California has the highest rate of dog bite incidents in the country, many of which lead to serious injuries for the victim. The law permits dog bite victims to sue for their injuries and financial losses if they were in a public place or lawfully on private property when the attack occurred.
Our legal team at The Dominguez Firm is here to help if you suffer a dog bite injury. You have likely had to pay medical bills while unable to work during your recovery, putting you in a tough financial situation. Our skilled dog bite lawyer will protect your rights and aggressively pursue justice for your losses.
Common Causes of a Dog Attack in Long Beach
Dogs can become aggressive when they feel anxious or overexcited from changes in their environment, strangers, or other animals. In Long Beach, the law requires owners to use a dog leash to ensure the safety of other people and dogs in public. Even if a dog owner takes careful measures to restrain their pet, unexpected situations can lead to an otherwise calm dog biting someone.
Common situations where dog bites occur include the following, when the:
- Dog escapes the house or yard and attacks passersby
- Dog owner loses control of their dog while on a walk
- Dog attacks a visitor, such as a family member, friend, or utility repair person
In California, dog owners can only have their pet off the leash in a dog park or a private property that permits it. No matter the rules, the victim does not need to prove anything except that they were legally in the location where the dog was.
Our Long Beach dog bite attorneys at The Dominguez Firm can help you understand what to do after a dog attack and can identify the liable party in your case.
The Most Dangerous Dog Breeds in Southern California
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 4 million dog bites occur yearly, and California has one of the highest rates of these attacks. The state’s dog bite laws require owners of dangerous dogs to follow specific rules for public safety.
The law considers a dog dangerous if it meets any of the following criteria:
- The dog bit or attacked a person, causing death or physical injury
- The dog has caused physical harm to a domestic animal without provocation
- The owner trained the dog for dog fighting
- Within one year, the dog has bitten or attempted to bite someone or has chased a person on public or private property with the intent to attack them
Some municipalities in Los Angeles County may have laws regarding specific breeds. The following are examples of dog breeds some California cities consider dangerous:
- Pit bulls
- German shepherds
If the dog has a history of being aggressive, the state requires the owner to keep the dog indoors or inside a fence. While in public, the owner must control their dog and keep it on a leash. All vicious dogs have to have a license and vaccinations by law. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you determine if the at-fault party violated these laws.
Dog Bite Laws in Long Beach, CA
California law upholds strict liability in a dog bite incident. The owner is responsible for the damages the dog bite victim suffered, including medical bills and emotional trauma. The owner’s knowledge of the dog’s viciousness before the attack does not affect their liability. The owner is accountable even if the animal never harmed anyone before the incident.
Exceptions that would free the dog’s owner from liability in a dog bite lawsuit include whether:
- The victim was trespassing on the premises occupied by the dog’s owner
- The victim was attempting to commit a crime on the premises
- The victim was abusing, tormenting, or teasing the dog (or has in the past)
As long as the bite victim had the express or implied consent to be on the dog owner’s property and did not physically provoke the dog, the dog owners are responsible for paying for the damages due to the attack. The exception for provocation does not apply to children under five years old in California.
The owner will likely dispute their fault in your dog bite claim. Our Long Beach dog bite lawyers will investigate by asking questions to determine which laws and city ordinances are at play.
We will find out if the incident occurred in a public place where the owner is required to have their dog on a leash according to Long Beach municipal law. If the owner knew their dog was vicious before the attack, they would be in violation of the mandate that bans aggressive dogs from public areas.
It can be challenging to prove fault in a dog bite case without knowing the laws down to the letter. That’s why our dog bite injury attorneys have the knowledge to help you hold the dog owner accountable and receive payment for your medical expenses and other losses.
Dog Bite Injuries in Personal Injury Cases
Dog bite injuries can be life-altering, especially from breeds with powerful jaws, like pit bulls. If the dog doesn’t let go immediately, the dog bite wounds can get much worse as the victim tries to pry the animal’s jaws open.
Dog bite victims might need extensive surgery, rehabilitation, and physical therapy to recover from their injuries. Their health insurance coverage might not be enough to cover their medical expenses.
The following injuries are common in dog bite victims:
- Puncture wounds
- Cuts and scrapes
- Head trauma
- Nerve damage
Many victims have emotional and physical scars that follow them for the rest of their lives. After an attack, you might suffer medical complications or need psychological counseling to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You should not be responsible for paying to treat the physical and emotional injuries that the negligence of an animal owner caused.
Our Long Beach dog bite attorney can provide legal assistance and help you seek compensation for your injuries. We will hold the dog’s owner legally responsible so you can claim your damages, which is your right as the victim.
California Bystander Claim
Children and elders are common dog attack victims. If a family member sees their child or vulnerable loved one getting mauled by a dog, it can have a profound impact on them. If someone close to the victim witnessed the attack and suffered emotional distress, they can pursue a bystander claim under California law.
To file a bystander claim, you need to meet the following requirements:
- The victim is a close relation by blood or marriage
- You were present and aware of the attack when it occurred
- You suffered significant psychological trauma after witnessing the attack
Types of Damages in Dog Bite Cases
The damages (the legal term to the compensation you would be entitled to for your injuries) in a dog bite case are typically the same as other personal injury claims. Any expenses the victim incurred while seeking treatment or missing work due to their injury are the damages. The at-fault party will be responsible for paying the following losses if applicable:
- Medical treatment costs
- Lost wages, including loss of potential income
- Pain and suffering
- Lost companionship (in a wrongful death case)
The specific amount to which you are entitled depends on the extent of your injuries, emotional distress, time away from work, and any lasting medical issues. Our experienced Long Beach dog bite lawyers will calculate your damages so that you’ll receive maximum compensation for your losses.
In extreme cases, bites can cause an infection that leads to the death of vulnerable individuals such as children or the elderly. If your loved one died due to a dog owner’s negligence, we will help you pursue justice for your loss separate from any criminal charges.
Get Help From an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney in Long Beach
Our law firm has helped many dog bite clients recover damages after a dog brutally attacked them, including medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. We build a solid attorney-client relationship so that you will receive the care and assistance you need during a difficult time.
We can deal with the at-fault party’s insurance company while you recover. We’ll use our knowledge of state and city laws to fight for your right to the maximum compensation for your personal injury case. If a dog injured you in an unprovoked attack, you have the right to sue the owner and The Dominguez Firm can help. Call us at 800-818-1818 for free consultation today!