Dog Bite Injury

Dog Bite Lawyer in Los Angeles

dog bite lawyer in los angeles

Dog Bite? We Bite Back.

Being attacked by a dog is terrifying. The physical pain, the emotional trauma – it’s a lot to handle. On top of that, dealing with insurance companies and legal jargon can feel like another attack altogether. But you don’t have to go through this alone.

At Compass Law Group, we’re here to fight for you.

We understand the unique challenges dog bite victims face. We’ve seen firsthand how these incidents can turn lives upside down. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing compassionate, aggressive representation to get you the compensation you deserve.

You focus on healing. We’ll handle the rest.

aggressive dog attack

Table of Contents

Common Dog Bite Injuries: More Than Skin Deep

Dog bites can leave lasting scars, both physically and emotionally. While we often think of puncture wounds and lacerations, the reality is that dog attacks can cause a wide range of injuries, some of which are surprisingly severe.

 

The Physical Toll

  • Lacerations and Puncture Wounds: These are the most common injuries, ranging from minor cuts to deep wounds requiring stitches or even surgery. Some bites can be so severe they lead to avulsions, where tissue is torn away from the body.
  • Infections: Dog bites are notorious for causing infections. Bacteria from the dog’s mouth can enter the wound, leading to complications like tetanus, rabies, and sepsis.
  • Broken Bones and Fractures: A powerful dog can easily break bones, especially in children and the elderly. Common fractures include arms, wrists, hands, legs, ankles, and even facial bones.
  • Nerve Damage: Bites to the face, hands, or feet can damage nerves, leading to numbness, tingling, or loss of function. In severe cases, nerve damage can be permanent.
  • Head and Neck Injuries: These are particularly dangerous, especially for children. Bites to the head and neck can cause concussions, skull fractures, and even brain damage.
  • Eye Injuries: Dog attacks can result in corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, and even blindness.
 

The Hidden Wounds: Emotional Trauma

The physical scars of a dog bite may heal, but the emotional trauma can linger for years. Many victims experience:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety are common after a dog attack.
  • Phobias: Victims may develop a fear of dogs or even animals in general.
  • Depression: The emotional toll of a dog bite can lead to depression and social isolation.
 

Don’t underestimate the impact of a dog bite. Even seemingly minor injuries can have long-term consequences. If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, it’s crucial to seek legal counsel to ensure you receive the compensation you need to cover medical expenses, therapy, and other damages.

types of dog bites

Types of Dog Bites: Not All Bites Are Same

Not every dog bite is the same. Understanding the different types can help you assess the severity of an injury and the potential legal implications.

  • Level 1: Air Snap: This is a warning sign, a canine air raid siren. The dog bares its teeth, snaps its jaws shut with a startling crack, and might even lunge forward. While there’s no skin contact, don’t dismiss it as harmless. An air snap is a clear message from the dog that it feels threatened and is ready to escalate.
  • Level 2: Skin Nicks: Here, the dog makes more than just a threat. Its teeth make contact with your skin, leaving behind minor scratches or bruises, but thankfully, no punctures. This is a wake-up call that the situation is volatile and you should retreat slowly and carefully.
  • Level 3: Puncture Wounds: This is where things get more serious. The dog bites down, leaving one or more puncture wounds. These puncture wounds can be deceptively deep, and because a dog’s mouth harbors a multitude of bacteria, they are prone to infection. This level of bite can also cause nerve damage, especially in areas like the hands, feet, and face.
  • Level 4 and Above: Brace yourself. This category encompasses the most severe dog bites. We’re talking multiple bites with deep puncture wounds, gaping lacerations, and significant tissue damage. These attacks can be terrifying and life-threatening. If you or someone you know experiences a Level 4 bite, seeking immediate medical attention is critical.

The severity of a dog bite can influence the compensation you may be entitled to. If you’ve suffered a serious injury due to a dog attack, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney.

dog showing teeth

Bitten? Act Fast: What to Do After a Dog Attack

A dog attack is a jarring experience, and knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath can be crucial for your physical and legal well-being. Here’s your step-by-step guide to navigating those first critical moments:

 

Safety First:

  • If the dog is still around, do not approach it.
  • Try to distance yourself from the animal calmly and slowly. Avoid making sudden movements or eye contact, which can be seen as threatening.
  • If you can’t retreat, find a barrier to put between you and the dog, like a fence, trash can, or even a park bench.
  • In the worst-case scenario, fight back to protect yourself. Use whatever means necessary to subdue the dog, but be aware that this could put you at further risk of injury.
 

