San Fernando Valley Dog Bite Lawyer
Why hire a Dog Bite Attorney?
Victims of dog bite attacks can suffer serious and permanent injuries. Sadly, many of the attacks that occur are preventable. In California, dog owners are held strictly liable for personal injuries inflicted by their dogs. People who have been bitten by a dog have a legal right to recover damages from the owner of the dog.
Encino, CA dog bite attorney Jacob Regar represents victims of dog attacks who have suffered serious injuries. When searching for a lawyer who handles dog attacks, it is crucial that you find an attorney who knows the correct laws that apply to dog bite cases. It is equally important in these cases for the lawyer to have the resources and experience to locate dog behavioral experts and medical experts. By employing the correct litigation strategies for a dog attack case, attorney Jacob Regar can help dog attack victims recover monetary compensation for their case.
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Many people find it assuring to learn that dog bite incidents are often covered by a dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Damages that can be recovered include the costs of medical treatment (e.g., wound care, infection control, and reconstructive surgery) and lost wages. The bite victim can also recover for their physical pain, limitation, and mental suffering.
Jacob Regar Law has the experience and knowledge in dealing with insurance companies in a wide variety of injury claims. It is important to understand that insurance companies have proven strategies for delaying legitimate claims. You can avoid this trap by hiring an attorney who keeps a laser focus of the number one goal for any personal injury attorney: recovering the full amount of money damages for their client.
Reasons for Dog Attacks
Dogs attack people for numerous reasons, including responding to a perceived threat, having a vicious propensity, and even due to suffering arthritis and chronic pain. Dog owners must act responsibly with their pets. They should be cognizant of their animal’s behavior and displayed tendencies. And they should act with due care to ensure their dogs are not in a position to inflict harm on innocent victims.
Dog bites are a public health problem, affecting 1.5% of the U.S population annually. During the years 2001 through 2012, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists dog bites as the 15th leading cause of non-fatal injury for people of all ages. In fact, dog bites are the 9th leading cause of non-fatal injury for children between the ages of 5-9. And children are more likely than adults to visit the emergency department for dog bite injuries, though, the majority of dog bites do not necessitate visits to the emergency department.
Strict Liability for Dog Bites Under the CA Dog Bite Statute
Due to the inherent risk of serious harm associated with dog bites, California Civil Code section 3342 provides that a dog owner is held strictly liable for any harm suffered by a person who is bitten by their dog:
- in a public place (e.g., a park), or
- lawfully on private property, including the property of the dog owner.
- A dog bite victim is lawfully on private property when:
- he or she is on the property in the course of their employment, whether he or she is a public or private worker, or
- he or she is on the property with the owner’s permission.
In California, as far as dog bites are concerned, there is no such thing as the “one-bite” rule. The law imposes a heightened legal duty on dog owners to guard against personal injuries caused by their dog. This legal duty is called strict liability and it imposes an even higher legal standard or care than ordinary negligence. This means that a dog owner is liable to the person bitten by the dog regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. Effectively, this means that a dog owner cannot assert in their defense that they had no way to know their dog would bite anyone because the dog did not have a prior bite history.
Although the California Department of Public Health states domestic animals account for only 3 percent of animal rabies, a dog owner must procure rabies vaccination for their pet in accordance with legally mandated (and specified) intervals. If a dog owner fails to meet this duty, and their dog bites a person and transmits rabies, the owner is strictly liable for this harm.
Dog owners must take great care to ensure their dog cannot escape from their home or yard. And a dog owner should always walk their dog with a leash. When an owner fails to control their dog and a dog bite occurs, the owner of the dog is liable for all of the victim’s damages directly caused by the bite. An attorney should then be consulted to ensure the victim can actually obtain a full monetary recovery for their harms and losses.
Assumption of Risk: a Defense to Actions Brought Under the Dog Bite Statute
Every rule contains an exception, and the California Dog Bite Statute is no different. A dog owner is not liable to an injured person bitten by the owner’s dog if the injured person knew the danger involved with the owner’s dog and voluntarily accepted the risk. The owner of the dog can raise this very powerful legal defense of assumption of risk. Because of the effectiveness of this defense if properly asserted, homeowner’s insurance companies are quick to argue its applicability when they receive a claim arising out of a dog attack. An attorney who handles dog bite cases can assess the facts surrounding the attack and determine whether the dog owner has a valid defense or whether their insurance carrier is throwing up a smoke screen.
Homeowner Liability for Bite Caused by Tenant’s Dog
If you or someone you know has been injured by a dog that is owned by a person who is not a homeowner, rest assured there may still be insurance coverage for your case. A homeowner may be liable to a person bitten by a tenant’s dog under a negligence theory. That is, if the homeowner knew or had reason to know of the dangerous propensities of a dog that they knowingly allowed to reside on their rental property, they may be liable to a victim who was bitten by the tenant’s dog for the victim’s damages.
Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries run the gamut from abrasions, punctures, to crushing injuries. Damage to the skin can leave unsightly scars. Hypertrophic scars will generally heal and disappear over time. But, some dog bite victims sustain permanent and painful keloid scars which are raised from the skin and have a tendency to spread beyond the borders of the original scar. It is so important for dog bite victims to ensure that they receive proper medical care and recover the full extent of damages for their bite injuries.
And injuries often include emotional suffering from the trauma of being involved in a dog attack. It is not uncommon for victims of serious dog attacks to suffer from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Psychological counseling can be very beneficial for a dog bite victim who develops fear of dogs. Jacob Regar Law can recommend trained mental health professionals for evaluation and therapy to victims of traumatic dog bite attacks.
What to do after a Dog Attack?
- Seek prompt medical attention.
- Preserve evidence, including, but not limited to, all torn clothing (keep in safe location).
- Take pictures of bite, puncture, and scratch wounds. Ensure the pictures are properly saved.
- Contact a personal injury attorney who handles dog bite cases.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Lawsuit for a Dog Attack?
In California, people who have been injured in a dog attack have two years from the date they suffered injury to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. This is called the statute of limitations and it is the single most important consideration for a dog bite claim because the law prescribes a set amount of time to file suit for your damages. Anyone who believes they have a legal claim should consult an attorney to determine the applicable statute of limitations.
Call attorney Jacob Regar, Esq. at Jacob Regar Law for a FREE consultation to learn the full scope of your rights arising out of a dog attack.
Telephone: (818) 588-0653, Email: Jacob@JacobRegarLaw.com.