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Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bites can cause serious physical and emotional scars. Although a handful of breeds are responsible for the majority of dog bite injuries, any breed of dog can bite and cause significant harm. Victims of such attacks often have to treat with physical therapists and plastic surgeons. Because these attacks are often so vicious, serious emotional damage is common. Victims may suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and/or, develop unhealthy fears and phobias of animals, which requires them to seek psychiatric treatment. No dog bite is minor. They all require medical attention and even small bites from small dogs can lead to serious injury.
In many circumstances, the dog owner is responsible for the actions of his/her dog. Regardless of whether the attack happens in a private home, on the street, in a dog park, or anywhere else, the owner of the dog will likely be held responsible. However, this is not always the case. Determining liability in a dog bite case requires careful legal analysis. In many instances, in order to avoid responsibility, dog owners will deny they own the attacking dog. These instances require the attorney to seriously investigate all possible defendants in order to prove ownership of the dog.
A common scenario of a dog bite is when a person is walking a small dog on a leash and a larger dog, leashed or not, attacks the small dog. Since dog owners are so loyal to their dogs, the owner of the small dog will often do whatever it takes to protect the animal. This can result in serious injury to the owner from the larger, attacking dog. Los Angeles has very strict leash laws, but unfortunately, many irresponsible dog owners either ignore the laws or have dogs that are so large that they can not be controlled even when leashed.
Not all injuries in dog attacks are bites. Another common cause of injury occurrs when dogs jump on people or knock people over when trying to attack another dog. Broken hips, arms, and wrists are common injuries in dog attack cases. In these cases, different laws apply, but the dog owner is still typically responsible for the injuries.
If you are attacked by a dog, it is critical to determine who owned the dog. Obviously, if you are seriously injured in the dog attack, you might not be able to do this right away. Seeking medical attention is also vital. However, ownership of the dog must be established as soon as possible. Taking pictures of the attacking dog and obtaining witnesses' information will also be very helpful.
All dog bites should be reported to Animal Control, who will investigate the attack and determine if the dog is a danger to the community. They will also work with your medical providers to determine if the dog has rabies. We at the Law Offices of Mann & Elias recommend you cooperate fully with Animal Control. Conversely, if you are contacted by the dog owner's insurance company, and they want to take a recorded statement of what happened, do not give the statement. Although the insurance adjustor will be friendly and sound like she wants to help, the real purpose is to get you to say something on tape that will hurt your case. Before speaking to the insurance company, we highly recommend you hire a lawyer.
While dog owners may have insurance coverage to pay for injuries caused by their dogs, it is common that dog owners will not reveal this information to the victim of a dog attack. It is essential that victims of dog attacks hire an attorney who specializes in this specific area of law. A dog bite case is not a simple negligence case. Dog bite cases are far more complex. This is why many attorneys do not handle dog bite cases. Your attorney must help you obtain medical treatment, determine ownership of the dog and the facts of the attack, discover insurance information, investigate the history of the dog, and ultimately make the insurance company pay in full for the damages you suffered.
Handling dog bite cases is a big job for any attorney. Los Angeles personal injury lawyer Scott Mann of the Law Offices of Mann & Elias has extensive experience in dog bite cases and has successfully litigated and settled dozens of dog bite cases. Call us at (323) 857-9500 for a free consultation or you can submit a free case evaluation here.