Assess the Damage:

  • Once you’re safe, take a moment to check yourself for injuries.
  • Are there any puncture wounds, bleeding, or signs of serious injury (like difficulty breathing or broken bones)?
 

Get the Dog Owner’s Information:

  • If you can do so safely, try to get the dog owner’s name, contact information, and proof of the dog’s rabies vaccination.
  • Note the breed of the dog and any distinguishing features.
 

Document Everything:

  • Take pictures of your injuries, including close-up shots of puncture wounds, any scratches or bruising, and the overall condition of the wound.
  • If possible, take pictures of the location of the attack and the dog itself.
  • Get the names and contact information of any witnesses who saw the dog bite incident.
 

Report the Bite:

  • Report the dog bite to your local animal control agency as soon as possible.
  • You may also want to report the incident to the police, especially if the bite was severe or the dog was acting aggressively.
 

Seek Legal Counsel:

  • Don’t try to navigate the legal process alone. An experienced dog bite attorney can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies to secure the compensation you deserve.
 

Remember: Even if the dog owner seems apologetic, it’s crucial to take these steps to protect yourself. Dog bites can lead to serious medical complications and financial burdens.

Pro Tip: Compass Law Group, LLP offers free consultations to a dog bite victim. We can help you understand your legal options and develop a plan to get your life back on track.

dog bite lawsuit form

Can I Sue for a Dog Bite? Your Path to Compensation

You’ve been bitten, you’re dealing with the aftermath, and now you’re wondering: Can I actually get any compensation for this ordeal? The answer is a resounding yes, in many cases.

 

Understanding Liability in Dog Bite Cases

California follows a strict liability rule when it comes to dog bites. This means that the dog owner is generally liable for any injuries their dog causes, even if the dog has never shown any aggressive tendencies before.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as:

  • Trespassing: If you were trespassing on the dog owner’s property when the bite occurred, your ability to recover compensation may be limited.
  • Provocation: If you provoked the dog (like by teasing or hitting it), the owner might not be held fully liable.
  • Police or Military Dogs: These dogs are often given more leeway due to the nature of their work.
 

Damages You Can Claim

If you’re eligible to sue for a dog bite, you may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes hospital bills, surgery costs, medication, physical therapy, and any future medical care related to the bite.
  • Lost Wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you can seek compensation for your lost income.
  • Pain and Suffering: This covers the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the attack.
  • Scarring and Disfigurement: If the bite leaves permanent scars or disfigurement, you may be entitled to additional compensation.
 

The Role of Insurance

In many cases, the dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy will cover the cost of your damages. However, insurance companies are notorious for trying to minimize payouts, so it’s crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side to fight for your rights.

dog bite compensation

Dog Bite Compensation: What’s Your Case Worth?

Now, the million-dollar question (or perhaps, thousand-dollar question, depending on the severity): How much can you actually get for a dog bite injury?

 

The Short Answer: It Depends

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to dog bite settlements. The amount you can receive depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • Severity of Injuries: A few scratches will naturally result in a lower settlement than a bite requiring multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation.
  • Medical Expenses: The more costly your medical treatment, the higher your potential compensation.
  • Lost Wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you can factor in lost income into your claim.
  • Pain and Suffering: This includes both the physical pain of the bite and the emotional trauma that often follows.
  • Scarring and Disfigurement: Permanent scars, especially on visible areas like the face, can significantly increase the value of your dog bite claim.
  • Comparative Negligence: If you were partially at fault for the attack (e.g., you provoked the dog), your compensation may be reduced.
 

What Does the Data Say?

While every case is unique, we can get a general idea of potential settlement amounts by looking at statistics:

  • Average Settlement: According to Forbes Advisor, the average dog bite insurance payout in 2022 was $64,555.
  • Range of Settlements: Settlements can range from as low as $15,000 for minor injuries to hundreds of thousands of dollars for severe, life-altering attacks.

California’s Unique Advantage: It’s worth noting that California consistently ranks among the states with the highest average dog bite settlements.

 

How an Attorney Can Maximize Your Compensation

While these figures offer a glimpse, it’s crucial to remember that an experienced dog bite attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case. They can:

  • Accurately Assess Your Damages: Attorneys can calculate the full extent of your losses, ensuring you don’t leave money on the table.
  • Negotiate with Insurance Companies: Insurance adjusters are skilled negotiators who often try to lowball victims. An attorney levels the playing field.
  • Prepare for Trial: If a fair settlement can’t be reached, your attorney can take your case to court to fight for maximum compensation.
dog bite statute of limitations

Don’t Wait: California’s Statute of Limitations on Dog Bites

Time is of the essence when it comes to seeking compensation for a dog bite in California. The state’s statute of limitations gives you two years from the date of the bite to file a lawsuit.

