Personal Injury Lawyers Fighting on Behalf of Victims of Dog Bites and Attacks in Woodland Hills and the San Fernando Valley
Dog bites can cause severe physical and emotional trauma for unsuspecting victims. While children and seniors can be particularly at risk for suffering serious injuries in a vicious dog attack, all dog bite victims deserve to be fairly compensated for their injury-related losses. We bring decades of experience to helping attack victims in Southern California win just compensation.
With nearly half of all families in the United States owning a dog, it is easy to forget that all pet dogs were originally bred from wild animals. While centuries of domestication have turned virtually all breeds of dogs into animals that we trust to live in our homes and treat our families with love and affection, the reality is that many dogs retain aggressive tendencies. In addition, when faced with a perceived threat, even a well-trained dog’s natural “fight or flight” response will often trigger an unprovoked attack.
When dogs attack, the consequences can be devastating. Most people who have never been bitten think of dog bites as “minor” incidents. However, individuals who are attacked by dogs often suffer serious – and in many cases, life-changing – injuries. Dogs’ jaw muscles and canine teeth can break bones, cause deep soft tissue injuries, severely damage eyes and ears, and cause other injuries that require surgery, leave scars, and lead to long-term pain and suffering.
Decades of Experience Guide Our Systematic Approach to Dog Bite Cases
At Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation, we have been fighting for dog bite victims in Southern California for more than 30 years. Barry P. Goldberg and his team work closely with animal behavioral specialists, The Department of Animal Services, and highly qualified plastic surgeons in order to maximize bite victims’ financial recoveries while minimizing the permanent effects of their injuries. When you choose our firm to represent you, we will take immediate steps to investigate the attack – including steps to identify the dog’s owner. If appropriate, we will assist in reporting the attack to the appropriate authorities. When necessary, we can even go to court to seek quarantine and isolation of the dog pending investigation, and we can call upon trusted animal experts to examine the dog for purposes of establishing liability.
Like other types of personal injury cases, the vast majority of dog bite cases settle out of court. One of the primary reasons why we emphasize a thorough up-front investigation is to put our client in the best position to secure a favorable settlement as quickly as possible. However, while we are engaged in settlement negotiations, we also begin our preparations for trial. We expect maximum compensation for our clients’ injury-related losses; if a fair settlement is not on the table, we put the gloves on to fight for our clients in court.
“Thank you so much for everything you did for me . . . all the hard work, support [and] all your efforts. You were there for me during a difficult time in my life. It means more than you will ever know.”
What Bite Victims Should Do After a Dog Attack
That’s what we do to protect your rights. So, what should you be doing to help your chances of securing a maximum recovery? If you, your child, your spouse, or an aging loved one has been bitten by a dog, here are some steps you can begin taking right away:
- Seek medical attention. Make sure you or your family member sees a doctor as soon as possible. Tell the doctor what happened, and follow his or her recommendations regarding treatment and recovery.
- Take photos. If you are physically able to do so, take photos of the scene where the accident occurred. Take photos of your injuries and the damage to your clothes. It is also critical to obtain professional photography of the injuries inflicted by the dog at every stage of recovery. A professionally repaired wound will not reflect the incredible devastation of a dog bite injury at its earlier stages, so we emphasize documenting our clients’ injuries as much as possible.
- Keep detailed records. After a dog attack, it is important to write down everything you remember. What were you doing when you were attacked? Where did the dog come from? You should also keep copies of your receipts and medical records, and start a daily journal in which you record all of the ways your injuries impact your life.
- Seek experienced legal representation. Finally, after a dog attack, there is simply no substitute for obtaining qualified legal representation. An experienced attorney will be able to provide detailed advice that is personalized to your situation while undertaking aggressive measures to recover compensation. Dog bite cases can be surprisingly complicated – to protect yourself against the insurance companies, you need a skilled and trial-tested legal team on your side.
Southern California Dog Bite FAQs
Is insurance coverage available for medical expenses and other losses resulting from dog bites?
In many cases, yes. Standard homeowners’ insurance policies cover dog attacks; so, if you were bitten by a dog, your case will likely involve a claim against the owner’s home insurance. However, many insurance companies have begun excluding certain biting breeds from coverage, such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and pit bulls. Mr. Goldberg and his team are familiar with these insurers’ attempts to limit coverage and know how to fight against them.
The insurance company is claiming I provoked the dog that bit me. How does that affect my case?
Under California’s strict liability rule for dog bites, one of the few defenses that dog owners (and their insurance companies) have available is to claim that the victim provoked the attack. If you have already been contacted by the dog owner’s insurance company and an adjuster is accusing you of provocation, we can seek to use the dog’s history, animal behavior expert testimony, and other evidence to prove your claim for compensation. At this point, you should not have any further contact with the insurance company until you speak with an attorney.
What if I do not know who owns the dog?
This is not an unusual scenario. If you do not know who owns the dog, we will seek to identify the owner during the course of our investigation. If ownership cannot be established, we may instead be able to show that someone who was supposed to be in control of the dog was negligent in allowing the attack to occur.
Many attacks occur when the victim is attempting to separate two fighting dogs. If you were bitten and you are not sure which dog bit you, we can seek an expert opinion that your bite marks match the dental configuration of one particular dog or breed.
Does California have a “one bite rule?”
No. California’s dog bite statute eliminates the “one free bite” rule in favor of strict liability. This means that, in order to recover compensation, it is enough to show that you were bitten while lawfully present at the location of the attack (i.e., you were not trespassing) and that the bite caused your injuries.
What else do I need to know in order to protect my rights after a dog attack?
Due to the complexities involved in dog bite cases, it simply is not possible to explain everything you need to know online. As a result, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation in which we will answer your questions and help you understand key information about protecting your rights. For additional information, we also encourage you to read:
- 5 Mistakes to Avoid if You Have Been Bitten By a Dog
- Dog Bite Cases: Don’t Make These Mistakes
- Dog Bite Victims – Know Your Rights
- What Does California Law Say About Dog Bites?
Why Choose Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation for Your Southern California Dog Bite Claim?
When you or a family member needs help recovering from a dog bite, you need to make smart decisions. This includes putting a trustworthy and experienced personal injury law team on your side. At Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation, not only do we offer more than three decades of legal experience focused specifically on personal injury representation, but our dog bite lawyers also work with trusted medical, veterinary, and animal behavior experts who all bring years of dog bite experience to the table. When you choose our firm to represent you, you can expect:
- Personalized and detail-oriented representation focused on securing the largest possible settlement or court verdict.
- A team approach that offers the full benefit of Mr. Goldberg’s and our trusted experts’ decades of experience in dog bite cases.
- Contingency-fee representation so you only pay if we win.
To get started with your claim, schedule your free initial consultation with Mr. Goldberg. You can call us 24/7 at (818) 222-6994 or tell us about the attack online. We are here to help, and we are committed to making sure that you win the compensation you deserve. Contact us now so that we can maximize your financial recovery.