In 2021, California had the most dog bite claims in the US (2,026 claims), as well as the highest average payment ($59,561 per claim). In California alone, insurance companies paid out more than $120.7 million in dog bite claims last year, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
California Laws on Dog Bite
When a dog bites an individual, each state has its own set of laws to deal with the situation. The legal procedures in a dog bite case are outlined in Section 3342 of California law. According to the law, a dog’s owner is responsible for any injury a person sustains as a result of the dog biting them while they were lawfully inside a public or private space. Regardless of whether the owner is aware of the dog’s violent tendencies, this is the situation.
Any person in charge of maintaining the dog at the time of the assault can be considered the “owner.” In other cases, such as when the dog was working for the police or the military at the time of the bite, the victim could not file charges.
What does a dog bite settlement entail?
Most dog bite cases result in a settlement. A settlement is an agreed-upon resolution in a dog bite case. You will be compensated for your damages by the dog’s owner or, more commonly, by their homeowner’s insurance policy.
These agreements typically take place following months of deliberations and evidence collecting. Your compensation will be determined by a number of variables, including:
- your age
- the seriousness of your dog bite wounds
- Whether there are any permanent damages or deformities
- If a dog’s owner was aware of the aggression yet did nothing to stop it
The Average Compensation Paid in Dog Bite Cases
Settlements for dog bites might differ greatly, partly based on how badly the victim was hurt. They can range in price from a few hundred to several hundred thousand dollars. The average dog bite compensation, though, is between $35,000 and $50,000, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
It represents a projection of the losses you may have gotten if the case had gone to trial. Your losses resulting from the occurrence are covered, including:
- Prior medical expenses and those that can be expected to arise in the future
- deductibles for health insurance
- lost earnings
- lost possibility for income
- the pain and suffering
- damage claims for your family’s loss of consortium
You agree to dismissing your claim against the dog’s owner in exchange for this payment. A dog bite lawsuit is permanently ended by accepting a settlement offer. You cannot reopen the action if you later discover that the money you got was insufficient.
How long does a dog bite claim take?
It may take several years or as little as a few weeks to resolve a dog attack case. Sometimes the dog owner or the insurance provider is prompt in presenting a reasonable settlement offer. Other times, the matter is pursued all the way through to trial and even an appeal. The length of time it takes to resolve the matter will depend on a number of things. Some of the most significant are:
- the seriousness of the victim’s injuries
- Whether or not the dog’s owner would face huge liability
- how evidently the owner was careless
- Whether the attack’s victim was partially responsible
- whether the dog has a past record of attacking people
- if the victim has enough insurance to cover their damages, and
- which insurance firms are concerned.
The severity of the victim’s injuries and the level of medical attention they require is one of the most critical factors. Victims of dog bites are entitled to monetary compensation to pay for their medical costs, including:
- urgent medical treatment,
- surgery fees,
- after-surgery care,
- prescribed medications,
- subsequent doctor’s appointments
- physical therapy,
- mental health treatment for anxiety brought on by the incident or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Should I consult a dog bite attorney?
Victims of dog bites can better grasp the compensation they are entitled to with the help of a dog bite lawyer. This enables them to assess the fairness of the settlement offer being offered by the insurance adjuster. If it isn’t, the attorney can assist in bringing a personal injury lawsuit or a dog bite injury claim against the dog owner and their homeowner’s insurance policy.
Contact a California Dog Bite Attorney
If a dog bit you or a loved one, the owner may be obligated to pay damages if they were not aware of their dog’s aggressive tendencies. To get started on your case, call Zucker Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers, APC at (951) 699-2100.