Image of scenic highway 1

Creative problem-solving, strategic thinking and tenacious client-oriented advocacy.

Who is responsible for the costs of a dog bite incident in California?

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Premises Liability |

Some dog bites are minor. The person attacked by the canine aggressor barely bleeds. They do not require professional medical attention and have no permanent scars once they heal. Not everyone is that lucky. Some dogs are incredibly violent when they attack a human. Dog bite incidents can produce disfiguring scars, life-threatening infections and severe injuries. Some dogs are capable of biting a person multiple times or tearing their flesh. Other dog bite incidents could cause brain injuries or broken bones.

The person attacked may require emergency medical care and ongoing treatment for some time after the initial injury. They may lose income while they are unable to work and may have other secondary expenses to cover. Someone facing thousands of dollars in expenses may wonder how they can cover those costs and whether they are responsible for managing them. The answer to these concerns varies by jurisdiction.

In California, the animal’s owner or their insurance is often liable

California has a strict liability statute that applies when a dog attacks a human. Unless the human trespassed or otherwise broke the law immediately before the incident, the chances are quite good that the animal’s owner is responsible for the damages it causes others.

Often, insurance can cover the costs produced when a pet suddenly becomes aggressive toward a person. Homeowner’s insurance and renter’s insurance both provide premises liability coverage that may extend to dog bite incidents. Even if the dog bite does not hurt someone’s residence but at a nearby park, the owner’s insurance policy may still apply.

While people often feel anxious about the idea of holding a neighbor community member financially accountable for the actions of an animal, their insurance provider often covers a significant portion of someone’s costs. It may be necessary to take legal action by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the animal’s owner to obtain compensation from an insurance provider after a dog bite incident. Therefore, preserving evidence of what happened during the attack and records of the financial expenses triggered by the dog bite incident could benefit those directly affected by an animal’s act of aggression.

Realizing that dog owners don’t necessarily pay out of pocket for someone’s medical expenses may help people feel more comfortable seeking compensation when someone’s pet becomes a danger to others.