Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney

A dog bite or pet animal attack can leave lasting scars that are both visible and invisible. In California, the law holds dog owners accountable for the actions of their pets. If you sustained a dog bite injury in California, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and even emotional distress.

The Shamsi Law Firm, APC can help. From the moment you reach out to Sean Shamsi, his focus is on you. With tens of millions in settlements and verdicts recovered for clients, Sean knows what it takes to provide compassionate and effective legal support. Your well-being is his priority, and he’s with you every step of the way.

Don’t hesitate to contact The Shamsi Law Firm, APC for a free case evaluation with a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer.

What Is California’s Dog Bite Law?

California’s dog bite law dictates that any dog owner is strictly liable for the losses suffered by a person who gets bitten by their dog. This applies whether the bite occurs in a public setting or while the victim is lawfully present on private property, including the owner’s property. Importantly, this liability stands regardless of the owner’s prior knowledge about the dog’s tendency for vicious behavior or any prior incidents involving the dog.

California’s “strict liability” framework starkly contrasts the “one-bite” rule that applies in many other states. In states with “one-bite” laws, dog owners are usually exempt from liability the first time their dogs bite someone if they have no prior knowledge of their dog’s viciousness. But in California, the strict liability rule imposes liability on dog owners almost unequivocally, eliminating the need for victims to prove an owner’s prior knowledge of a dog’s violent tendencies to get the money they need for their treatment and losses.

Is the Dog Owner Responsible for Injuries from a Dog Attack in California?

In California, the prevailing legal principle is that dog owners are responsible for injuries resulting from bites inflicted by their pets. Under this strict liability rule, dog owners are accountable for any damage their pets cause, irrespective of the their history or the owner’s awareness of vicious behavior.

There are a few key exemptions to California’s strict liability rule:

  • Governmental agencies working with dogs for military or police duties are typically exempt from liability if the bite occurred under specified conditions.
  • A dog’s owner could also avoid liability if their dog bit someone because it was reacting defensively to harassment or provocation.

There’s also the “veterinarian’s rule.” Taken from the Supreme Court of California case of Priebe v. Nelson, this rule exempts dog owners from liability if they contract with veterinarians who get bitten while treating their dogs. This exemption stems from the doctrine of “primary assumption of risk.” This doctrine presupposes that veterinarians are aware of and consent to the inherent occupational risks of their jobs, including the potential for dog bites.

What If the Person Bitten Is Partly Responsible?

California’s dog bite legislation is geared toward establishing the liability of dog owners rather than examining the victims’ conduct. Nonetheless, dog bite victims can sometimes be partially responsible, especially if they provoke the dog. For example, the law specifically mentions that victims generally cannot sue if bitten by a dog defending itself from “annoying, harassing, or provoking” behavior.

California dog bite claims involving at-fault victims are also subject to the state’s “pure comparative negligence” rule. This legal doctrine says that if a victim is partially responsible for their injuries, their compensation should be reduced proportionally. So, if a court finds you 20 percent at fault for a dog bite injury, the total amount of compensation available to you would also decrease by 20 percent.

The best way to minimize your liability and maximize your payout as a pet animal attack victim in California is to work with a knowledgeable Los Angeles dog bite injury lawyer.

What Are Common Injuries in Dog Bite Cases?

Dog bite injuries can range from minor scratches to life-altering conditions. Here are some common examples:

  • Puncture Wounds – Small holes caused by the dog’s teeth could develop infections
  • Lacerations and Abrasions – Cuts and scrapes may vary in severity depending on the bite force
  • Fractured Bones – Bones could become cracked or broken due to the force of the bite
  • Infections – These can include rabies and tetanus and can develop if the wound is not properly treated
  • Psychological Trauma – Emotional stress from the incident could require long-term treatment
  • Nerve Damage – Severed nerves may lead to temporary or permanent paralysis
  • Scarring – Scars could affect mobility and self-esteem
  • Blood Loss – Significant blood loss can lead to additional complications

What Damages Could Be Available in a Dog Bite Claim?

