Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph | Personal Injury Attorney in Orange, CA |

(714) 752-4573

ARE YOU SAFE FROM VICIOUS DOGS?

Paul W. Ralph
Paul W. Ralph

Attorney At Law

The short answer is “No”, no one is safe from vicious dogs, particularly if they live in Los Angeles.  According to a recent KNBC investigative news report, the City of Los Angeles is doing a pretty miserable job of keeping dangerous dogs off the streets.  Dogs who have killed other animals and savagely attacked people minding their own business are being returned to their owners and sometimes not being monitored at all.  In one instance cited in the KNBC report, a man in Studio City was viciously attacked by two pit bulls, suffering numerous bites requiring stitches and losing part of a testicle.  The City failed at monitoring one of the dogs after the attack, and it is living in an area where no one is aware of its dangerous propensities, at least not until the new story broke.

What To Do When Attacked by a Dog

When a dog attacks very often the victim will act instinctively run from the animal.  Unfortunately, this can be the wrong thing to do, unless the escape is certain.  According to KNBC news and the Centers for Disease Control, when attacked by a vicious dog the victim should do one or more of the following in order to protect themselves:

  • If a dog attacks, try to shove an object at it – purse, sweatshirt, backpack or even a shoe. Give it something to bite other than you.
  • If you fall, or get knocked to the ground, try to protect your face, chest and throat. Curl into a tight ball, and make your hands into fists to protect your fingers.
  • Try not to scream or roll around.
  • Keep calm and resist the impulse to run. Don’t be a moving target.
  • Try commands – “Sit” or “Stay.” If the dog ignores you, bring your head down and don’t make eye contact.

If none of the above recommendations work and you are injured in a dog attack, there are things you should keep in mind when it comes to being compensated for the injuries and damages you sustain.

Your Legal Rights After a Dog Bite

If you or a loved one is injured by a vicious dog, you should be aware of your legal rights.  Under California law, a dog owner is automatically (strictly) liable for injuries caused when their dog bites.  In such a situation, what needs to be proven is only that the party alleged to be responsible actually owned the dog and that the bite caused some bodily injury.  The nature and extent of dog bite injuries varies greatly, and it is always a good idea to do two things after an attack:  (1) Get immediate medical attention.  (2) Take detailed photographs of your injuries.  Medical expenses and lost wages are recoverable damages in a dog bite claim.

Even though California is a strict liability stae, it is not uncommon for a case to be complicated by insurance issues, future medical needs and comparative negligence arguments.  For example, homeowner’s insurance policies typically cover dog bite claims, but some breeds (pit bulls for example) can be specifically excluded under the policy.  In those cases, the personal assets of the dog owner would come into play.  As far as comparative negligence is concerned, dog owners do have the right to argue the victim put themself in harrm’s way by provoking the dog.  This is not a particularly successful argument in most cases.

Contact a Dog Bite Attorney for Help

If you or someone close to you has been injured because of a dog bite, contacting an experienced personal injury attorney is often the best first step toward obtaining compensation for the injuries and damages sustained.  Mr. Ralph has more than 30 years of experience successfully handling dog bite injury claims.  His office is centrally located in Orange County, allowing easy access for his clients.  A free consultation is as easy as calling the number above or submitting your claim information via email.Tags: dog bite attorney

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