 

What Does This Mean for You?

After two years, you’ll likely lose your right to sue for damages, even if your injuries are severe or your medical bills are piling up. This makes it crucial to act quickly and consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

 

Exceptions to the Rule

There are a few rare exceptions where the statute of limitations might be extended, such as:

  • Minors: If the victim was a minor at the time of the bite, the two-year clock doesn’t start ticking until they turn 18.
  • Delayed Discovery: In some cases, you might not discover the full extent of your injuries or the financial impact of the bite right away. If this happens, the statute of limitations might be extended.
 

Why You Shouldn’t Delay

Even if you think you have plenty of time, it’s always best to consult with an attorney early on. This gives them more time to:

  • Gather Evidence: Witness statements, medical records, and other documentation can be crucial to building a strong case.
  • Negotiate with Insurance Companies: Early intervention can sometimes lead to a faster resolution and a fair settlement.
  • Prepare for Trial: If necessary, your attorney can build a strong case for court, ensuring you have the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.
 

Don’t let the clock run out on your rights. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, contact Compass Law Group, LLP today for a free consultation.

dog bite lawsuit courtroom

Accused of Owning a “Bad Dog?” How to Defend Against a Dog Bite Lawsuit

If your dog has bitten someone, and you’re now facing a lawsuit, don’t panic. There are several defense strategies that can help you navigate this challenging situation:

 

1. Challenge the Plaintiff’s Claims

  • No Bite: In some cases, the alleged victim might exaggerate the incident or even fabricate it entirely. Your attorney can investigate the dog bite claims and gather evidence to prove that a bite never occurred or was not as severe as claimed.
  • Provocation: If the plaintiff provoked your dog (by teasing, hitting, or otherwise antagonizing it), you might be able to argue that they are partially or even fully responsible for their injuries.
  • Trespassing: If the plaintiff was on your property illegally when the bite happened, it might weaken their case, especially if you had “Beware of Dog” signs posted.

2. Claim Comparative Negligence

  • In California, even if your dog is found liable for the bite, you might be able to reduce the amount of damages you owe if the plaintiff was partially at fault.
  • For example, if the plaintiff ignored warning signs or attempted to pet your dog without asking, they could be found partially negligent.

3. Assert Assumption of Risk

  • If the plaintiff knew your dog had a history of biting or was aware of the risks associated with interacting with dogs, you might argue that they assumed the risk of being bitten.
  • This defense is more likely to be successful if the plaintiff was a professional dog handler or someone with experience around dogs.

4. Prove You Weren’t the Owner

  • In some cases, there might be confusion about who actually owned or controlled the dog at the time of the bite.
  • If you can provide evidence that the dog belonged to someone else or was under someone else’s care, you might be able to avoid liability.

5. Consult with an Experienced Attorney

  • Navigating the legal complexities of a dog bite lawsuit is not something you should attempt alone. A skilled attorney can help you gather evidence, build a strong defense, and negotiate with the plaintiff’s attorney to reach a fair resolution.
 

Don’t admit fault or apologize to the victim right after the bite. This could be used against you later in court. Instead, focus on gathering information, documenting the scene, and seeking legal counsel as soon as possible.

Compass Law Group, LLP has extensive experience defending clients in dog-bite lawsuits. We can help you understand your rights, protect your interests, and work towards a positive outcome for your case.

aggressive dog bite case

Proving Liability: Building Your Dog Bite Case

So, you’ve been bitten by a dog, but how do you actually prove the owner is liable? In California, where we have strict liability laws, it might seem straightforward, but building a strong case still requires some key elements.

 

The Essential Ingredients of a Dog Bite Case

Think of your case as a recipe. To cook up a winning argument, you need the following ingredients:

  1. The Bite: This sounds obvious, but you need to prove that the dog actually bit you. Medical records, photos of your injuries, and witness statements can all serve as evidence.
  2. Ownership or Control: You’ll need to show that the defendant owned or controlled the dog at the time of the bite. This could be through documents like registration papers, veterinary records, or even testimony from neighbors who saw the defendant walking the dog regularly.
  3. Location of the Bite: Where the bite occurred matters. If it happened on public property or while you were lawfully on private property, the dog’s owner liability is generally clear. If it happened on the owner’s property, however, you might need to prove that you were there for a legitimate reason (like delivering a package or visiting a friend).
  4. Your Damages: This is where your medical records, therapy bills, and any documentation of lost wages come in. You’ll need to show the financial impact the bite has had on your life.
  5. The “X-Factor”: This could be anything that strengthens your case, such as a history of aggression from the dog, the owner’s negligence (like not having the dog on a leash), or even the severity and location of your injuries.
 

