Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bites

dog bites, dog bite

Does the breed of the dog matter?

Answer: No. California is a strict liability state, which means the owner of any dog who bites someone is responsible for the dog bite regardless of breed.

What if the dog is friendly and had never bitten someone?

Answer: It doesn’t matter. An owner is strictly liable for a bite that occurs on public or private property, even if it is the dog’s first bite.

What is public property?

Answer: Sidewalks and streets.

Is the dog owner strictly liable for a dog bite on private property?

Answer: Yes, if the victim is lawfully on the property. This means the owner invited the victim to be on the property.

Are there exceptions to the strict liability rule?

Answer: Yes. The victim is not protected if he was a trespasser on private property. 

What if the victim provoked the dog?

Answer: The dog owner is still liable, but the victim is comparatively at fault. The victim’s percentage of fault reduces his damages.

Will insurance cover the attack?

Answer: In many cases, the owner’s homeowner’s policy may provide coverage.

What should I do after an attack?

Answer: Seek immediate treatment, especially if the victim suffers a laceration that leaves a scar.

Should I talk to the owner’s insurance company?

Answer: No. The insurance company will use any statement you give against you.

What evidence do I need to prove my case?

Answer: Identify witnesses to the attack. Take photographs of the wound to prove damages.

What kind of lawyer do I need?

Answer: Personal injury lawyer. You will need an experienced personal injury lawyer with trial experience.

What is my case worth?

Answer: It depends on the nature and extent of the injury. Facial scars are severe and result in higher settlements and jury awards.

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