Dog Bite Attorneys

Victim of a dog bite? Don't be intimidated by the dog owner or insurance
companies. Let Dordulian Law Group fight for you.

Dog Bite Lawyers in California

Dordulian Law Group is a personal injury firm providing highly skilled legal representation to dog bite victims in the Glendale and Los Angeles-area, and throughout California. Dog owners are responsible for monitoring their pet(s) and making sure they are socialized, trained, and vaccinated. It is also the pet owner’s responsibility to keep others safe from their animal. Suffering a dog bite can lead to serious injuries -both physically and psychologically-and the dog owner must be held accountable for those injuries. Following an unfortunate dog bite incident, do not let the pet owner or insurance companies swindle you out of what is rightfully yours. If you have been bitten by a dog, you can seek free legal advice from a top-rated attorney at Dordulian Law Group (DLG). We have a 98% success rate representing injury victims like you, and we have the knowledge and talent necessary to win your dog bite case. We’ve recovered over $100 million for our dog bite and personal injury clients throughout the years, and we always fight to secure the maximum compensation for each and every victim.

Have You Been Injured By A Dog Bite?

Have You Been Injured By A Dog Bite?
Known for their loyalty and companionship and often described as “man’s best friend,” dogs are a common household pet. But what happens when man’s best friend decides to attack you? Have you been bitten by a dog? In California, the dog owner is responsible for always controlling their pet. If you are the victim of a dog bite or attack, the owner is liable for your injuries, and you may be eligible for financial compensation.

The attorneys at DLG are prepared to advocate on your behalf and help you recover the damages you deserve. Call a Dordulian Law Group dog bite attorney today to learn about your legal rights and all the ways in which we will fight to protect them. DLG attorneys have more than 25 years of experience successfully litigating and settling personal injury cases, and we will not rest until we have secured the maximum allowable compensation for your dog bite injury.

What Is A Dog Bite?

Dogs can attack in many different ways, such as knockdowns, scratches, and bites. A dog bite specifically occurs when a dog injures a person through the physical act of biting. Bites can result in infection, disfigurement, temporary disability, permanent disability, or even death.

To prove negligence in a dog bite case you must be able to demonstrate:

  • The defendant owned the dog
  • The dog bit the victim in a public place or while the victim was lawfully on private property
  • The dog bite resulted in the victim sustaining an injury (or injuries)
  • The dog bite was a substantial factor in said injury

Section 3342 of the California Civil Code places liability on dog owners and applies solely to injuries sustained from a bite. If you have been attacked by a dog but were not bitten, you will need to prove negligence just like any other personal injury case in California. Proving negligence in a personal injury case requires that the three following conditions be met:

  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
  • The defendant breached that duty of care
  • The defendant’s breach was a direct factor in causing harm to the plaintiff

California enforces strict liability on dog owners.

If you have been bitten by a dog, you will not have to prove negligence. California enforces “strict liability” on dog owners. This means that the owner is liable for the victim’s injuries even if the dog has never bitten anyone before or has never shown previous signs of aggression. If the dog has injured someone previously (whether by biting or attacking), the state places an extra duty of care on the owner. The “strict liability” law is in contrast to the “one bite rule” that other states might enforce. The one bite rule places liability on the owner only if the dog has previously displayed aggressive tendencies or has bitten someone. States that have the “one bite rule” include:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

A few states have what’s known as “mixed bite laws,” where strict liability is enforced under certain circumstances. Since California law is stricter in comparison to other states, the owner is in effect liable when:

  • The victim did not provoke the dog
  • The person was bitten on public property or lawfully on private property
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Dog Attacks

California Dog Bite Statistics

There are 89.7 millions dogs living in homes throughout the United States. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over 4 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, and 20% of those bites require medical attention. About 72% of dog bites occur on extremities like arms, hands, legs, and feet. California has the second-highest rate of dog bite fatalities, and 82% of those fatalities have occurred due to pit bull attacks. Living in a high-risk state like California, there are certain precautions outlined by the Humane Society that you can take to help ensure your safety:

  • Respect the dog’s space and do not distribute the animal while eating, sleeping, or caring for its offspring
  • Pay close attention to the dog’s body language and do not approach the animal if it is growling or seems tense or scared
  • Avoid approaching an unfamiliar dog
  • Do not attempt to touch or pet the dog without letting it see and smell you first

