Were you or someone you love a bit and injured by someone else’s dog? Are you suffering due to a dog bite and aren’t sure what to do? Dogs are, in so many ways, truly man’s best friend. But, when someone else’s dog bites you or someone you love, you may be able to receive compensation. Belal Hamideh, a California dog bite lawyer, can help.
Even the seemingly friendliest dog, one that has never bitten someone before, could bite and cause a serious injury. Should you have been bitten by another person’s dog, you very well may have a claim for financial compensation. We can help you to seek justice. You can contact us for a free consultation here.
Understanding California Dog Bite Law
Here in California, a dog’s owner is responsible for any damages suffered by someone their dog has bitten. That’s true whether it’s in a public place or in a private place lawfully. An example of the latter would include the home of the dog’s owner.
In this context, the word “lawfully” means that the person bitten by the dog is on the dog owner’s property by invitation (expressed or implied) as well as performing their duties (such as being a postal worker) and so forth.
California’s civil code around dog bites creates what’s called “strict liability.” Essentially, the owner of a dog is responsible for the dog’s actions, period. It doesn’t matter if the dog was “always so nice,” “never bit anyone before,” or never even showed the slightest sign of aggression – if the dog bites and injures you or someone you love, the owner is liable.
That said, this “strict liability” rarely extends to someone such as a dog’s caretaker, “dog-sitter,” and so forth. In those cases, the owner (and not the caretaker/sitter) are still liable for the dog’s bites. As you can see, these cases can get very complicated quickly. Our team can determine exactly who is at fault and represent you aggressively so that you can receive all of the compensation you deserve.
Dog Bite Cases in Long Beach
Obviously, Long Beach abides by California’s “Strict Liability” code in regards to dog bites. That said, there are local pet laws that are specific to the Long Beach area. These can factor into dog bite cases as well, as local Long Beach pet laws apply to every dog owner, regardless of circumstance.
Case in point: a dog owner must keep their dog on a leash in public at all times under the Long Beach municipal code. Should someone not have their dog on a leash in a public place and it happens to bite you or someone that you love, you very well may have a strong case for damages.
There are exceptions to the “dogs must always be on a leash in public.” They include dog parks as well as private property (such as the owner’s home, etc.) Even so, should a dog owner’s pet cause any damage, that owner is legally responsible for the damages. Dog owners must control their dogs.
Here in Long Beach, there are so many beautiful, outdoor, public areas. All too often, someone is injured by a dog when they’re out walking their own dog. Or, alternatively, they’re out for a walk and a dog breaks through a gate, a door, or some other barrier and attacks them.
You’ll note the above paragraph didn’t use the word “bite,” but rather “attack” and “injure.” That’s because there are other ways to be injured by a dog than just bites. For example, many of these cases include the elderly or those who may struggle to defend themselves being knocked to the ground by a dog and suffering an injury. Regardless of how you were injured by a dog, we may be able to help you to receive the compensation you deserve.
What Can I Do After a Dog Bite Happens?
When you’re injured by a dog, the first step is to ensure your safety. Make sure that you’re safe, that you’ll no longer be injured by the dog. Then, get medical help. Getting to the emergency room on your own may be the best course of action, but calling first responders can also be a good idea.
You need to be treated by medical professionals. You very likely don’t know all that much about the dog, where they’ve been, their health, and so forth. Moreover, even if you don’t seem like you have any injuries (or even the signs of ones) you very well may be seriously injured. Dog bites don’t have to break the skin to be dangerous. The sooner you get a medical professional to look at your injury, the better.
Indeed, so many of the injuries that result from a dog bite are in addition to the bite itself. You may have fallen and hit your head to get away from the dog, the dog may have scratched at your leg, and so forth. Those need to be treated by a medical professional as well. Moreover, it will help your case by having documentation of your injuries from a medical professional.
Speaking of documentation, call the police. The police will put together a police report. This can be of great benefit, as it connects the owner’s name to their location, the dog, and more. The report should also make note of any injuries.
Beyond the police, Animal Services will also need a report. They very well may conduct an investigation to see if the dog is potentially dangerous, and so forth.
If you are able, take pictures. Take pictures of your injuries, the dog, anything you can. The more the better. These can help with your eventual case.