A dog bite injury can be a life-altering event that results in numerous personal and financial losses. With a successful dog bite claim, you could recover damages (money) for the following types of losses:

  • Medical expenses, immediate and long-term
  • Future healthcare costs
  • Travel costs for medical care
  • Income you lose while recovering
  • Potential loss in future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Property repairs or replacement costs

What to Do If You Are Attacked by a Dog

Being bitten by a dog is a distressing experience. But you can take control of your situation and lay a solid foundation for your legal case by taking the following steps:

  • Visit the doctor right away for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
  • Identify the offending dog and its owner.
  • Collect contact details from any people who saw the incident.
  • Photograph or video record your injuries as soon as possible.
  • Take pictures of the area where the bite occurred.
  • Report the bite to the nearest animal control office.
  • Talk to the police and request a copy of the police report if applicable.
  • Determine whether the dog is up-to-date on vaccinations.
  • Ask for the dog owner’s insurance information.
  • Record your symptoms and limitations during your recovery.
  • Keep copies of all healthcare-related papers and receipts.
  • Record instances of any hours or days of missed work while you heal.
  • Consult a trusted lawyer with experience handling California dog bite cases.

How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Claim in California?

You have a two-year period, starting from the date the dog bite took place, to file most dog bite injury lawsuits in California. Missing this important deadline could mean losing your ability to secure any compensation for your injuries. While the two-year window is generally a strict deadline, rare exceptions do exist. Situations like late-discovered injuries could potentially provide you with additional time to file.

A skilled Los Angeles dog bite attorney can be highly beneficial in situations like this. They can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the relevant time limits and file a timely dog bite injury claim. A lawyer can guide you through each stage of the process and ensure that you don’t miss essential deadlines, thus maximizing your chance for compensation.

How Long Can It Take to Settle a Dog Bite Case?

The timeline for settling a dog bite lawsuit can fluctuate significantly depending on various factors. These include the severity of your injuries, the distribution of liability, and even the court’s current workload. Some cases might resolve in a matter of months, while more complex ones could stretch out for years.

While settling your case quickly and moving on with your life might seem appealing, a hasty settlement is often not advisable. The true cost of your injuries might not become clear until well after the incident, and a rushed settlement can leave you with insufficient funds for future medical care or other needs. It’s important to work with a qualified dog bite attorney who can help you weigh the pros and cons of settling quickly versus holding out for more money.

How a Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney Can Help You

If a dog has bitten you, you may be overwhelmed with medical treatments, bills, and emotional distress. But you don’t have to take the next steps alone. When you hire Sean Shamsi, he can help you with your legal case by:

  • Evaluating the merits of your case during a free, no-obligation consultation
  • Investigating the dog bite incident to identify evidence and liable parties
  • Identifying the coverage limits of any insurance policies that apply to your situation
  • Assessing the extent of your injuries and losses to determine the value of your case
  • Negotiating with the dog’s owner or their insurance company on your behalf
  • Advising you on whether to accept a settlement or go to trial
  • Representing you in court if a full and fair settlement cannot be reached
  • Developing a legal strategy tailored to your specific circumstances
  • Filing all necessary paperwork and legal documents on your behalf
  • Arranging expert medical evaluations to strengthen your case
  • Cross-examining witnesses and presenting your case persuasively in court
  • Keeping you informed and updated about the progress of your case

​​Best of all, you pay nothing to get started. The Shamsi Law Firm, APC only gets paid if Sean wins you compensation in a settlement or award. Any fees come from a portion of your settlement, meaning you pay nothing out of pocket.

Sean's Awards and Recognition

Contact a Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyer

Sean Shamsi understands the physical and emotional strain a dog bite can cause. He knows the ins and outs of the L.A. legal system and isn’t afraid to aggressively negotiate for the money you deserve. More importantly, Sean is dedicated to giving a voice to serious accident victims who need healing and demand justice.

Learn how a dog bite attorney in Los Angeles can make a difference in your case. Reach out to The Shamsi Law Firm, APC now for your free initial consultation.