Children are most at risk for dog bites and account for 50% of all injured victims. Most of the time, an attack occurs when a child is playing with the dog. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that approximately half of all children 12 or younger have been bitten by a dog. 65% of dog bites impacting children occur to the head or neck. It is also noted by the American Humane Association that most victims of dog bites are familiar with the animal that attacks. The Humane Society provides tips for dog owners to help prevent dog bites. These include:

  • Spaying or neutering your dog
  • Socializing your dog by introducing them to different people and situations
  • Keeping your dog from stressful situations
  • Training your dog

However, despite putting all of these recommended precautions in place and taking steps to prevent attacks, the possibility exists that any dog may bite at any time. In these instances, it’s important to assert your rights and seek legal guidance from a skilled DLG Los Angeles dog bite attorney.

Do I Have A Dog Bite Case?

In California, liability is already placed on the dog owner in a dog bite case because you are not required to prove negligence or prior knowledge of a dog’s aggression. This stricter law places responsibility on a dog owner to control their pet and keep others safe. Certain dog breeds that tend to be more dangerous may require dog owners to take extra precautions to ensure safety. Specific dog breeds can be more aggressive and inherently dangerous than others. In fact, some insurance policies have restrictions on dog breeds, such as:

  • Pit bulls
  • Staffordshire terriers
  • Dobermans
  • German Shepherds
  • Chows
  • Akitas
  • Alaska Malamutes
  • Rottweilers
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Wolf hybrids

Most homeowner or renter’s insurance policies cover dog bite injuries. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites are the most common liability claim on homeowner and renter’s insurance policies.

If you have been bitten by a dog, you are not required to file a police report, but it may be helpful in recovering punitive damages in a civil lawsuit. However, it is required that both the owner and the victim report the incident to their local county health officer. Doctors in California who treat dog bite victims are also required to report the incident.

Challenges To A Dog Bite Case

While finding dog owners liable in a dog bite case may seem like a straightforward process, there are still ways in which a defendant can attempt to absolve liability. Possible defenses you may encounter include:

  • The victim was trespassing on private property
  • The victim provoked the dog
  • The dog was protecting its owner or another person in accordance with Californian self-defense laws
  • The animal was carrying out military or police duty in ordinance with the agency’s written policy

California self-defense laws allow for the use of force when defending oneself if it is reasonably believed that you are in imminent danger of physical harm, and that the force is necessary in halting the harm. Since every case is different, it is best to leave the legal strategy for your specific claim to the experts at DLG. With over 25 years of experience successfully combating these possible challenges in dog bite cases, we can help ensure you prevail in court after being injured by a dog bite.

What Should You Do If You Are A Dog Bite Victim?

If you have been bitten by a dog, you should seek medical attention immediately. Though the injury may not seem severe at first, you cannot be certain if the dog has rabies or if bacteria from the bite may cause an infection. Seeking medical attention is advisable for your health, but it also creates a link between the dog bite and the injury that can be considered evidence. This important documentation will potentially help you in the future when pursuing a dog bite injury claim.

Additionally, while it is not required to report a dog bite, it may be in your best interest for evidential purposes. We advise all California dog bite injury victims to notify their local animal control office or the police immediately following an attack. Make sure you document the entire experience with as much detail as possible. Gather pertinent pieces of information like medical bills and photographs of both your injuries and the property where the bite occurred. You should also do your best to identify the dog and take a mental picture of the animal if it runs away. Compile as much information as you can about the owner, such as their name and contact information.

Most importantly, do not try to settle your claim without legal assistance. Make sure you consult with one of our experienced Los Angeles dog bite lawyers at DLG. Insurance companies will work to give you the least amount of compensation, so it’s in your best interest to receive assistance from a seasoned DLG lawyer who has experience negotiating dog bite claims. We have recovered over $100 million for personal injury victims like you, and will fight to obtain the maximum damages award for your dog bite claim.

Financial Recovery From A Dog Bite Suit

The average payout for a dog bite claim is $40,000. However, this is not a guarantee of your particular outcome, and individual results vary. However, depending on the details and severity of injuries, your claim could be worth even more than the $40,000 average. We can help you determine how much your case is worth after collecting all specific details pertaining to your incident, as well as recovering any available evidence. Evidence – such as photographs and medical documentation – is key when proving a dog bite personal injury claim.

On March 12, 2020, in Hartford, Connecticut, a $100,000 settlement was reached for a dog bite case. This case involved a seven-year-old girl being attacked by a pit bull outside of a house where her and her family were attending an engagement party. The girl suffered serious injuries and received stitches extending from her lower lip to the bottom of her chin. Photographic evidence of the attack was reportedly a deciding factor that led to the insurance company settling the case.

