Experienced Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyers
Dog bites can cause serious damage.
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The attorneys at Blair & Ramirez LLP have a caseload limit, which means our team is able to dedicate our time and resources to your specific case. We do not believe in settling for less, and we are willing to go to trial if necessary to get compensation for dog bite victims.
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If you or one of your family members has been attacked by a dog, you want an experienced Los Angeles dog bite lawyer in your corner. Our team of attorneys works aggressively to pursue maximum compensation for our clients.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, talk to us. We offer free consultations. As experienced dog bite lawyers in Los Angeles, our attorneys can review your situation and advise you on next steps.
What You Need To Know About Dog Bites
When are dog bites most likely to occur?
There are more than 4.5 million dog bite incidents nationwide every single year. More than half of those bites occur in the home, with the homeowner’s dog biting them or a member of the family.
Any dog, of any breed, can bite if it feels threatened, cornered, stressed, or panicked. Many dog bites occur when a human hand moves to pet the dog, but the dog is surprised by this movement. Small children and infants are especially at risk for bites because of their erratic and often rough movements around dogs.
Other bites occur in public spaces with unfamiliar dogs. Victims may be running, riding a bike, or walking a child in a stroller when a dog approaches and attacks. This may occur with any unleashed dog of any breed, whether it is a stray, temporarily lost, or has an owner yards away.
The Damage Inflicted By Dog Bites
A dog bite can cause deep wounds that damage tissue and tendons. The bite force of the dog may lead to a wound that results in a loss of blood pressure, extreme pain, or even broken bones. In addition, a larger dog attacking a human may be able to knock them down, which can lead to head or spine injuries.
Beyond obvious injuries, one major risk associated with dog bites is disease transmission. Dog saliva can carry a number of infectious diseases and bacteria, including Capnocytophaga, pasteurella, MRSA, tetanus, and—in extreme cases—rabies. The risk factor for rabies is higher when the victim is bit by an unfamiliar dog or stray. Note its behavior: extreme, unprovoked aggression; foaming at the mouth; or disorientation are all signs of a potentially rabid dog.
Due to the potential for diseases, all dog bites should be addressed by a medical professional.
The Impact Of Dog Bites
Dog bites can result in serious injuries. Dogs of all sizes and breeds have the capability to cause great harm to the human body, biting deep into tissue, tendon, and even bone. A dog bite can result in significant, debilitating injuries that impact the victim’s ability to work or otherwise live their life. While the bites themselves are rarely fatal (30-50 victims per year), the diseases carried by some dogs can even lead to the death of the victim if untreated.
The trauma of a dog attack and bite can also inflict serious psychological trauma on their victims, impacting their relationship with non-involved family pets and the dogs they encounter throughout the rest of their lives.
"What I love about this firm is that they listen and really take the time to explain everything... legal jargon looks greek to me, but they break it down simply. They made me feel like they had my back every step of the way. Mr. Ramirez and Mr. Blair are attorneys I can honestly say I trust & recommend 100%"
What to do when attacked by a dog.
The Lead-Up To A Bite
If approached by a strange dog or an unleashed dog that is unfamiliar to you, watch for signs of aggression. Do not approach the dog or run from it. Instead, remain calm. Turn to the side, away from the dog, and do not make eye contact. If the dog continues its approach or becomes more aggressive, say the word “No” in a firm voice. If the dog charges you, put any personal effects—such as a purse or a backpack—between you and the dog. Focus on getting away to a safe place as soon as possible. If you are in a public place, call for help and ask others to call 9-1-1 if you have been bitten.
Dealing With A Bite From A Familiar Dog
Many dog bites occur when you are visiting the home of a friend or family member with a dog. Never pet a dog without its owner’s permission and first allowing it to see your hands and smell them. If you have children with you, teach them about safe behavior around dogs, as well.
In the event that you or your child is bit, call 9-1-1 for emergency medical treatment and ask the homeowner to put the dog in a sealed room where it can no longer physically access the victim. Wash the wounds with soap and water and apply pressure to the wound area with a clean cloth. When medical personnel arrive, give them any information you can about the bite, the dog, and if you have an updated rabies / tetanus vaccination.
Document The Situation
Dog bites that occur in the home are most likely covered by either homeowners or renters insurance policies. In fact, given their frequency, dog bites account for about one-third of all homeowners insurance claims. If you have been bitten by a dog in the home of a friend or family member, make sure you have their information, including name, contact information, address, and insurance provider. Take pictures of the bite and the dog, as well as any other physical evidence of the attack. If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog in a public space and that dog has an owner or responsible party present, get their contact information, as well. Have the police file a report when they arrive that reflects who the dog’s owner is and information about the bite and dog. Here, too, pictures taken with your smartphone can help to document the bite, set the scene, and corroborate certain details about the attack.
Call Us Before Talking To An Insurance Company
If covered by their homeowners or renters insurance, the owner’s insurance company will begin an investigation to determine the nature of the incident. As a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites, dog owners are liable for any bite caused by a dog—whether or not they knew the dog would bite or become aggressive is irrelevant. However, this law only applies to bites. When it comes to other associated injuries—a concussion or broken wrist from falling down when a dog jumped the victim—the homeowners insurance may try to take steps to limit their liability and their compensation to you. In addition, many homeowners and renters insurance policies have a coverage cap for dog bites. If your medical costs exceed this cap, you may need to take legal action against the dog’s owner to recover compensation. Call Blair & Ramirez LLP at (213) 568-4000 if you or a loved one has been attacked by or bitten by a dog. We are an experienced dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles with a history of recovering millions in compensation for our clients.
A victim who was trespassing on private property at the time of the bite or attack would not be able to hold the dog’s owner liable. This is intended to protect dog owners from situations in which a home invader is attacked by a dog while unlawfully on the dog owner’s property.
However, there are potential gray areas here: not all private property is fenced off, and some unfenced private property abuts up against public space, such as sidewalks or hiking trails. Where the attack occurred and where the victim was at the time could establish the liability of the dog’s owner.
Dogs At Work
Police and military dogs are also typically exempted from the strict liability statutes. A police dog that bites an individual pursued by police may not be subject to the same rules as a privately owned dog that bites a victim.
There are two rules that apply here. First, when the bite occurs, the dog must be “on duty” carrying out a specific task it was trained to do. Second, the department or government entity with ownership over the dog needs to have specific policies that govern how their dogs work and are trained.