Dog bites are an extremely traumatic experience for the victim, especially if they cause a catastrophic injury. Unfortunately, even dogs with no history of biting have a chance of harming you or a loved one.
Since the physical and emotional effects of a dog bite can be long-lasting, it’s important to seek compensation for your injuries.
At the Farzam Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys know how devastating dog bites can be. We will work tirelessly to give you and your family peace of mind during the recovery process.
California Dog Bite Laws
Every state has different laws regarding the liability of dog owners. In California Civil Code Section 3342, it states that the dog owner is liable for a victim’s injuries if the dog bites them “while in a public place or lawfully in a private place.”
Unlike some states, California still considers the owner liable even if the dog has no prior history of aggressive behavior.
However, this law does not apply to those working as veterinarians, dog groomers, etc. who assume the risk of being bitten.
The law is slightly different for military or police dogs. According to Section 3342(b), a victim may not bring an action against a police dog if it bites them to defend itself or an agency employee investigating a crime.
The only exception is if the victim was not part of the investigation being conducted.
Determining Dog Bite Settlement Amounts
Since every case has unique factors, it’s impossible to calculate an average dog bite settlement amount that matches your circumstances.
In every personal injury case, including those involving dog bites, the settlement total depends on the severity of the injuries.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there were more than 16,991 dog bite injury claims in the United States in 2020.
While this is a 4.6% decrease from the previous year, it still accounted for more than $850 million in settlements and awards. In addition, the average claim payment in 2020 was around $50,000, representing a nearly 13% increase since 2019.
However, this average does not accurately represent more severe dog bite cases. Consider the following example.
Jane is walking to work when she encounters the neighbor’s dog. When she tries to walk by, the dog snags her hand. Her injuries lead to the amputation of her fingers, causing her permanent disability and requiring a job change. In total, her medical bills, prosthetic costs, and lost wages total $100,000. She decides to sue the dog owner for $100,000 plus 10x her damages in pain and suffering. Before reaching trial, Jane and the dog owner settled for $800,000.
Typically, injuries that cause permanent disability or disfigurement garner higher payouts.
These cases range anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, so it’s difficult to determine an accurate estimate without consulting an experienced personal injury attorney.
Bitten By a Dog? Contact Our Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorneys
The first thing you should do after being bitten by a dog is to seek medical attention. Once it is safe, call us to speak to one of our skilled California dog-bite attorneys.
We are dedicated to helping you seek the compensation you deserve while you focus on recovery.