Get a Settlement After a Dog Bite
Dogs are said to be “man’s best friend.” Dogs can be our pets and companions. Service dogs help people with disabilities and police dogs aid law enforcement officials in doing their jobs. But even well-trained and pet dogs can bite or attack unexpectedly, causing serious injuries or deaths – especially in children and the elderly.
Dogs tend to be more unpredictable and aggressive when they are on leashes and when they are on their own property. To help protect citizens, California Dangerous Dog law has special provisions regarding the keeping of vicious or dangerous dogs that are much stricter than other dog laws.
Each year dogs maul, bite and permanently disfigure people in unprovoked attacks. Our California dog bite attorneys can help you recover for your medical expenses and future medical expenses for treatment, corrective plastic surgery, and rehabilitative therapies including mental health services to help you deal with the trauma of being attacked. In some cases we may also be able to sue for damages for pain and suffering or emotional distress.
If someone you love was killed by a dog, our dog bite lawyers understand no amount of money can truly compensate you for your loss, but we encourage you not to let the owner of a vicious dog go unpunished. We can help you get justice and fair compensation to help you deal with your tragic loss.
California Dangerous Dog and Dog Owner Liability Laws
California law allows dog attack victims to hold dog owners responsible for unprovoked attacks – even if the dog had never bitten before or never showed any signs of aggression in the past. Although some states do have a “one bite rule,” where a dog owner is not generally held accountable for the first time a dog bites, California is a strict liability statute state. This means that the owner of any dog that bites the first time is liable for damages. There are, however, different laws that apply to service dogs and military and police dogs. [Laws Regarding Attacks by Police Dogs]
Most attacks are made by dogs owned by family members or friends. You may worry about taking legal action against someone close to you. But in California, there is no question: the owner of a dog that attacks someone without provocation is always liable. And, in most cases, dog owners will have insurance that will pay on the claim.
Treatment for dog bites, especially severe dog bites, can be costly, and may require corrective surgery, and are often permanently disfiguring. Do not settle with an insurance company without talking to an attorney first – an insurance company is not on your side and will attempt to pay you less than you may be entitled to under the law. You need an experienced attorney to help you understand your rights, the value of your case, and to estimate future costs you may need to cover for treatment.
California Civil Code section 3342 provides as follows:
3342. (a) The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.