Dog Bites

Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog Bites and Animal Attacks

A dog attack can be a frightening and life-changing experience. Particularly when a child is a victim, serious injuries may be inflicted that may leave lasting physical and emotional scars.

At Martinian & Associates, we are committed to providing skilled legal representation to clients throughout the Los Angeles area who have been bitten by dogs or attacked by other animals. In California, dog owners are held strictly liable for injuries inflicted by their dogs, and this means that the victim may be entitled to compensation without having to prove fault: that the dog was dangerous or had a history of aggression.

Would you like to discuss your legal rights after a dog attack? Talk to a Los Angeles personal injury attorney at our firm. Your initial consultation is free and confidential, and we handle these cases on a contingent fee basis. You pay no legal fees unless we win.

California Dog Bite Laws

California Civil Code § 3342 addresses the liability of dog owners when attacks occur. Unlike dog bite laws in other states that implement a "one bite rule" that protects the owners of dogs that have never bitten anyone before, California implements strict liability for dog bites. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health offers the following information on their website, taken from California Civil Code § 3342(a):

The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.

What does this mean if you have been bitten? It means that the owner of the dog may be held accountable, even if the dog has never shown aggression or bitten anyone in the past. This makes it extremely important to identify the owner of a dog in the event of an attack. The owner may be held liable for medical bills and other expenses associated with the injuries inflicted by the dog. The victim would not need to prove that the dog was aggressive or dangerous, only that the dog caused the injuries and that the defendant was the owner of the dog in question.

There are some exceptions to the strict liability rule for dog bites in California. If the victim provoked the dog, was committing a crime at the time of the attack or was unlawfully on the dog owner's property, the victim may not be able to sue for damages.

Talk to a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Today

According to the American Humane Association, about 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, with nearly 800,000 requiring medical care. About two-thirds of these attacks occurred on or near the property of the victim, and most victims knew the dog. Half of dog attacks involve children under 12 years old, and more than 80% of emergency room visits from dog bites involve children under 15 years old.

If you or your child have been bitten, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel. You may even be able to seek compensation if your pet was attacked by a dog. The majority of dog bite claims are paid by homeowners' insurance policies, which often cover such attacks. In fact, the insurance industry pays out more than $1 billion for dog bite claims each year.

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