Californians love dogs. In fact, California has more dogs than any other state. It’s no surprise then to learn that insurance companies pay out more in dog bite insurance claims in California than in any other state.

If a dog bite injured you or someone you love in California, it’s time to call the California personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw to schedule a consultation. We can help you get monetary compensation for your dog bite through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Call us today, and let us review your case to see whether you’re eligible. Don’t let a dog bite ruin your future plans. Call OnderLaw today.

How Dog Bites Occur

Dog bites can happen anywhere and anytime, and any dog, regardless of breed, size, or behavior, will bite if provoked. Dogs bite for many reasons. They bite when they feel scared or threatened, to protect someone or something, when they’re ill, nervous, startled, or in pain. Dogs even bite during play.

Dog bites are a serious public health concern. The CDC estimates there are around 4.5 million dog bites every year in the United States, with over 800,000 of those requiring medical attention and another 300,000 requiring hospitalization. Contrary to popular belief, most dog bites occur in or around the home, and the family dog is usually the culprit. Seventy-seven percent of dogs that bite are owned by the victim’s family, a family friend, or a relative.

Dog bites can be dangerous because the majority of dog bite victims are children. Children make up more than half of dog bites requiring hospitalization and are far more likely to suffer severe injury than adults. Dog bites are so common among small children that they represent a more significant threat than measles, whooping cough, and mumps combined. Dog bites represent the second leading cause of emergency room visits for children in the country.

Children ages five to nine are most likely to be bitten, and they usually suffer injuries to the face, head, and neck. The reason for this is that children ages five to nine are similar in size to most dogs. They are more likely to be seen by a dog as competition for food or affection, and their small size means their head will be closer to a dog’s head and mouth during a bite. Children are also less likely to recognize a dog’s body language signaling a bite is imminent.

Although dog bites are prevalent, fatalities due to dog bites are exceedingly rare.

Common Injuries Suffered in Dog Attacks

The type and severity of injuries from dog bites usually depend on the age and relative size of the victim and the comparative size of the dog. The younger the victim and the larger the dog, the more severe the injury.

Some injuries common to dog attacks include the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Puncture wounds
  • Lacerations
  • Sprains/Strains
  • Avulsion
  • Crushing injuries
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Face and eye injuries
  • Infections
  • Internal injuries
  • Amputation
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Dog Laws and Regulations in California

California has a strict liability law concerning an owner’s responsibility toward anyone harmed by their dog. A dog’s owner is responsible for any harm caused by their dog, regardless of whether they had previous knowledge of vicious behavior or whether the dog had harmed anyone before. If the bite occurred on public property or while the victim was legally on private property, the owner is responsible, regardless of the circumstances. A dog bite victim does not need to prove negligence on the owner’s part, though it should be noted that the law specifically singles out dog bites and excludes other dog attacks.

Here are some laws and regulations governing dogs and their owners in California:

  • If a dog owner knows their pet has bitten a person, they must provide their contact information to the victim as well as the dog’s vaccination status.
  • It is illegal to own a trained attack dog in California or to train a dog to attack or kill.
  • You must secure your dog in your vehicle in a safe manner in California. Transporting a dog in a truck bed or in a cruel way is illegal.
  • If you know of your dog’s previous vicious behavior, allow it to run at large, and your dog kills another person, you may be charged with a felony.
  • It is a misdemeanor to abandon an animal in California willfully.

Compensation for Dog Bites

We can help you get compensation for your dog bite injury through a personal injury claim with the responsible party’s insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit in California civil court. Civil cases are different from criminal cases in that we are not attempting to convict anyone of a criminal act but are trying to obtain monetary compensation for any losses you’ve sustained as a result of the dog bite.

The majority of dog bite claims are handled with a settlement before the case goes to court. A settlement is a cash payment intended to compensate you for your material and immaterial losses in return for you dropping any legal claim you have against the responsible party. In most cases, the settlement will be paid by the responsible party’s insurance company.

It’s important to note that we don’t go after the dog owner’s finances when seeking compensation. Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover dog bites, so compensation will almost always come from the insurer, not the dog’s owner directly. If a dog owned by a relative or friend bites you, you don’t have to worry about inflicting financial strain or causing tension in your relationship because of the bite.

You can receive compensation for any number of losses or damages attributed to the dog bite. Some of these losses apply to the financial cost of treating and living with the injury, and some apply to the experience of the injury and the effects on your well-being.

Losses with a definable monetary value are called economic damages. Some examples include:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Household expenses
  • Lost opportunity

Losses without a definite monetary value are called noneconomic damages. These are subjective and vary widely. Some categories include the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium
  • Reputational damage

If you’re able to prove the dog’s owner acted with malice, oppression, or fraud, a judge or jury may also award exemplary damages. Unlike economic or noneconomic damages, these are not intended to compensate you but to punish the person or entity responsible for the dog bite and deter them from ever acting in the same way again. Exemplary damages must be proved by a “preponderance of the evidence,” so ask your attorney if they’re appropriate for your dog bite case.

Statute of Limitations on Dog Bite Claims

California has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits. This means that if you attempt to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for your dog bite more than two years after the date of the injury, a judge may decline to hear the case.

Why Choose OnderLaw for My Dog Bite Claim?

You have many choices of personal injury law firms in California, but you’ll be glad you chose OnderLaw for several reasons.

We have the experience. We’ve been helping dog bite victims get the fair and just compensation they deserve for nearly two decades. We’ve seen claims of all shapes and sizes, from multi-million dollar defective product lawsuits against corporate giants like Johnson and Johnson to minor whiplash car accident claims. We know how to make personal injury law work for our clients in California because we’ve done it many times before.

We have the right team. Our team of dedicated legal professionals is second to none. Our staff has a wide range of experience and varied backgrounds, including a former Missouri State Senator. This gives us an edge over our competitors and allows us to craft more creative strategies for our clients.

We help more than our clients. We believe in providing support to organizations and causes that help those less fortunate than we are, such as MADD, the Lupus Foundation of America, and Toys for Tots.

We work on contingency. There are no upfront costs to our clients at OnderLaw . We take payment for our services out of any award or settlement we obtain for you. You pay nothing until we resolve your claim, and if we aren’t successful in getting you some form of compensation, we don’t get paid.

We have a proven record of success. We certainly won’t guarantee a positive outcome for every case we take, but our record speaks for itself. We’ve obtained over $4 billion in compensation for our clients since 2002.

If you need more justification for giving us a call, head to our Testimonials page to hear from some of our past clients about the level of service we provide.

Call OnderLaw Today

If a dog bite injured you or a loved one in California, don’t delay any longer. Call OnderLaw today for a consultation. We will review your case and discuss your options with you, all at no charge. We only take payment if we get you the compensation you deserve, so you have nothing to lose by contacting us. Call today.