This case demonstrates the importance of photographic evidence, which can be a huge factor in reaching a settlement in a dog bite case. If you have been bitten by a dog, is imperative that you document the injuries sufficiently through photographs. You should also document your recovery process (physical and psychological) through notes, as this will provide a more accurate account of the attack and its lasting effects. Financial recovery will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Depending on the severity of the dog bite, types of compensation you may be entitled to include:

  • Medical costs
  • Physical or vocational therapy
  • Psychological counseling
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of the use of a limb

The damages that are more intangible are called ‘non-economic’ damages. For example, a dog bite might cause you to experience pain and suffering. You also might have to alter your lifestyle by no longer participating in activities that you used to enjoy. Non-economic damages can be substantial if your pain and suffering are extensive or the dog bite otherwise significantly reduces your quality of life.

There are specific factors that help determine how much a dog bite case is worth. These include:

  • The victim’s age (children typically receive higher settlements because they are less able to defend themselves and are more susceptible to permanent psychological damage)
  • The severity of the bite, including whether there was nerve damage, significant blood loss, or some other severe injury
  • How much medical attention was or will be required
  • Whether the bite will result in permanent scars or other disfigurement
  • Whether there will be long-term mental or emotional damage
  • Whether the dog bit someone else previously, thus putting the owner on notice that the dog is dangerous
  • Whether the victim was trespassing

Plaintiffs in California civil cases may also receive punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to economic and non-economic compensatory damages if the court finds that the defendant’s behavior was especially reprehensible. To award punitive damages, the court will usually establish that the defendant knowingly acted in a reckless manner that obviously put others at risk.

Some additional newsworthy dog bite settlements include:

  • A woman in California reached a $2 million settlement after a dog used by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office bit her leg in a parking lot.
  • An Illinois teenager attacked by a 120-pound Bullmastiff who jumped the fence in its owner’s yard received a $1.125 million settlement for lasting injuries, disfigurement, and trauma.
  • A man who was attacked by a Rottweiler and bit pull in New Jersey, bitten over most of his body and left a coma, won a $563,000 settlement.

Families of victims who have been killed in a dog attack may be able to recover wrongful death damages or loss of consortium. A wrongful death lawsuit will need to be filed in these cases.

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Deadlines/Statues Of Limitations In Dog Bite Cases

The statute of limitations in California for filing a dog bite lawsuit is two years from the date of the injury. One exception to the two-year statute of limitations is if the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the injury. The two-year statute does not apply to children until they have turned 18, meaning any victim under 18 has until their 20th birthday to file a dog bite lawsuit.

For all victims over 18, after the two years has expired you no longer have the ability to file a lawsuit. Since the possibility of receiving compensation is time sensitive, we advise that you contact DLG immediately following a dog bite injury. In some cases, it may take a significant amount of time to locate the dog and owner. Time is of the essence in dog bite personal injury lawsuits, and contacting DLG immediately after your attack will help ensure your claim reaches a positive outcome and you receive the compensation you deserve.

We employ a Chief Investigator to handle all of our dog bite cases. Moses Castillo, a former LAPD detective for nearly 30 years in the city’s Central Traffic and Sex Crimes Divisions, works tirelessly with all dog bite victims to recover every piece of evidence available. This unique service allows DLG to always pursue the maximum allowable financial damages award for you.

Lawyers With Decades of Experience And Success In Dog Bite Cases

The attorneys at Dordulian Law Group understand the type of long-lasting and traumatizing effects that can result from being a dog bite victim. We take our responsibility of representing you and recovering damages on your behalf very seriously, and we always have our clients’ best interests at heart. We have decades of experience working with insurance companies and dog owners to reach the best possible outcome. We also understand that sustaining a dog bite can be a burden on your wallet. This is why we offer a free, no obligation consultation where we will go over all the details of your case and advise you on how best to proceed.

Additionally, our “no win/no fee” guarantee means you never have to worry about out-of-pocket expenses. We don’t take a penny unless we recover financial damage for you. With DLG, you never pay anything up-front, which means you can focus on your recovery and let us handle the stressful details.

DLG is a trusted law firm that has been serving the people of Glendale and the greater Los Angeles-area for over 20 years. Contact our firm today about your dog bite case. We provide the type of experienced and dedicated representation you deserve. Call us at 800-880-7777.

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