Gathering the Evidence: Your Attorney’s Role

A skilled dog bite attorney knows how to gather and present evidence in a way that maximizes your chances of success. They can:

  • Interview Witnesses: They’ll track down people who saw the animal attack and get their statements on record.
  • Obtain Medical Records: They’ll collect your medical records and work with experts to assess the full extent of your injuries and the long-term impact on your life.
  • Investigate the Dog’s History: If the dog has a history of aggression, your dog bite attorneys can dig up records to use as evidence.
  • Negotiate with Insurance Companies: They’ll handle all communication with the dog owner’s insurance company, fighting for a fair settlement.
 

At Compass Law Group, LLP, we have a proven track record of success in dog bite cases. We know how to build strong cases, negotiate effectively, and, if necessary, take your case to trial to get you the justice you deserve.

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Call Compass Law Group Today for a Free Consultation

Have you been injured by a dog bite and don’t know where to turn? You’re not alone. These situations can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face them alone.

 

Compass Law Group’s experienced dog bite attorneys understand the complexities of these cases and the unique challenges accident victims face. We will:

  • Investigate your accident thoroughly to determine liability.

  • Fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries.

  • Handle all the legal legwork so you can focus on healing.

 

Don’t wait – time is limited. California has strict deadlines for filing personal injury claims.

Call Compass Law Group today for a free consultation. We’ll answer your questions and discuss your legal options moving forward.

We understand the emotional and financial strain a dog bite can cause. Let us help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.

Compass Law Group: Your Allies After a Dog Attack

A dog bite is more than just a physical wound; it can leave lasting emotional scars. By knowing your rights, taking swift action, and seeking expert legal guidance, you can reclaim control and focus on healing.

 

Key Takeaways

  • Dog bites are more than skin deep: They can cause severe physical and emotional trauma.
  • California has strict liability laws: Dog owners are often held responsible for their dogs’ actions.
  • Compensation is available: You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
  • Time is limited: The statute of limitations in California is two years.
  • Legal representation is key: An experienced dog bite lawyer can maximize your chances of a successful outcome.
 

Compass Law Group, LLP understand the complex legal landscape surrounding dog bite cases. We have a proven track record of securing fair compensation for our clients, ensuring they receive the support they need to move forward.

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team of experienced dog bite lawyers is here to guide you through every step of the process, from gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies to fighting for your rights in court. Your recovery starts with a free consultation. Call (310) 289-7126 today.

FAQs

 

How Much Compensation Can I Get for a Dog Bite?

The compensation you can receive for a dog bite varies greatly depending on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In California, average settlements in 2022 were around $64,555, but the amount can range from a few thousand dollars for minor injuries to hundreds of thousands for severe cases.

 

How Do You Negotiate a Dog Bite Settlement?

Negotiating a dog bite settlement involves gathering evidence of liability and damages, and then presenting a demand to the dog owner’s insurance company. Your attorney will advocate for your interests, pushing for a fair settlement that covers all your losses. If a fair agreement can’t be reached, your attorney may file a lawsuit to pursue your claim in court.

 

How Much Money Can You Get from a Level 4 Dog Bite?

Level 4 dog bites are the most severe, often resulting in multiple bites, deep puncture wounds, and significant tissue damage. Due to the serious nature of these injuries, compensation for Level 4 dog bites can be substantial. Settlements often reach six figures or more, depending on the extent of medical treatment, long-term disability, and pain and suffering.

 

How Do You Defend Against a Dog Bite in a Lawsuit?

Defending against a dog bite lawsuit in California can be challenging due to the strict liability laws. However, there are several defense strategies, such as challenging the plaintiff’s claims, proving provocation or trespassing, asserting assumption of risk, or claiming comparative negligence. Consulting with an experienced attorney is crucial to building a strong defense.

 

What is the Dog Bite Law in California?

California follows a strict liability rule for dog bites, meaning the owner is generally liable for any injuries their dog causes, regardless of the dog’s prior behavior. However, there are exceptions, such as if the victim was trespassing or provoked the dog.

 

Can I Claim Compensation for a Dog Attack?

Yes, you can claim compensation for a dog attack if you were bitten in a public place or while lawfully on private property. This includes compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other damages resulting from the attack.