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Long Beach Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog Bite Attorney in Long Beach Seeks Maximum Compensation

Dogs are considered man's best friend, but we should never forget that they were once wild animals and still have many of their instincts. Many dog owners adopt dogs due to their viciousness and territorial natures, employing such skills for home protection. But there is no excuse for a dog to attack 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 with extensive knowledge of California's dog bite laws. Based on his more than 20 years of experience, attorney Joseph can advocate for full compensation for your injuries. To get started on your case, call our office at (562) 901-0840 and schedule a free consultation.

How Dangerous Are Dog Bites?

We often see dogs as playful, loyal companions, but if a dog was raised as to guard, it can be very territorial and can viciously attack anyone they see as a threat. Additionally, if a dog is poorly trained, not used to being out in public or around people, or raised to be aggressive, it can easily injure an innocent stranger. Even if you are a guest in someone's home, their dog may still perceive you as a threat and attack.

A violent dog attack can lead to serious harm, including:

Any one of these injuries can set you back months to years in medical bills ranging in emergency room visits, corrective surgery, medication, and physical therapy.

You may also need to take time off work and might experience have difficulties in your personal life due to the pain. The bottom line is that you should never discount your injuries after a dog attack, especially since you may be able to recover compensation in a personal injury claim.

Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Incident in Long Beach

Building a strong case after a dog bite involves meticulous evidence gathering. After a dog bite, immediate medical attention is crucial for the victim's health and their legal case. A prompt medical evaluation by a professional can prevent infections, including rabies or tetanus, which may be life-threatening if left untreated. Medical records serve as irrefutable evidence of the injury and its severity, which is necessary when pursuing a legal claim.

Reporting a dog bite incident to the authorities is a critical step in the legal process. It serves two primary purposes: ensuring public safety and establishing an official record. To report the incident, contact local animal control or the police department immediately after the event. Provide them with as much information as possible, including the circumstances of the bite, a description of the dog, and any known details about the dog's owner.

Photographs are a powerful form of evidence, so include pictures of injuries, the location where the incident occurred, and the dog, if possible. And if there were witnesses, get their names and contact information. Witness statements can support your account of the event and offer additional perspectives on the dog's behavior or the owner's negligence.

When dealing with insurance agents after a dog bite, it's important to proceed with caution. You'll want to avoid signing any documents or making a recorded statement. Let your lawyer negotiate with the insurance agent instead.

Who Is Most at Risk for Dog Attacks?

Anyone can be injured in a dog attack, but two groups tend to be more susceptible: children and the elderly. Children's size and strength play a huge factor in a dog attack, and the elderly also share many of the same issues as children when attacked by dogs.

When compared to adults, child injuries in dog attacks are far more severe. Small children are only slightly 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.

The elderly have reduced strength and mobility which means 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.

Understanding Dog Breeds and Tendencies

Aggressive behavior in dogs often stems from negligent owner behavior. But, certain breeds have a history of being bred for tasks that require protective and assertive behavior, which may translate to aggression if not properly managed.

Owners of breeds that are considered aggressive need to be aware of the legal implications of their pet's behavior. Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and other breeds are often classified as aggressive. While these dogs can be loving and loyal, they still possess strong protective instincts and may require more attention to training and socialization to ensure they are well-behaved.

How to Interpret a Dog's Body Language

Knowing when to approach a dog is essential for preventing potentially aggressive behavior — signs suggest it's time to create distance and avoid a possible confrontation. An aggressive dog may exhibit a stiff and rigid body, or they might crouch in a predatory stance. Their ears might be pinned back against the head or held forward if they are on alert. A dog showing its teeth, growling, or staring intently can signal imminent aggression. Understanding these visual cues can help prevent escalations and ensure safety for all involved.

A dog's posture is a clear indicator of its mood and intentions. An aggressive dog may have a tense, forward-leaning posture, signaling a readiness to attack. Neutral postures, with a relaxed stance and even weight distribution, generally indicate that a dog is at ease. A dog's tail can also serve as a gauge for its emotional state. A high, stiff tail usually means the dog is alert and possibly agitated, while a low or tucked tail can indicate fear. Both emotions can lead to aggression if the dog feels threatened or cornered.

If the animal appears tense, has a stiff tail, or is growling, it's best to stop and give the dog space. Never approach a dog when it's eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies, as it may react aggressively to protect its resources or offspring.

Long Beach Dog Bite Cases and California's Laws

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 to know that their dog is 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, you can only receive compensation if you are legally allowed to be there. Guests, friends, and family members who do not live on the property but have the owner's permission to be there can receive compensation. Maintenance crews, contractors, package handlers, and anyone 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 an "assumed risk" could occur, such as a dog barking loudly or growling, the victim should have been reasonably aware that he could be attacked and cannot recover compensation. The only exception is for children under five years old, who cannot reasonably assume risks.

Beyond these two arguments, dog bite victims can file claims against an owner's homeowner's insurance policy to receive full compensation for their trauma.

What Is the Value of a Dog Bite Claim?

Even with seemingly minor attacks, victims may be left with costly medical bills, have to take weeks to months off work, and 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. Similarly, 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 can be 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 stand up to a powerful insurance corporation.

Identifying Negligence in Long Beach Dog Bite Cases

Your dog bite lawyer will combine expert analysis, witness accounts, and physical evidence to demonstrate negligence on the part of the dog owner. The testimony of a legal specialist on dog bite statutes and owner responsibilities can further solidify your case. It's also crucial to show a direct link between the owner's negligence and the injury sustained.

Expert insights can be pivotal in establishing the owner's lack of care. For instance, a professional dog trainer might testify about the standard precautions any prudent dog owner should take. A medical expert could discuss the nature and severity of your dog bite inquiries.

Contact a Long Beach Dog Bite Attorney Today

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, Joseph H. Low IV, has spent more than 20 years serving injured clients throughout California. He has recovered millions of dollars for accident victims and can help you.

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 our firm at (562) 901-0840.

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"Joseph, Thank you for your assistance. Your understanding compassion & incredible expertise are admired & appreciated. I will be referring any of my clients who require legal help to you."
- M.D.