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What Are the Most Common Types of Dog Bite Cases in California? How Long Are You Given to File a Personal Injury Claim Against the Dog Owner?

There are different types of dog bite claims, depending largely on the specific circumstances of an attack. Regardless of the type of dog attack a victim was involved in, the majority of dog bite cases will primarily revolve around California Civil Code Section 3342, which provides that all dog owners are liable for any injuries suffered by anyone bitten by their dog. The keyword in the previous statement is bite, which means that an actual bite must have taken place. This statute will apply regardless of whether the owner knew or should have known about their dog’s dangerous condition.

All it takes is for a victim to be in a public place or lawfully on another person’s property when the attack took place, and a dog owner will be responsible for any damages a victim suffers. Further, all dog owners will be strictly liable even if they didn’t know about their dog’s aggressive tendencies and/or if the dog had never displayed any aggressive behavior prior to the attack. Ignorance of a dog’s dangerous condition will not excuse a dog owner of liability.

Dog bite claims are generally complex and damages will vary greatly depending on the circumstances of a particular attack. If you or a loved one suffered a dog attack, our experienced dog bite attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers understand what you are going through, and we will recover all the compensation you are entitled to if you were the victim of a dog attack.

To schedule a free consultation, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

Types of Dog Bite Cases

Below are the four most common types of dog bite cases:

Dog on Dog Attacks: Dog on dog aggression is dangerous because it has the potential to cause injuries to both people and dogs. A homeowner’s insurance policy may cover a person’s damages in such an incident, including pain and suffering, but unfortunately a dog’s pain and suffering is not covered.

Non-Aggressive Dog Attacks. Instances where a non-aggressive dog unintentionally attacks a human by knocking them over or tripping them are common. Large breeds in particular can easily weigh more than some people. A large, excited dog can knock down and injure a person they may be welcoming or are happy to see.

Dangerous Dog Breeds. There are some dogs that are inherently dangerous and have already been known to attack and bite people. It’s important to know that a vast majority of homeowner’s insurance policies will exclude coverage for any damages caused by dangerous dog breeds, primarily Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. In California, dangerous dog breeds are governed by breed-specific ordinances that, among other things, mandate that such breeds must be registered, along with being spayed or neutered.

Dog Attacks on Children. A dog attack on a child will always raise unique liability issues, because dog bites and attacks on children require treatment not only for physical injuries, but for emotional and mental trauma. In the very worst cases, dog attacks on children can be fatal. A victim of such an attack may also be entitled to punitive damages on top of the normal damages they may already be entitled to.

Punitive Damages for Dog Bite Victims

A plaintiff needs to prove that a dog owner’s behavior was malicious in order to collect punitive damages. Malicious conduct is a type of behavior that intends to cause harm to another person. As it relates to a dog bite, or any form of animal attack, an injured plaintiff needs to prove either:

  • The dog owner was aware that their dog had already bitten or attacked someone.
  • The dog owner trained and instructed the dog to attack someone.
  • The dog owner recklessly — or intentionally — failed to take reasonable steps to prevent their dog from biting someone.

Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Claims

All states have statute of limitations that places a strict deadline on personal injury lawsuits. A dog bite suit is a personal injury claim, and California statute of limitations on a personal injury case is two years. This means that an injured person has 2 years from the time the dog bite first occurred to preserve their rights and file a case.

Our Team Is Here to Help

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a dog bite, our expert dog bite attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Contact us today by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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