Westlake Village Dog Bite Lawyer
A favorite pastime in Westlake Village is to walk your dog on the docks along the water after dinner, taking in the sunset and talking to neighbors. It’s a pretty unique place, but dogs are still dogs and occasionally cause problems. For example, you and your chihuahua were strolling along the water’s edge one evening when a passing pit bull (also on a leash) decided it didn’t like your companion and started growling. As they squared off, you intervened and the pit bull bit your forearm, causing a pretty bad bite wound.
The owner did everything she could to avoid the conflict but wasn’t able to pull her dog back in time to stop the bite. You’re injured because of her dog, but she didn’t seem negligent. Still, is she liable? And, more to the point, how are you going to pay rent if you can’t do your regular job as a carpenter until your arm heals?
Located near Westlake Village, the highly-rated law firm of Walch Law is who you want helping with your dog bite case. With over 45 years experience and a 98%+ success rate, Robert and Gary know how to win these cases. Call them now to learn more.Establishing Liability for Your Westlake Village Dog Bite Injury
The owner of the dog who bit you insists their pit bull is friendly and wasn’t trying to hurt anyone, while she followed the law and kept it on a leash. She wasn’t negligent, but she’s still liable. Here’s why: California law holds dog owners strictly liable for bite-related injuries caused by their dogs. Whether they were negligent or responsible is beside the point. Some other states have a “one bite” rule that allows them to avoid liability unless it’s happened in the past.
This means the owner is liable for your injuries despite her best intentions and responsible care. However, there are some exceptions; strict liability doesn’t apply to the following scenarios:
- Injuries that don’t result from bites (unless local ordinance states otherwise)
- 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
So if the pit bull knocked you off the dock and into the water, resulting in some other type of injury, the owner would not have been held liable unless they somehow were negligent (more on that later). If you had somehow teased the pit bull (not advised!), then they also would not have been held liable. These scenarios can sometimes get a little complicated, so you may want to work with a Westlake Village dog bite injury lawyer before filing your claim.Negligence Per Se for Westlake Village Dog Injuries
Strict liability is fairly straightforward: the dog bit you (and none of the exceptions apply), therefore the owner is liable for your injuries. But let’s say the dog did knock you off of your feet and you were injured as a result. They’re not strictly liable for that injury, unless they were negligent by, for example, not keeping their dog on a leash or otherwise acting in a way inconsistent with that of a reasonable person. To prove negligence, you have to show the existence of 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
Plaintiffs in certain scenarios may choose to file both a strict liability and negligence claim, just to strengthen their hand a bit. Your Westlake Village dog bite injury will be best able to determine the right course of action for your claim to make sure that you are getting paid the most in the end.Claiming Damages for Your Westlake Village Dog Bite Injuries
Injury claims involve a claim for damages, which is a term describing the monetary value of your losses from the other party’s negligence. Whether it’s a dog bite or some other injury, you may claim the following types of damages:
- • Medical expenses
- • Pain and suffering
- • Loss of a limb
- • Disfigurement
- • Lost wages
- • Diminished future earning potential
- • Loss of enjoyment of life
Even man’s best friend can be unpredictable at times and although accidents do happen, the law requires responsible parties to cover the injuries of injured parties. If you’ve been injured by a dog, whether it’s just a simple dog bite or some other kind of dog-related injury, call the legal experts at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation at your earliest convenience. We would love to help you during this difficult time and for many the large settlement we get them not only helps out financially but also helps to put some emotional closure to the encounter.