Dogs are part of the family for over 60 million households in America, according to a recent APPA survey, and many of those households contain multiple dogs. California is no exception and unfortunately, this pushes up the statistical risk for dog bites to happen.
Whether you are a dog owner dismayed by a recent altercation between your furry family member and another animal or person in your neighborhood, or if you were recently bitten by someone else’s dog, these are the top three reasons you should hire a dog bite lawyer.
Medical and veterinary bills
Many homeowner’s insurance policies cover expenses related to dog bites and may even offer additional pet liability riders for more extensive coverage, though owners of certain dog breeds may be unable to obtain insurance at all. These policies typically cover incidents that happen while on the homeowner’s property, and the most common expenses in the absence of a negligence lawsuit would be medical expenses including (but not limited to) stitches, booster shots, and antibiotics. In some cases, insurance claims to cover these costs can even be made against landlords of rental properties as well.
Even if a dog bites another dog, the vet bills for stitches and other possible treatments can quickly climb into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Regardless of who was injured, the onus for paying the ensuing medical or vet bills is typically on the owner of the dog who bit you or your pet. In a perfect world, the owner of the dog who bit you would understand this and provide you with the information you need to file your claim, but in many cases, it takes an experienced lawyer to get the matter resolved.
Negligence or criminal claims
Depending on your situation, you may also want to prove that a dog owner was negligent, or that you (as a dog owner) were not negligent. In either case, it’s always a good idea to file an incident report through the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health immediately while all necessary details which can help settle your claim are still fresh in your mind. For victims of dog bites, it may seem easier to avoid confrontation and pay your expenses out of pocket, but in clear cases of negligence, there could be other people harmed or even killed in the future if you do not act.
For dog owners who believed they took reasonable measures in accordance with California law, it may be necessary to hire a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer to ensure you provide all the information and testimony required to avoid a negligence lawsuit, or even to prove comparable negligence.
If a dog owner sees his or her pet get mauled by another dog, or even if it’s a person that has been viciously attacked, there are also provisions for civil claims and awards for pain and suffering caused by the trauma and recovery after the event. The largest payout to date was made to the partner of a woman who was mauled to death outside of her San Francisco apartment. The wrongful death lawsuit was brought against both the dog owners as well as the apartment owners, and resulted in a payout of $1.5 million in damages.
There are several ways a dog owner can take reasonable steps to control dogs that might be prone to biting or have an actual history of biting, the most common being the use of a muzzle when out for walks. If you are victim or a dog bite or if your dog bit another person or dog, it’s best to call a specialized attorney immediately to help you take the next steps toward restitution.