Legal Aspects of Dog Bite Incidents in California: Claims & Settlements

claim for dog bite in california

Dog attacks range from negligible scratches to major mishaps like deep bites, which are scary and painful. If you experienced a dog bite incident that injured you, you need immediate medical attention. If severe, you may require hospitalization, surgery, and extensive rehabilitation. However, it isn’t just medical attention you need to consider, but also legal action.

While there is not much to do about a stray dog attack, if a pet dog bites you, it can be a legal matter. Firstly, you must determine how much monetary compensation you can seek from the dog owner. It will depend on the severity of your injuries and the damages sustained because of them.

Common Dog Bite Injuries Eligible For Making Claims

When someone gets bitten by a dog, the seriousness of the injuries matters a lot for any legal claim. The most usual injuries from dog bites include:

  • Deep cuts resulting in severe blood loss
  • Lethal Bacterial infections
  • Scarring and Disfigurement
  • Losing a body part
  • Damage of Nerves
  • Head injuries if the person falls down

Remember, many of these injuries need quick medical help and ongoing care. Serious injuries like losing a body part can cause permanent problems.

Besides the physical pain, dog bite victims can also feel things like:

  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Feeling Scared of dogs
  • Anxiety

What Can Dog Attack Victims Get Compensation For?

When someone gets hurt in a dog attack, they can ask for money to cover more than just their medical bills. The damages they can claim include:

  1. Medical bills, like emergency care, surgeries, hospital stays, psychological help, and more.
  2. Money lost from not being able to work.
  3. Pain and suffering, which covers both the physical pain and the emotional distress from the injury and scars.
  4. Long-lasting injuries and disabilities.
  5. Scars and disfigurement.
  6. Loss of companionship.
  7. If the injury is so bad that they can’t work anymore, they can get money for the future income they’ll lose.

The amount they can get depends on how bad the injuries are. Small cuts might not get much, but if the injuries are serious, the compensation can be a lot higher.

What is the Average Value of a Dog Bite Settlement in California?

The average settlement in a dog bite case ranges from $30,000 to $50,000. Minor injuries mean low settlement, and insurance companies always try to lower the claim’s value to a minimum or even blame you to avoid paying at all.

Your best option is to avoid rushing into a settlement with them and instead consult a professional personal injury lawyer about your case. The insurers will attempt to get you into signing an agreement to omit any chances of receiving additional compensation for other expenses you may incur because of the same injuries.

For instance, an infection that resulted from the bites may require surgery, but since you signed the agreement, you cannot seek extra compensation to cover that cost. Hence, seeking expert advice and guidance is crucial to increase the value of your claim.

There are a few factors that might influence the value of your settlement. Here are some examples of how much your settlement’s value may be worth.

Visible Injuries: If the dog attack caused you injuries like puncture wounds, deep scars, or bite marks, they will be visible. In that case, you can recover considerable compensation.

Disabilities: Dog bite injuries can be serious and leave you with long-term or even permanent disabilities. Severe injuries can go as far as the loss of limbs, which could result in permanent disability. Anybody with such a catastrophic injury can expect a higher settlement value.

Long-Term Consequences: Another instance you can get a higher settlement value is when a dog bite injury has left you with long-term effects, such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which will require additional psychological treatment.

Strict Liability Statute: California’s strict liability statute can also influence the value of your settlement. The state’s law holds the dog owner financially responsible for their pet’s actions, irrespective of whether they know of their dog’s aggressive behavior.

Likewise, they are also responsible for whether the attack occurs on private or public property. The strict liability statute leaves the dog owner with no reasonable defense if evidence suggests the dog attacked unprovoked.

What Role Does the Insurance Play in a Dog Bite Case?

A dog owner may have various insurances that give liability coverage for a dog attack. Animal liability coverage safeguards dog owners if their pet is behind the injuries or damages of another. This insurance also protects dog owners if the victim sues them.

The renter’s or homeowner’s insurance is another insurance type covering dog bites. Some insurers charge higher premiums to insure dangerous dog breeds like Rottweilers and pit bulls. However, insurance coverage still allows victims to secure the deserved compensation.

Dog Bite Laws are different in Each State

Every state has its own rules for dog bite cases. Some states have specific laws, while others rely on court decisions. What rights and help you can get if you’re bitten by a dog depend on where it happened.

In many states, the dog’s owner is responsible, even if they didn’t do anything wrong. This is called ‘strict liability.’ States like:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Tennessee
  • Utah

But in some states, you need to prove that the owner was careless or knew the dog could be dangerous.

  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Texas


With Seydi Morales, our dedicated personal injury attorney, you’re in capable hands when it comes to dog bite claims. From the very first consultation to the resolution of your case, our team is committed to treating your claim as our top priority. We’re here to advocate for your rights while you focus on your recovery.

Seydi Morales believes that injury victims should never have to worry about the cost of quality legal representation. To speak with an experienced dog bite lawyer or to learn more about filing a claim, contact Seydi Morales at (888) 123-4567 for your free case evaluation.

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