Under California law, a dog owner can be held liable for injury, even if the owner was not negligent, the dog was not known to be dangerous and the dog had no previous history of attacking or causing injury. Further, a person – who is the not the owner – may be liable if they had custody or control of the dog and knew that it might bite.
All dog bites should be reported to Animal Control, who will investigate the attack and determine if the dog is a danger to the community. They will also work with your medical providers to determine if the dog has rabies.
A dog bite can be physically and emotionally devastating to any victim. Dog bite injuries typically involve deep bite wounds and result in serious scarring, often time requiring plastic and reconstructive surgeries to repair the damaged areas. After an injury, you want to insure that you make all of the necessary claims and identify the dog, the owner, and the insurance companies involved to move forward with your claim.
Generally, homeowner’s insurance policies and some renter’s insurance policies will cover the dog owner’s liability for dog bite cases in California. This holds true even if the dog is not on the homeowner’s property when the bite occurs.
Common defenses raised by insurance defense lawyers handling dog bite cases are that the victim provoked the dog or that the victim was a trespasser or was otherwise negligent or assumed the risk that the dog might bite. These defenses can typically be defeated with good lawyering but with insurance companies, it is almost invariably a battle to get to a reasonable settlement without a trial.
If you, a family member or friend has been the victim of a dog bite, call Mr. Waldman. The initial consultation is free. If Mr. Waldman agrees to represent you, you don’t pay unless funds are recovered on your behalf.