Being attacked by a dog is almost always a traumatizing experience, especially if the injuries you suffered have negatively affected the quality of your life and your earning capacity.
But recovering damages for a dog bite in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California is not exactly the easiest task even despite the fact that California is one of few states with “strict liability” laws.
If you are not represented by a Los Angeles dog attack attorney, you may lose your right to sue the owner of the dog that bit you, as there are many legal pitfalls and loopholes you are not aware of. Let’s review some of the most common situations in which you can lose your right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner.
You missed the deadline
Although California courts treat dog attacks seriously, they are also very serious about the state’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a dog bite. In California, the statute of limitations for dog bites is only two years. And the clock starts ticking the date the dog attack occurred.
“Failure to bring a claim or lawsuit against the dog owner within that timeframe will result in the loss of your right to sue the dog owner and recover damages,” explains our experienced dog attack attorney in Los Angeles at the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg.
You were not actually bitten by the dog
This is one of the questions that bother many Californians, “Can I sue the dog owner if I was attacked by a dog but not bitten?” Our best dog attack lawyers in California say, “It depends.”
If you can demonstrate evidence that your injuries resulted from the attack – even though you were not bitten – and that the dog owner was negligent, you may be able to sue the dog owner. In order to prove the latter, your attorney will have to establish that the dog owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the attack.
You provoked the dog
This is one of the most common reasons why dog bite-related personal injury lawsuits fail in Los Angeles and all across California. In their defense, dog owners may argue that the dog was provoked by the injured party before the attack occurred, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Dogs bite when they are provoked, frightened, sensing danger, beaten or in pain, or feel the need to protect their owner or territory. For example, you might provoke a dog by invading its space, teasing it, hitting or merely touching the dog owner, or stepping on the dog’s paw, among other things.
You were trespassing
“The owner of the dog that bit you may not be held liable for the attack if you were trespassing when the dog bite occurred,” says our Los Angeles dog attack attorney. This is especially true for those who were trespassing with the intent to commit a crime or illegal activity such as burglary. If you, on the other hand, were not aware that you were trespassing and entered the property with no harm intended, you may still be able to sue the dog owner for your injuries and damages. Consult with an attorney to learn about your options.
You assumed the risk of a dog bite
Under California’s “assumption of risk” legal doctrine, dog owners may not be held liable for dog attacks if the injured party assumes the risk of the dog bite. For example, dog groomers, handlers, and veterinary professionals will most likely not be able to sue the dog owner for the attack, as they are aware of the risks that come along with their job.
There are many other situations in which you may lose your legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner. Speak to our lawyers at the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg to find out more. Call 310-997-0904 or complete this contact form to get a free consultation.