Dog Bites & Animal Attacks
Although dogs and other pets are often considered part of the family, thousands of people each year are injured in animal attacks that require emergency medical treatment. If you were attacked by another person’s dog or pet, you may be able to recover compensation for your harm, including medical expenses and other damages. With over 30 years of experience, Los Angeles dog bite attorney Vann H. Slatter can protect the rights of animal attack victims in Los Angeles and the surrounding cities. Our legal team has the resources, knowledge, and commitment necessary to represent you after a traumatic dog bite incident.Holding Pet Owners Accountable for Attacks by their Animals
Under California law, dog owners are generally strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs. This means that even if the dog has never bitten anyone before, and even if the owner did not know that his or her dog was vicious, the owner will still be responsible for the victim’s harm.
In bringing a claim against the owner, a plaintiff must prove that the dog was owned by the defendant, the victim was on public property or lawfully on private property, the victim was bitten by the dog, and the victim suffered injuries. Trespassers and those who are illegally on private property when bitten by a dog, therefore, may not seek compensation under this statute. In addition, the California dog bite law does not allow any action to be brought against a governmental agency using a dog in military or police work, unless the victim was not involved in the event that prompted the use of the dog. An action to recover damages resulting from a dog bite must be filed within two years of the date of the attack.
Keepers, handlers, or others in control of an animal may be deemed liable under the law as well. However, they are not held to the strict liability standard of owners and must have had knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities, such as a previous attack, before they can be found liable to a dog bite victim. A negligence claim may also be brought against non-owners who were not reasonably careful in controlling a dog under the surrounding circumstances, if their carelessness caused harm to the victim. An example could be a dog walker who illegally allows a dog to run off-leash close to a public playground.
It is important to note that the law distinguishes between cases in which a dog bite occurred and cases in which the victim was attacked but not bitten. An example would be a situation where a dog jumped on, knocked down, or scratched the victim. In cases where someone was hurt but not actually bitten by a dog, a claim may be brought under the legal theory of negligence. Under an ordinary claim of negligence, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty, the defendant breached that duty, the defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injury, and the plaintiff incurred damages.What to do When Attacked by an Animal
It is normal to be shaken up after being bitten or attacked by an animal but it is best to remain calm and collect all the information you can about the incident. If the owner is present, make sure to get their name, I.D. information, phone number, and address. Details of the scene are important as well; make note of whether the animal was on a leash, the exact location, the type of animal, and its distinguishing features. If there are any witnesses to the attack make sure to get their contact information so that your attorney can speak with them. Language is not an issue as translators can be hired.
Most importantly, call the police. Without a police report it may be impossible to prove anything happened at all. Any and all information about the attack will help your lawyer build a better case and get the best outcome possible.Seek Legal Guidance for a Dog Bite Case
Dog bite attacks are serious, often causing scarring, broken bones, and other devastating injuries. In most situations, you have the right to pursue damages against the pet owner. Discussing the details of your case with an experienced lawyer can help you understand the law as well as your options to recover compensation for your harm. Los Angeles animal attack attorney Vann H. Slatter has handled many dog bite, premises liability, and other personal injury claims. Our office proudly serves residents of Panorama City, Bellflower, Reseda, Canoga Park, Downey, and other areas of Southern California. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at (310) 444-3010 or contact us online.