Long Beach Dog Bite Lawyer
Dogs are considered man’s best friend, but we should never forget that they were once wild animals and have not forgotten many of their instincts. Many dog owners employ these skills, adopting dogs due to their viciousness and territorial natures to protect their homes. But there is no excuse for a dog attacking someone without justification, and, under California’s strict liability laws, dog bite victims are entitled to compensation for their injuries.
If you or someone you love was attacked by a dog, reach out to a Long Beach dog bite lawyer at The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV. Our founder is a nationally recognized trial attorney who has extensive knowledge of California’s dog bite laws. Based on his more than 20 years of experience, he can advocate for full compensation for your injuries. To get started on your case, call our office at (562) 901-0840 or toll-free at (888) 454-5569 and schedule a free consultation.
We like to see dogs as playful, loyal companions, and while this is often true for their owners, the same cannot be said for everyone. Dogs are very territorial, especially if they were raised as guard dogs, and can viciously attack anyone they see as a threat. If a dog is poorly trained, is not used to being out in public or around people, or is raised to be aggressive, it can easily injure an innocent stranger. Even if you are a guest in someone’s home, their dog may also see you as a threat and attack.
A violent dog attack can lead to serious trauma, including:
- Broken bones, especially if the dog bites someone’s wrist
- Fall injuries, including brain damage and spinal cord injuries
- Amputated fingers and toes
- Deep cuts and lacerations, often leading to long-term scarring
- Facial trauma, including scratch marks on the face and eye damage
- Serious infections, including rabies
- Emotional trauma, including a lifetime fear of dogs, panic attacks, and anxiety
Any one of these injuries can set you back months to years in medical bills that can include emergency room visits, corrective surgery, medication, and physical therapy. You may also need to take time off work and have difficulties in your personal life due to the amount of pain you are experiencing. Bottom line: you should never discount your injuries after a dog attack, especially since you may be able to recover compensation in a personal injury claim.
Anyone can be injured in a dog attack, but two groups tend to get it worse: children and the elderly.
Children’s size and strength play a huge factor in a dog attack. Small children are only slighter bigger than most dogs, making it easier for dogs to bite down on their faces or scratch them with their claws. As a result, children are more likely to suffer facial trauma and scarring after an attack. They also are not strong enough to push a dog away, especially if it jumps on them. Emotional trauma is also a huge factor, as children may develop lifelong fears of dogs and need therapy to overcome the emotional scarring. When compared to adults, child injuries in dog attacks are far more severe.
The elderly also share many of the same issues as children when attacked by dogs. Their reduced strength and mobility mean they have a harder time protecting themselves in an attack, and they may even fall over, leading to further injuries. In addition, older adults have weaker immune systems. If a dog passes a serious infection onto them, they may need extensive medication and care to recover.
No matter what age you or your loved one was at the time of the attack, you deserve compensation, and California laws support you.
California is a strict liability state when it comes to dog attacks. Dog owners are liable for all injuries suffered by victims if the victim was attacked in a public place or was lawfully on private property, according to California Civil Code 3342. While other states have a one-bite law that requires owners know that their dog was vicious, California has no such law. Thus, if you were attacked by a dog, you should receive compensation for your injuries.
Two important factors can influence your case, however: location and provocation.
If you were at a dog park, walking through your neighborhood, or at the beach, then the dog’s owner is automatically liable if their dog bites you. If you are at the dog owner’s home, then you can only receive compensation if you were legally allowed to be there. Guests, friends, and family members who do not live but have the owner’s permission to be on the property can receive compensation. In addition, maintenance crews, contractors, package handlers, and anyone who the owner knows may be on the property – and has implied or expressed consent – can also receive compensation. Only true trespassers are barred from filing a dog bite claim.
With provocation, the dog’s owner will not be liable if the victim attacked, taunted, teased, or tormented the dog and provoked the attack. In addition, if there was an “assumed risk” that an attack could occur, such as a dog barking loudly or growling, then the victim should have been reasonably aware that he could be attacked and cannot recover compensation. The only exception is for children under the age of 5, who cannot reasonably assume risks.
Beyond these two defenses, dog bite victims can file claims against an owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy to receive full compensation for their trauma.
Even with seemingly minor attacks, victims may be left with costly medical bills, have to take weeks to months off work, and have to deal with deep emotional trauma and physical pain. All of these costs can be included in a claim.
Medical reimbursement isn’t just for emergency room bills. Dog bite victims have to pay for medication, physical therapy, corrective surgery to repair scars, and even psychiatric treatment, and all can be included in a claim. In the same manner, if you have to take time off work to heal and attend doctor’s appointments, you can recover lost wages. In serious cases, victims can also suffer from physical disabilities that force them to reduce their work hours, and these costs can also be added to your claim.
Altogether, a dog bite claim can include:
- All medical expenses, including past and future treatment
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Recovering all of this on your own is difficult. Insurance companies are rarely charitable and can dismiss your claim if you do not have a strong understanding of the law. Your best option is to work with an experienced California trial attorney who is not afraid to go head-to-head with a powerful insurance corporation.
If you or someone you love was injured in a dog attack, then you deserve the best legal representation. At The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV, our lead Long Beach personal injury attorney has spent more than 20 years serving injured clients throughout California. Joseph H. Low IV has recovered millions of dollars for accident victims and received numerous accolades for his dedication and experience as a trial attorney. If you bring your case to us, you can trust that it will be handled with professionalism, diligence, and perseverance. To schedule a free case evaluation, call The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV at (562) 901-0840 or toll-free at (888) 454-5569.
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