Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyer
At Ellis Law, our Los Angeles lawyers have successfully recovered damages on behalf of innocent victims, through both insurance settlement negotiations and litigation. In California, a dog bite victim can obtain compensation based on theories of negligence and strict liability. In addition, a special statute was enacted that holds owners liable even if their dog has no prior history of violence or attacks.
Despite state laws that clearly favor the victims, California has one of the highest rates of dog bite claims filed with home insurers, and almost one out of every five bites is critical enough to warrant medical attention. For a second year in a row, Los Angeles ranked number one for attacks on postal workers – with 69 employees reporting incidents in 2012. While postal workers represent only a fraction of those who suffer dog attacks, the statistics are telling about the large number of aggressive canines in the county.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that some 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year — sadly, half of those people are children. Besides the emotional and physical trauma of an animal attack, the results can cost victims thousands of dollars in medical treatment. Fortunately, legal remedies are available to those who suffered harm through no fault of their own.
Los Angeles dog bite attorneys
Of course, in order to recoup monetary damages following a dog bite in California, you’ll need to do much more than negotiate with the dog’s owner. With the expertise of an LA personal injury attorney from Ellis Law, you can rest assured your case will be handled professionally and efficiently, ensuring you get maximum reimbursement for all hospital expenses, time off work, and pain and suffering.
If you need an advocate who will protect your best interests, you can trust the attorneys at Ellis Law. For more than 20 years, our legal team specializes in these types of claims, helping injured victims get the compensation they need and deserve.
Statistics and California dog bite law
Dog bites take place every 75 seconds in the U.S., leading to more than 1,000 daily emergency room visits for serious injuries. Last year, 32 fatalities were recorded, and of these, more than two-thirds of the deaths were attributed to pit bulls.
In California, a victim needs to demonstrate that:
- The dog was owned by the defendant
- The bite occurred on public property or while the victim was legally on private property
- The victim was bitten and suffered injuries from the actual bite
State legislation mandates that “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.”
In effect, leveling charges of wrongdoing aren’t necessary when pursuing a claim; California law stipulates the owner’s liability for injuries suffered in an attack, even when the dog has no previous record of aggressive tendencies.
Dog owners may also be held responsible for their pet’s actions if they were negligent in handling, by allowing an animal to roam freely (without leash), putting guests or passersby in harm’s way. It’s important to note that California courts have denied damages to victims who negligently caused an attack, assumed the risk of dog attack or harassed the dog.
A defendant may attempt to avoid liability by denying ownership, citing inadequate identification of the dog, claiming the victim trespassed on private property, or that the dog was provoked to attack.
Getting advice from a skilled an attorney is the smartest course of action following any type of attack or injury – even if it occurred at a friend or family member’s home. Ellis Law offers in-depth lawsuit reviews at no charge, and will answer all questions regarding your right to compensation following an incident.
Dog bite injuries and related medical expenses
Reports show that children under the age of 14 are at an increased risk for these types of injuries, and according to a 2010 study, the average cost of a hospital stay from a bite was $18,200. While some are minor, others are horrific — leaving victims with lasting injuries and permanent disability. In 2012, more than 27,000 people were forced to undergo reconstructive surgery as a result of bite injuries.
Types of injuries sustained from animal attacks include:
- Deep puncture wounds
- Facial scars
- Crush injuries and broken bones
- Head or brain injuries
- Emotional and psychological trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Besides pit bulls, other breeds that are linked to frequent attacks are Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies and Doberman Pinschers. However, studies indicate that California’s animal bite epidemic entails not just the canine, or the breed, but his owner as well. An irresponsible owner or one who mistreats his canine is often a contributing factor in gruesome dog attacks.
Victims in Los Angeles may be eligible for compensation including, but not limited to:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
How Ellis Law attorneys can help
In the years we’ve been handling cases, our lawyers have witnessed the physical, emotional and financial tolls that serious injuries take on clients. We understand the monetary strain placed on your family and loved ones as medical bills continue to pile up. Our law firm works with a network of medical experts, investigators and support staff to help victims recover full compensation for their losses. Retaining an attorney at Ellis Law is a crucial step in pursuing a successful claim for your injuries and economic damages.
We will help you obtain all medical records, determine ownership of the dog and the facts of the assault, examine the history of the dog, and work hard to recover full damages for the pain you have suffered. You’re not alone during this difficult time; contact our offices to learn more about your legal options and rights.
Experienced dog bite lawyers in Los Angeles
If you’re looking for a personal injury firm with extensive experience in these types of cases, contact Ellis Law for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our capable attorneys have more than 20 years experience securing settlements and damage awards for victims in LA County.
Remember that in California, the “One Bite Rule” does not apply and owners are liable for compensation associated with any injuries inflicted by their dog. For more information or to schedule your case evaluation, call toll-free at 310-641-3335.