Can You Sue for a Dog Bite in California?

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Dog owners in Southern California enjoy the companionship and affection their canine friends offer, and the bond between owner and pet is often strong. However, owning a dog has a certain liability, especially when it bites and causes serious injury. If you experienced a dog bite injury, you may have many questions. How much can you sue for a dog bite? How long do you have to present a case? Are there specific California laws regarding dog bite lawsuits? Our Riverside personal injury attorneys at The JLF Firm will review your case, provide you with important legal representation and answer all of your questions as we build your lawsuit.

How Do Dog Bites Happen?

Some dog bites happen when the animal is startled or fearful. Some dogs bite because of poor training and other actions by owners, including:

  • A lack of socialization as a puppy
  • Negative reinforcement during training
  • Encouraged aggression

California law states that dog owners are liable for a dog bite, even if the incident occurs on their property because the state does not operate under a “one-bite rule” that may prevent other victims from filing a dog bite lawsuit. Such rules state that the owner may not assume liability for a dog bite unless the dog is a known biter or has a tendency toward aggression.

What Are Some Common Dog Bite Injuries?

Serious dog bites and other injuries usually occur with larger dogs including Rottweilers, pit bulls and German shepherds. These dog breeds not only exert considerable pressure when they bite down, but some hang on and twist their heads, causing serious flesh tears and uncontrollable bleeding.

Larger breeds can also cause terrible crushing injuries to smaller bones, such as those in your hands and fingers.

Multiple bone fractures may take months to heal and require surgery to repair any damaged tendons.

How Much Can You Sue for a Dog Bite?

When you contact our attorneys with a dog bite case, you may have several immediate concerns, such as how do I file a lawsuit and how much can I sue for a dog bite? The average settlement for the state is approximately $79,000, although your settlement may vary depending on the extent of your injuries. Our attorneys will review your case, gauge its validity and then work to place its value based on a variety of factors.

The severity of the injuries

The value of your dog bite case depends greatly on the severity of your injuries. Even smaller dog breeds can deliver a damaging bite. While no two cases are alike, our attorneys will review medical records and the cost of future treatment.

Overall monetary loss

The cost of emergency care, surgery and lost work fall under compensatory damages, or those our attorneys can calculate. Letters and documentation from your employer can help us assign value to loss of wages. You can also sue for any future care you might need as a result of a dog bite, such as medical equipment and the cost of physical therapy.

Pain and suffering

Some types of loss are difficult to calculate, such as the physical and emotional pain you suffer as a result of a dog bite. This includes embarrassment over any noticeable scarring or developing extreme anxiety about the presence of dogs. Providing information about your symptoms and how they affect your relationship with others can help our attorneys place value on your case.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover a Dog Bite?

Homeowners and renters in California typically have access to dog bite coverage through their insurance provider.

While policies vary, some liability limits cover as much as $300,000 in injuries and other damages. If your injuries exceed the insurance cap, you can file a lawsuit with the dog’s owner to collect your unsatisfied losses.

The dog owner’s insurance company may try to contact you and offer a settlement to avoid a court case. Let our attorneys reply to these offers and handle other types of communication so you can focus on healing from your injuries.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a California Dog Bite?

Once a dog bite occurs in California, you have up to two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit. Visiting a doctor right away helps you discover your injuries sooner and provides proof that you sought help for your injuries as soon as possible.

What Are the Advantages of Hiring a California Dog Bite Attorney?

Trying to recover damages on your own for a California dog bite case provides you with a set of problems that requires the knowledge and know-how of our experienced attorneys. Bringing your case to us can solve these problems and provide you with peace of mind.

Knowledge of California law

Our attorneys have a deep understanding of California laws relating to dog bites. We can review your case and apply those laws to a variety of circumstances, such as:

  • Where the bite occurred
  • Whether the dog has a history of aggression
  • Whether the owner breached the duty of care concerning warnings about the dog

We review laws often to ensure our attorneys remain up to date with California statutes.

Complete representation in and out of the courtroom

Allowing our attorneys to handle your dog bite lawsuit provides you with representation for all facets of the case.

Insurance representatives, defense attorneys and even family members of the defendant may all try to contact you, and even what seems like a harmless post on social media can backfire. Our attorneys will protect your privacy and safeguard your best interests once we take your case.

Gathering witness statements

If a dog attack in California leaves you with limited mobility or extreme anxiety, contacting witnesses is usually difficult. Entrusting these tasks to a dog bite attorney from our office prevents you from reliving the experience and stress of finding and speaking to those who saw the incident occur.

Contact Our California Dog Bite Attorneys

How much can you sue for a dog bite? These questions and many others will likely come to mind after you experience dog-related injuries in California. Contact The JLF Firm today to speak with our attorneys.

Get in touch with us today to get started with your FREE case review. We’re only a call, click, or short drive away.