Last Updated on July 9, 2021
According to a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur nationwide each year. Of these incidents, California ranks highest in the nation for fatal attacks.
Unfortunately, some of the worst injury cases we’ve seen at Negretti & Associates have been the result of vicious attacks by dogs. The most common injuries are permanent nerve damage and scarring as bites often puncture deep into skin and muscle.
Damage claims are common after a dog bite incidents. In fact, insurance carriers pay over $1 billion every year in animal bite claims annually, and over a third of all funds paid out through homeowners’ liability claims arise from dog bite claims.
Regardless, it is nearly impossible for the average person to recover the proper compensation for these serious long-term effects of dog bites on his or her own.
California Dog Owners Are Liable for Dog Bites
California dog bite laws are clear on assigning liability for dog bites. Section 3342 of California Civil Code creates strict liability for dog owners when their dogs bite someone in public or on private property. This means that the dog owner cannot avoid liability for injuries his or her dog has caused to someone by simply claiming that they took reasonable care to restrain the dog.
Contrary to popular belief, a dog’s history of viciousness has no bearing on the owner’s liability. Owners are liable even for first-time attacks.
However, a dog bite victim cannot have provoked the dog or have been trespassing on dog-owner’s property during the attack. If this occurs, the dog owner may no longer be liable. Yet, dog owners are still required to display ample warnings around their property to warn potential trespassers of an aggressive canine. If they fail to warn, they could still be held liable for any harm caused to an intruder who is subsequently attacked.
No Bite Is Too Small
Bites of all sizes can be grounds to pursue a dog bite accident claim. There is no need for you to suffer physically, mentally, or financially after your dog bite.
Attacked While Running in Your Neighborhood
Dog attacks on runners are all too common in California. The permissive weather often lures runners into neighborhood streets year-round. If you are bitten by a dog while out running, the dog’s owner likely has a duty to cover the costs of your injuries in addition to other costs.
Dog Walker’s Liability
There have been many instances where a dog walker or handler will simply lose control of a dog while out in public, leading to someone being bitten. Unless that dog walker or handler does something provoke the dog to bite someone, they are not liable. Rather, the owner of the attacking dog is liable for any injuries caused to a person, even if the dog was under another’s control.
A Family or Friend’s Dog
Many dog bites come from the dogs of our friends and family members. This puts victims in an uncomfortable situation. On one hand, you have suffered an injury and deserve compensation. On the other, you don’t want to compromise your relationship with loved ones.
You shouldn’t worry! Dog bite victims need only file a claim against their insurance company, namely homeowners or renters insurance. If they have coverage, your rightful recovery will come from directly their insurance company and not from their pockets.
You may also be concerned that the pet will be put down if you report the incident or pursue your claim. If this was an isolated occurrence, be rest assured that the dog will probably not be put down.
You Have Two Years
A claim for a dog bite injury would be considered a personal injury lawsuit. California’s statute of limitations on personal injury cases gives you two years following the date of the attack to file a lawsuit and, in turn, protect your claim. If you were to file your case after the two-year deadline has passed, you will most likely lose your right to recovery.
How A Dog Bite Attorney Can Help You
The outcome of your dog bite can hinge on whether or not you have an experienced dig bite lawyer on your side.
The experienced dog bite lawyers at Negretti & Associates know California dog bite laws and are ready to fight for you. We’ll vigilantly defend your rights and pursue any rightful claims for damages, medical expenses, and compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured.
We also understand the importance of securing compensation for future medical treatment, which is necessary for scar revisions common to dog bite cases. We will also help you collect compensation for time you have to take off from work to deal with your injuries.