to) the following:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a limb
- Lost wages
- Diminished future earning potential
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Your first order of business after a dog bite is to seek immediate medical attention, as it may be more serious than it looks. You’ll also want to take notes and try to remember the specifics of how it all happened, which will help your attorney build the best possible case in your favor. If you’ve been bitten and injured by a dog in L.A., contact the seasoned experts at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation today. We can not only help get you paid for your injuries but we can also get you medical coverage now if that is something you are struggling to pay for. Get in touch with us today now and set up your initial consultation.