Dog Bites/Attacks

Dogs can be fantastic pets and most of them are loving and loyal companions. However, because of various reasons such as overly-aggressive handling/training, apprehension, illness/disease, or unexpected reactions, some dogs injure people by biting or attacking them.

Dog bites can cause serious physical and emotional scars. Although a few breeds are responsible for the majority of dog bite injuries, any dog can bite and cause significant harm. Victims of dog bites often have to treat with physical therapists and plastic surgeons. Because these attacks are often vicious, serious emotional damage is common. Victims can suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and/or develop unhealthy fears and phobias of animals, which require them to seek psychiatric treatment. No dog bite is minor: they all require medical attention and even small bites from small dogs can lead to serious injuries.

Dog bites can happen wherever people go: homes, sidewalks, parks, businesses, etc.  A recurring scenario is a person walking a small dog on a leash when a larger dog, leashed or not, attacks the small dog. Since dog owners are so loyal to their dogs, the small dog's owner will often do whatever it takes to protect his or her pet. This can result in serious injuries to the small dog's owner from the larger, attacking dog. Los Angeles has very strict leash laws, but unfortunately, many irresponsible dog owners either ignore the laws or have dogs that are so large that they can not be controlled even when leashed.

Not all injuries in dog attacks are bites. Another common cause of injury occurs when dogs jump on people or knock people over when trying to attack another dog. Broken hips, arms, and wrists are common injuries in dog attack cases. In these cases, different laws apply, but the dog owner is still typically responsible for the injuries.

In many circumstances, the dog owner is responsible for the actions of his/her dog. Regardless of whether the attack happens in a private home, on the street, in a dog park, or anywhere else, the owner of the dog will likely be held responsible. However, this is not always the case. Determining liability in a dog bite case requires careful legal analysis. In many instances, in order to avoid responsibility, dog owners will deny they own the attacking dog. In these situations, you need an attorney to carefully investigate ownership of the dog and identify all possible defendants.

If you are attacked or bitten by a dog, seek medical attention immediately. Once you have, it is critical to determine who owned the dog that attacked/bit you. Ownership of the dog must be established as soon as possible. Taking pictures of the attacking dog and obtaining witnesses' information will also be very helpful.

All dog bites should be reported to your local Animal Control, who will investigate the attack and determine if the dog is a danger to the community. They will also work with your medical providers to determine if the dog has rabies. The Law Office of Eduardo A, Brito recommends that you cooperate fully with Animal Control. Conversely, if you are contacted by the dog owner's insurance company, and they want to take a recorded statement of what happened, do not give the statement. Although the insurance adjustor will try to be friendly and sound like he or she wants to help, ultimately, he or she is there to protect the insurance company. Before speaking to the insurance company, we highly recommend you hire a lawyer.

The Law Office of Eduardo A. Brito will help you obtain medical treatment, determine ownership of the dog and the facts of the attack, discover insurance information, investigate the history of the dog, and ultimately make the dog owner or his/her insurance company pay in full for the damages you suffered.