Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyers
Dogs have the potential to be dangerous when proper care is not taken. According to data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, approximately 20,000 people are injured by dog bites in the county each year. Dog owners have a responsibility to protect the general public from risks posed by their animals. Many localities in the state have leash laws in place—though there is no statewide leash mandate.
All dog owners in California should generally keep their animals on a leash when in a public place, even without a local ordinance. Under California law (California Civil Code Section § 3342), a dog owner is strictly liable if their animal bites another person. A person bitten by a dog does not have to prove negligence to bring legal action against a dog owner. You can recover compensation for medical bills and other economic damages even without a finding of negligence. A dog owner in California can be held strictly liable regardless of whether or not the animal was leashed.
Some clients are hesitant about going to court over dog bites. However, almost 98 percent of bodily injury cases do not go to trial. Retaining the help of a lawyer never makes things worse. In fact, it ensures the claims are handled efficiently and in a fast manner.
Reasons to Hire a Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyer
A lawyer is the only person who can fairly evaluate a claim for a victim. It is not common for injured individuals to publish pictures of bites paired with the amount of settlement received. This means it is extremely difficult for an injured party to recover a reliable source of data that explains how much money is deserved. El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers’s team of Los Angeles dog bite lawyers has experience in this field.
After a dog bite, a person may experience lost wages, especially when recovering from a severe injury. Filing a claim for lost income can be complex. It is necessary for an employer to provide proof of missed time and the amount of pay that was lost. A dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles will know exactly what information to include besides the basic figures. For example, it is wise to include work reviews and fringe benefits lost as well.
In severe cases where victims are disfigured, a client may be entitled to loss of future earnings. Specialized dog bite lawyers in Los Angeles know how to figure a fair amount of money that covers the problem. Since this may be a large loss, it is vital for an experienced lawyer to handle this issue. When it is impossible to return to work indefinitely, a person will need a solid form of income to pay bills and live a basic life. A reputable attorney uses private resources to obtain medical evidence, photographs of the injury and may hire a private investigator to track the attack dog’s history of violence.
California Dog Bite Laws
The state of California has many statutes concerning dog bites. California is known as a strict liability state, so a dog owner can be held liable for damages and injuries. It is important to comprehend that an owner is responsible for an attack even if there is a lack of knowledge of a dog’s viciousness. Another law states an owner is liable when a victim is on private property as well.
Common law negligence is also recognized in California. This refers to statutes where dogs are not sufficiently fenced, leashed, or contained. For instance, if a dog bites a person at a public park where the dog was not on a leash, a victim may seek damages. Also, there may be other community laws in effect as well.
Since there are time restrictions when a person may file a dog bite claim, it is important to begin the process as soon as possible, and you can get help from our Los Angeles dog bite attorneys for help. In California, there is a one-year statute of limitations to file from the time of the bite. There is a two-year statute of limitations for common law negligence.
California Lacks a Statewide Leash Law (But Has Many Local Laws)
In California, there is no statewide statute for the leashing of dogs. Instead, the state largely leaves leash laws to local authorities. Many localities throughout the state have leash laws in place. As an example, Los Angeles County has a municipal ordinance requiring dogs to be leashed when in most public places (Chapter 10.32.010). A dog owner who violates that L.A. County leash law could be cited for a financial penalty:
- First offense: $100 fine.
- Second offense: $250 fine.
- Third offense: $500 fine.
Holding a Dog Owner Liable for Common Law Negligence
California’s dog bite laws are notoriously complex. Beyond the strict liability statute, a dog bite victim can also bring a common law claim against a negligent dog owner. Through a negligence claim, a dog bite victim can seek additional financial compensation, such as for pain and suffering. Allowing a potentially dangerous dog to roam in a public place without a leash could constitute negligence in California. It could be sufficient to allow an injured victim to recover compensation for non-economic damages, including for their pain and suffering and mental distress.
Contact Our Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorneys Today
Although over 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, insurance companies only pay three percent of injured parties. Without legal help, a victim is unlikely to receive justice. Insurance adjusters only offer victims a fraction of the compensation that attorneys may receive. Skilled dog bite lawyers in Los Angeles know how to deal with big insurance companies and fight for clients’ rights.
Other Reasons to Hire Dog Bite Attorneys. When a person attempts to pursue a dog bite claim without legal counsel, accusations may create resentment with the prosecutors or dog owners. A lawyer does not confront the dog owner or cause embarrassment. All claims are handled in a professional manner.
Also, a lawyer enlightens insurance companies to make better estimates for compensation. When a proper evaluation is completed, a claim is simpler to settle. In other words, a dog bite lawyer in the Los Angeles area makes sure all information is correct and all presented evidence is sufficient. Please call 213-985-1120 for a free consultation.
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