There are benefits to having a good watchdog in your home. Not every dog is a watchdog, though, nor is every dog well-trained. There are some dogs in California who become violent when they’re around other people. While you may want to believe that every dog is a good dog, these animals can do serious harm to you and your loved ones.
If you do get bitten by a dog, California law allows you to take legal action against that dog’s owner. You can file a claim with your county’s civil court to pursue compensation for your losses. So long as a county clerk approves your claim, you can then request compensation via negotiations or a traditional trial.
Assigning Liability in a Dog Bite Accident
Some states allow dog owners to embrace flexible liability after a dog bite accident. California is not one of those states. Even dog owners who didn’t know that their dog has a history of violence can be held liable for their losses after a dog bite accident. Similarly, dogs are not given “one bite” leniency. If you are bitten by a dog, you can take that dog’s owner to court immediately.
However, there is one exception to this rule. Dog bite liability, as established by Section 3342 of California’s civil code, notes that you may only sue for compensation upon being bitten. You may not pursue legal action if you are knocked over or scratched by another person’s dog.
Negotiating for an Injury Settlement in California
To take legal action against a dog and its owner after an accident, you need to file a civil complaint. After you file a dog bite complaint, you need to wait until a county clerk moves it forward before you can take legal action. If a court approves your request to pursue a personal injury case, you can then summon the dog’s owner to settlement negotiations.
It’s in your best interest to enter into settlement negotiations with a pre-determined estimate of your possible compensation. When you can back a request for compensation with evidence, you can better combat the defendant’s attempt to deny responsibility for your accident.
That said, negotiations don’t see you trying to prove liability to another person or attorney. Instead, negotiations allow you to present your case to the allegedly-liable party. While you may have to compromise when requesting dog bite compensation, these negotiations can often conclude much faster than a traditional trial.
Taking Dog Bite Losses to Court
If negotiations don’t work out, or you’d prefer to skip them entirely, you can take a dog bite case to court. Here, you’ll need to use evidence gathered at the scene of your accident to indicate that:
- You should have benefited from a duty of care
- The dog’s owner violated that duty of care prior to your injury
- A dog’s behavior was the primary cause of your injuries
- You suffered economic and/or non-economic losses due to your injuries
A dog bite case begins with discovery, during which you and the allegedly-liable party can exchange information regarding your losses. From there, your representative can prepare an opening statement.
We can stand with you through dog bite witness examination and cross-examination, coaching you through answers should you have to take the stand. That said, we can also keep the door open for mid-case negotiations should you wish to settle outside of court.
Discuss Possible Dog Bite Compensation With a California Personal Injury Attorney
California law gives you the right to pursue compensation for a dog bite injury under the umbrella of personal injury. The dog bite injury attorneys with Setareh Law can help you draft your initial complaint before representing your best interests in negotiations or before a judge.
Our English and Spanish-speaking personal injury attorneys in California are ready to give you the legal support you need. To schedule your first case consultation, you can fill out a contact form or call us at (310) 659-1826.