The next step is to reach out to an attorney. Now, the dog owner very well may try to tell you that all of this is unnecessary. They may even say that they’ll “pay for your medical bills” if you don’t call the cops, and so forth. You still should call the cops and then an attorney.
The dog owner may not live up to their end of the bargain, particularly when they see just how expensive your bills are. Get medical help, call the cops, and then call an attorney.
Who’s Liable for a Dog-Bite Related Injury?
In short, the owner. The owner is liable for a dog bite-related injury. That’s what the “strict liability” is all about. That said, “strict liability” only comes into play if a dog bites you or someone you love in a public place/private place where you were lawfully allowed on the property.
So, you may not be able to use the “strict liability” law if you’re injured by a dog knocking you over in a public place, or causing you to wreck your bicycle and get injured, etc. That said, the owner very well may still be liable. If they were careless with the dog and that led to your injury, they very well may be liable.
As mentioned, caretakers and dog sitters are rarely liable for damages. While the owner may have put the dog in their care when you were injured, the owner is still liable for the injuries. Here at Belal Hamideh Law, we can work to seek justice against liable parties so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.
Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries
There are many different levels of dog bite injuries. At “one,” the lowest level, the dog’s behavior is aggressive, leaving you scratched, cut, and so forth, but not a bit. Level Two includes bite marks that don’t puncture your skin.
At Level Three, the dog’s bite has punctured your skin, leaving up to four puncture marks. For an injury to be at Level Three, the bite cannot go deeper into your skin than half of the length of the dog’s canine teeth.
In Level Four, the dog bites into your skin and shakes its head, often resulting in bruising and even torn flesh, while Level Five includes multiple dog bites with multiple punctures.
Remember: many injuries from a dog bite are in addition to the bite. You very well may have injuries to your head from hitting the ground, scars, defensive wounds from trying to keep the dog away, and so forth.
At Level Six, the dog’s bite results in death. No amount of compensation from a wrongful death case can make up for the loss of a loved one. However, Belal, as a wrongful death lawyer can work with his team to help you to receive the compensation that can cover funeral costs and others that may have resulted from the dog bite. That way, you can have a foundation from which to move to the next phase of your life.
Am I Eligible For Compensation?
You are eligible for compensation if you were injured by a dog in public or on private property you were lawfully allowed to be on. It doesn’t matter if “the dog was always nice” or anything like that. If you were injured, you very well may be eligible for compensation. Reaching out to an attorney can help to determine exactly what your claim is worth.
What Can I Do if The Dog’s Owner is a Friend, Relative, or Neighbor?
We mention this because, in roughly ¾ of dog injury cases, the owner is someone that you know and have a previous relationship with. Always remember: in a strong, strong majority of these cases, your friend, relative, neighbor, and so forth, will not have to pay for your damages out of their pocket.
Instead, they’ll be paid by their insurance company. Moreover, we can find exactly who that insurance carrier is. Then, we’ll represent you aggressively so that you can receive all of the compensation that you should for everything that you’ve been through.
How to File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite Injury
We can handle that for you. That said, you are eligible to do so if you suffered a dog bite injury (or an injury from a dog) here in California. Whether you were in public, or on private property that you were lawfully allowed to be on, you can file a lawsuit.
We understand how complex it can be to file a lawsuit. Thus, we can do it for you and then help you through every step of the process.
How Long Do I Have to File The Lawsuit?
You have two years to file the lawsuit. That’s two years from the injury itself. While that may seem like a long period of time, the sooner you file your lawsuit, the better. The earlier you reach out to an attorney, the faster they can get to work building your case. Consequently, the sooner you file your lawsuit the sooner you’ll be able to receive the compensation that you deserve as well.
Long Beach California Dog Bite Lawyer Offering Free Consultation
There is nothing like a dog. Loyal, lovable, and affectionate. However, when someone else’s dog injures you or someone that you love, it very well could lead to significant medical costs, pain, suffering, and more. You deserve to be compensated for that. We can help.
Belal Hamideh, a California dog bite lawyer, offers free consultations. We’re always glad to sit down with potential clients to discuss how we can help them to seek justice and compensation. Hablame Espanol. Schedule a free consultation at (562) 526-1224.