If you or someone you love is the victim of a dog bite, the best step to take is to seek out experienced legal counsel. Dog bite injuries can be serious – even life-threatening in some cases. It is important to know your rights and understand who may be responsible for covering physical therapies, lost wages, reconstructive surgeries, and other damages associated with a dog bite injury.
Most states have laws that hold dog owners or other parties responsible for injuries that their pets inflict on another person. In California, dog owners are usually legally liable for any injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether they knew the dog was dangerous.
Do I need a lawyer for a dog bite?
What to look for in a dog bite injury attorney
When searching for a qualified personal injury attorney to represent your case, start by looking for lawyers with proven success in litigating dog bite cases specifically. Ask if they have experience dealing with insurance companies and other parties involved, as well as any knowledge of local ordinances pertaining to animal-related incidents.
Many lawyers also practice as civil litigation attorneys in Los Angeles, which means that they focus on resolving disputes through negotiations or legal proceedings. Ask your prospective counsel if they are proficient in dog bite liability laws—both state and local—that are designed to protect victims from unnecessary harm caused by canines.
What are my legal settlement options for a dog bite attack?
There are many legal settlement options available for a dog bite attack. Depending on the situation, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the owner of the dog that bit you—or another responsible party. Legal settlements often include seeking financial damages for:
- Medical bills
- Physical therapy
- Reconstructive surgery
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- And even lost consortium damages
It is best to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights and determine which route best suits your unique case. The best personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles will take the time to listen to your story and explain the best course of action.
Possible defense strategies of the dog owner
Sometimes the dog owner will oppose a proposed financial settlement or court proceeding. So, you will need the best personal injury lawyer with the most experience possible to maneuver these legal arguments. Potential defense strategies by the dog owner may include:
The dog owner may claim that you were trespassing on his property and—therefore—not legally liable. In these cases, your lawyer must prove that you were legally allowed on the property and were also attempting to avoid danger.
- Lack of Knowledge
The dog owner may also argue that she had no knowledge of the dog’s dangerous tendencies prior to the incident. If this is the case, your attorney will need to prove otherwise by citing any prior history of aggression that will be used as evidence in court.
- Assumption of Risk
The dog owner can also claim that you assumed risk when you approached the animal—or failed to act responsibly to prevent an incident from occurring. Your personal injury lawyer must have the legal skills and expertise to successfully refute these claims.
The dog owner may attempt to prove that you provoked the animal and are, therefore, partially responsible for any damage caused. Again, civil litigation attorneys in Los Angeles specializing in dog attacks will have the best strategies available to prove these allegations false.
It is important to find an experienced and reputable dog bite injury attorney who has a track record of success representing cases like yours. With their legal assistance, you will be able to successfully navigate the complexities of filing a lawsuit or negotiating a settlement to protect your rights.
Proving liability and settling your claim
To best protect your rights and achieve the maximum settlement, it is important to have an experienced legal team on your side. A reputable attorney who understands civil litigation—and perhaps a history of speaking with medical professionals—can help you prove that the dog owner was at fault and legally liable for your damages.
Of course, most civil litigation attorneys in Los Angeles know how to negotiate with the dog owners’ insurance companies. But if negotiations fail, only the very best lawyers will know precisely “when” to recommend going to trial. With the right legal representation, you will be properly compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering.
Other factors that may affect the settlement
There are several factors that may influence the amount of your financial settlement. For example, the age of the victim may be a significant consideration. If the alleged victim happens to be a child, then the best Los Angeles dog bite attorney will likely be able to secure a much higher settlement amount than if the victim was an adult. Other considerations may include:
- The severity of the bite
- The circumstances leading up to the attack
- Any medical treatments that were required because of the attack
- Breed of dog
- History of aggression
- And other factors
Finally, keep in mind that the best attorneys have access to experienced investigators who can help build your case and uncover evidence. These professionals can sometimes make all the difference in the success and the amount of your financial settlement.
Does your dog bite attorney understand medical terminology?
When searching for a dog bite injury attorney, there are several issues to consider before making your final choice. First, it is important to research their qualifications and experience level to make sure they have the necessary expertise to handle your case.
Also, inquire about any other specialties they may have, such as communication skills with medical professionals. Understanding and interpreting medical jargon can come in quite handy, especially in cases involving long-term scarring, physical disfigurement, or reconstructive surgeries.
The best personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles usually employs a well-honed team of experienced civil litigation attorneys, paralegals, investigators, and administrative staff dedicated to helping victims of dog bite injuries receive the financial compensation that they deserve.
At The Point Law Group, we understand that these cases can be emotionally and financially stressful for the victims and their families. We strive to obtain the best possible financial outcome for each case that we handle. For more information on the proper role of an experienced and reputable dog bite injury attorney, contact The Point Law Group today.