Malibu Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
One of the main advantages of staying at your weekend time-share in Malibu is the peace and quiet it offers after a busy work week in L.A. Your favorite morning pastime is getting up to watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee and then jogging on the beach, followed by a dip in the hot tub. But one morning, your solitude was invaded by the sound of a barking dog. It’s not totally unusual, although dogs aren’t allowed on the beach. You finally see the large shepherd mix as it lunges into you and sinks its teeth into your ankle.
You stumble and sprain your wrist trying to break the fall, while noticing a fountain of blood from your bitten ankle. Your foot is numb, so you suspect it severed a nerve. The owner finally catches up, leash in hand. If they wanted to let their pooch off leash, you wonder, then why didn’t they go to the nearby Malibu Bluffs dog park? In any event, you’re injured and need medical attention.
You should also call a Malibu dog bite injury lawyer at Walch Law, since you’ll probably miss work and you’re not even close to reaching your high medical insurance deductible. Dog bite injury claims aren’t always as straightforward as they may at first seem but we have over four decades of successfully handling these types of personal injury claims and will work tirelessly to make sure you get the most for your injuries. We’ll discuss the basics of California dog bite laws, liability, and claims for damages.It’s the Dog’s Fault, but Who Pays for Your Injuries?
California law applies strict liability to dog bite injuries, which means it’s not necessary for you to prove negligence or that the dog has a history of biting in the event that you’re injured by a dog bite. You simply need to file a claim that a dog owned by the defendant (the liable party) bit you and caused injury. Several other state laws use a “one bite” rule that let’s dog owners off the hook if it has never happened before and they were following leash laws and were not negligent at the time.
There are instances where California’s strict liability law for dog-related injuries don’t apply:
- Injuries that didn’t result from bites
- 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
Note that this does not include non-bite injuries, but you may still be able to file a claim for your sprained wrist which resulted from getting knocked over by the dog. Your Malibu dog bite injury lawyer will be best suited to determine how to proceed with your claim(s).Negligence Per Se for Malibu Dog Bites
Since you sprained your wrist after being knocked down by the dog that also bit you, it isn’t covered by California’s strict liability law. But since the owner let their dog off the leash and also violated the law banning dogs from the beach in the first place, they may be held liable for negligence per se in the case of your sprained wrist or any other injuries you may have suffered as a result of getting knocked over. Not only are they strictly liable for your bite-related injuries, but they’re also liable for failing to obey the law. As with any other negligence claim, 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 you a duty of care to refrain from taking their dog to the beach and letting it off the leash. They breached that duty by ignoring the law, resulting in you getting knocked over and spraining your wrist. Had the defendant kept their dog on a leash (and off the beach), none of this would have happened. Because of the accident, you’ve suffered a sprained wrist and perhaps other injuries.Claiming Damages for Your Malibu Dog Bite Injuries
The term damages refers to a monetary claim pertaining to the injuries you suffered because of another party’s negligence or strict liability. Or put differently, how much is your Malibu dog bite injury worth? Every situation is unique, but your damages 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
If you’ve been injured by a dog bite or some other incident involving the dog owner’s negligence, you’ll want to work with a Malibu dog bite injury lawyer who knows how to help you get properly compensated for your injuries. Call the legal professionals at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation for more information about how they can help you. We know how devastating a dog bite injury can be and are here to help get you money to cover the full impact this major personal injury has had on your life- give us a call today to get started. Hiring us is as easy as one consultation and we take all our cases on a contingency fee basis meaning you don’t pay until you get paid.