Dogs are referred to as “man’s best friend” but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be dangerous or accidentally lose control of themselves and cause harm. While there are certain breeds that are considered more dangerous than others, for example pitbulls, rottweilers, and german shepherds, even small dogs like corgis, golden retrievers, and poodles can cause harm. When a dog bites someone, then it may give rise to a lawsuit against the dog owner. While each case depends on the circumstances, this article explores key items to consider.
Some considerations in determining liability:
To determine whether a victim can sue (or a dog owner can be sued) you have to ensure all four of the following conditions are met:
- That the dog has an owner
- That you were bit while you were in a public place or lawfully on private property. Plaintly stated, victims cannot be trespassing.
- That you were harmed – regardless whether skin was broken.
- And that there the dog was the primary reason why harm was caused.
It is important to note that it doesn’t matter how safe or unsafe the dog owner was when you got bit. Nor does it matter how careful the dog owner acted. What matters most is if the four above conditions are met. In other words, if the dog was on a leash in the possession of the owner when the dog bit you, it does not decrease a victim’s ability to obtain compensation. Additionally, for the purposes of seeking a lawsuit, it does not matter whether the dog has or has not bitten someone before. Nor is it material whether the owner does not believe the dog to be violent. California law holds dog owners strictly liable as long as the elements for the claims are met.
Insurance policies may cover dog bite claims:
Homeowners policies and renter’s insurance often cover the liability of a dog bite. However, many homeowner policies do have exclusions for certain breeds. Common breeds that are exempt under homeowner policies include but are not limited to:
- Wolf hybrids
As such, dog owners should consider whether any of their insurance policies provide specific coverage for their dog breed. In light of these insurance coverage issues that could arise, dog bite victims should consider retaining a lawyer who is familiar with the insurance issues.
What Damages you can recover for as a direct result of the dog bite:
- Existing medical bills (including psychological counseling and physical therapy)
- Future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages as a result of being out of work due to your injury
Juries will also take into account the severity of the scarring and cosmetic aspect, as an example if the scarring is on your face, your damages may be more than if it is on your leg. However everything is dependent upon the situation, in other words if you are a leg model and your scarring precludes you from continuing to work then the damages you can recover for lost wages are higher.
Why work with an attorney
Anderson Franco has personal experience in lawsuits with injury victims, has tried lawsuits, and even argued before the California Court of Appeals. His variety and depth of experiences will help him pursue your claims. Give Anderson Franco a call or fill out a form on his website to obtain a free consultation and case review, he will assist you in better understanding how you can move forward with your lawsuit.
Anderson Franco will give you the one on one time and attention that you deserve. He works with his clients to patiently explain their case and provide guidance on next steps in any case. For many other law firms your case will be one of many and may get lost in the shuffle, however Anderson Franco will treat your case with the attention that it deserves.
Proven Track Record
Anderson Franco has a proven track record of advocating for his clients. He is a trusted advisor, confidante, consultant and attorney to all of his clients. As a graduate from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, he also has a strong network of individuals he can consult and rely upon for unique or specific aspects of any case.