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What a Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney Can Do For You

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In simple terms, a Los Angeles dog bite attorney can help you get compensation if you were attacked and injured by a dog. While dogs are generally considered close companions, the reality is that some dogs can act aggressively toward people and cause serious injuries. Especially in a region like Los Angeles County, where there are an estimated 5,000,000 dogs, dog bite lawsuits are more common than most people may think.

In this article, our Forward Law Group team discusses how a Los Angeles dog bite attorney can help dog bite victims located across the city. Prior to that, we provide a quick primer on relevant information you should have about dog bites. We will cover the causes of dog bites, common locations of dog attacks in Los Angeles, how to report a dog attack, and what to do if you have been attacked by a dog.

Why Do Dogs Attack People?

Unfortunately, every now and then, you hear about a dog attacking and severely injuring someone.  Although tragic attacks are quite rare, the reason for them and many other dog bite incidents is an aggressive dog who got out and was loose on the streets. There are an infinite number of reasons why dogs bite or attack. In some instances, such as the one described earlier, a dog who has attacked a person will have a history of aggressiveness. Other times, it can be a “friendly” dog that is scared, shaken up, or somehow intimidated. In certain situations, the bite is triggered by a dog’s prey drive—which is often the case of dog bites on joggers and bicyclists. The reality is that under a specific set of circumstances, any dog can bite. 

Common Wound Locations For Dog Bites

A study by Loader (2019) about the demographics of dog bites found that from 2005 until 2013, there was an average of 337,103 emergency department visits each year for dog bites. Related to where on the body dog bites were located, the study showed that: 

  • 47.3% of bites were on the upper extremity (i.e. arm, wrist, hand) in 47.3%
  • 26.8% were on the head/neck in 26.8%
  • 21.5% were on the lower extremity (from the hip to the toes) in 21.5%; and 
  • 4.4% were on the trunk (central part of the body). 

Finally, the study found that younger victims, such as children, had more bites involving the head and neck area—largely due to their short height.

Dog Bite Laws in California

Every state in the US has specific laws that cover dog bites, and California is no exception. In this section, our team at Forward Law Group describes dog bite laws in California. 

California’s “Strict Liability” Dog Bite Law

California is one of 36 states in the country that has a “strict liability” dog bite law. According to the Michigan State University Animal Legal and Historical Center (2022), a strict liability is a type of law that “establishes that a dog owner is responsible for injury to a person (or sometimes that person's property, which often includes domestic animals and/or livestock) whether or not the owner knew the dog had a vicious propensity." In simple terms, the dog’s owner must compensate the dog bite victim for their injuries even if the dog never seemed dangerous or vicious in the past.

California Civil Code Section 3342

The strict liability dog bite law is described in California Civil Code Section 3342 (Civ. Code § 3342), which officially states:

The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.

As written in the text above, the owner of the dog is liable for damages even if the bite occurs at the property of the owner of the dog—as long as the victim was there lawfully. As an example, if someone was contracted to do repairs on a home and got bitten by the property owner’s dog while working at the home, the property owner would be liable. 

How to Report a Dog Bite

Reporting a dog bite is key because it provides a record of the incident, which is extremely useful for a dog bite victim who is trying to recover damages. Different cities and counties across California each have specific ways of reporting a dog bite. Some people worry that reporting a dog bite means that the dog will automatically get put down or euthanized—this is not a common case. Dogs get euthanized for very specific reasons, such as:

  • the dog has rabies;
  • the victim’s injuries are extremely serious;
  • the dog has bitten at least two other people; or
  • the dog has been trained to attack people or to fight. 

In Los Angeles County, if the dog bite is serious and the victim has suffered substantial injuries, call 911. Otherwise, you can report a dog bite online by visiting the Los Angeles County Animal Care & Control website’s Service Request page. Under the “Type of Request” drop-down menu of the form, there is an option titled “Dog Bite (Non-emergency).” Other information that they request from the victim on the form is:

  • Address where the dog bite occurred
  • Nearest cross streets
  • A detailed description of the situation
  • A detailed description of the animal(s) involved
  • Your contact details

Once you fill out the form, click “Submit” and a staff member should reach out to you in approximately 3 to 4 business days. If they do not respond to your request after a week, follow up with them by calling (562) 940-6898.

How a Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney Can Help

In some situations, dog bites can be quite serious and cause injuries as well as trauma. If you have been bitten by a dog in Los Angeles, getting the help of an experienced dog bite attorney can be extremely beneficial. From filing an insurance claim on your behalf, to negotiating the settlement with adjusters, to getting you medical treatment, and answering all of your questions throughout the way, Forward Law Group’s skilled lawyers will help you achieve the best possible outcome. Our attorneys have tremendous knowledge of dog bite cases and claims, and will guide you along smoothly each and every step of the way until you recover the compensation you deserve for the injuries and other damages you sustained. 

Call Forward Law Group Today

If you have suffered from a dog bite in Los Angeles or anywhere else in the state, Forward Law Group is here to help you whenever you need us. Call us today at (818) 471-8389 for a free, no-strings-attached consultation in which our team will learn more about your case and discuss the specific ways we can help you.