Owning a dog comes with the responsibility of caring for the animal and protecting people who may cross the dog’s path. Long Beach dog owners are subject to California’s dog-bite laws, established to promote owner responsibility and protect the residents of Long Beach and other California cities.
If you sustain a dog-bite injury, you have the right to hold the dog owner accountable for compensation. A Long Beach dog bite lawyer from Simmrin Law Group will help you get the financial award you deserve and need to support your recovery.
California Is a Strict Liability Dog-Bite State
States typically follow one of two systems for governing dog bites. States with a “one-bite rule” give dogs and dog owners a free pass, so to speak, the first time the dog bites someone, as the owner may not have known the dog’s propensity to attack. After that first bite, though, owners have that knowledge and can be held liable for additional incidents.
California follows a strict liability system. It is not a one-bite state. This means dog owners can be found liable for a dog bite, even if it is the dog’s first aggressive act. Further, though the owner may have taken precautions to prevent a bite, such as crating or leashing the dog, if the dog still manages to injure someone, those safety attempts do not excuse the owner from liability.
For a free legal consultation with a dog bite lawyer serving Long Beach, call (310) 896-2723
A Long Beach Dog Bite Attorney Can Help you Secure a Settlement
Though you do not have to prove the dog owner’s negligence to secure a settlement under the strict liability statute, your case does have to meet certain standards. A dog bite lawyer in Long Beach will help you through the process, which includes:
- Proving the defendant is the dog’s owner
- Proving the dog bite caused injuries
- Proving the dog bite was the reason for subsequent injuries, such as those experienced in a fall caused by a dog biting onto the victim’s shirtsleeve
Where the bite occurred is also a factor. To be eligible for compensation, the attack must have occurred either in a public place or on private property the victim was invited to enter.
Public and Private Locations
A public place is any space the general public can access and enter. Businesses open to dogs or pets (during open hours), parks, and sidewalks are all examples of public spaces.
A private location may be the dog owner’s home or yard, or place of business. If the victim enters these premises without invitation, securing a settlement is not likely. The strict liability statute does not cover trespassers unless they can prove the owner was negligent and knew the dog was dangerous.
Property owners can invite others to their properties either through express invitation, such as to a dinner party, or through implied invitation. For example, store owners, by having open hours and selling goods, implicitly invite patrons to come to their establishments. It is important to note that an invitation can have limits, and you can be considered trespassing if you, even as an invitee, venture onto areas of property prohibited to guests and are injured by a dog kept in that area.
Long Beach Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
Other Exceptions to Strict Liability in Long Beach Dog Bite Cases
Along with trespassing, there are other dog-bite scenarios that exempt or partially exempt dog owners from liability.
The Veterinarian’s Rule
This rule falls under the legal doctrine of “assumption of the risk,” explained in the California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI). By joining their respective professions, vets and kennel workers have “assumed the risk” of a dog bite while on the job and cannot hold dog owners accountable for compensation under the strict liability statute. They could, however, seek a personal injury case to prove the dog owner’s negligence.
Dogs bites committed by animals who are part of law enforcement or other government agencies also pose special considerations. If an innocent bystander is bitten by a government dog, a dog bite attorney in Long Beach can help them pursue a case against the government. However, the government cannot be sued if:
- The victim intentionally provoked or aggravated the dog, prompting the dog to bite in self-defense.
- The bite victim was under reasonable suspicion of engaging in unlawful activity, and the dog bite occurred in the process of apprehending the bite victim.
- The bite occurred in the midst of a criminal investigation or execution of a warrant.
- The dog acted to protect a member of law enforcement or another person.
The Victim Bears Fault
Under California’s comparative fault model, victims found partially responsible for their injuries will have their compensation reduced by their level of fault. By proving the victim antagonized, hit, or otherwise harassed the dog and prompted an attack, the defendant can see a reduction in their settlement payout. A Long Beach dog bite lawyer from Simmrin Law Group will defend you against unfair accusations of fault to protect your settlement.
Damages a Long Beach Dog Bite Attorney Can Help You Recover
Dog bites can do serious damage. Victims can be left with visible scars, nerve damage, puncture wounds, infections, and other consequences. Caring for these injuries comes with steep costs, and a Long Beach dog bite lawyer from Simmrin Law Group will work to ensure those costs are covered.
The financial losses you suffer because of the dog bite comprise the economic costs. They are likely to include:
- Medical care, which may include plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery, hospitalization, and rehabilitation
- Income loss, which accounts for wages lost to missed days at work and any future earnings you will sustain if your injuries prevent you from earning and working at the same capacity
- Additional expenses, which represent any new costs you experience because of your injuries, perhaps for child care or transportation if you can no longer handle these responsibilities independently
Your pain, possible disfigurement, emotional distress, and other non-tangible losses comprise your non-economic losses. Though it can be hard to put a dollar amount on these damages, an experienced dog bite attorney in Long Beach will assess your situation carefully and make an appropriate demand.
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Get the Compensation You Deserve
If you have been bitten by a dog, you have suffered enough. Secure the financial relief you need and access to the recovery you deserve by partnering with a Long Beach dog bite attorney from Simmrin Law Group. Your attorney understands the strict liability rule and knows how to build a successful case to bring you the settlement you deserve.
Reach out to our firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.