How to Report a Dog Bite in California

Updated: Jul 24

Learn how to boost your compensation after a dog bite injury

There are millions of dog attacks each year in the U.S., many of which result in serious injuries such as scarring, disfigurement, infections, and sometimes even death. If you, or another member of your family was bitten by a dog, you must report the injury and file a personal injury case against the dog owner or another party depending on the circumstances.

Certain breeds of dogs can be very aggressive and are more likely to attack people. Dog bite injuries are very common in California, unfortunately, most victims of dog bite injuries aren't aware of their rights and the steps they need to take.

There is Strict Liability in California Dog Bite Cases

Some states carry a “one-bite” rule designed to protect dog owners from liability in certain situations if the dog had not engaged in any attacks in the past. The approach here is that the dog owner might claim that he or she did not have a reason to believe that the dog posed a threat at the time of the attack.

In the state of California, though, the dog owner is liable for an injury even if the dog had never attacked anyone in the past. This is known as “strict liability.” Even if the dog owner did not know the animal was aggressive and posed a threat , he or she can still be held responsible for any injuries caused by a bite.

How to Boost Your Personal Injury Claim To Maximize Your Compensation

For a successful personal injury claim, you must prove that:

  • The defendant is the owner of the dog;

  • The dog bite occurred when you were lawfully on private property or on public property; and

  • That you were bitten by the dog, and as a result you now have an injury.

  • Find the right Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney who can assist you in the initial phase of your personal injury claim.

Who is Liable After a Dog Bite in California?

After a dog bite injury, the responsible party in most cases is the owner of the dog, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Depending on the facts surrounding the attack, the following parties may also be held liable for all damages:

The Landlord of the property: The landlord of the property where the dog bite occurred might be held liable if he or she knew that the tenant’s dog was a threat, and the landlord was negligent on not removing the dog from the property.

The Caretaker at the time of the attack: If the dog was under the care of another party or business when the injury occurred, that party might be liable for your personal injury damages.

However, the caretaker may only be liable if he or she had “prior knowledge” that the dog was a threat to people. The caretaker might also be liable for your injuries if the dog was negligently handled.

The landlord of a Commercial Property: Landlords of commercial properties in California have a duty to inspect their premises for potential hazards and dangerous conditions, including animals. If a landlord of a commercial building allows a dog on the property and it bites a customer, the landlord might be held liable, — even if he or she wasn't aware that the dog was actually on the property.

Property Owners: The owner of a residential property can be held liable if a dog escapes and it's not under proper supervision.

Important Steps to Take After a Dog Bite in California

Recovering the maximum compensation after a dog bite injury depends on how the personal injury claim is handled from the start. Here the are steps you can take for a strong personal injury claim:

  • Take photos of all injuries and the dog that attacked you;

  • Visit a doctor or a hospital immediately, your for medical treatment must be documented;

  • Locate the owner of the dog;

  • Report the attack to your local police department or the nearest animal control agency; this will also serve as evidence for your personal injury claim

  • Find a good and experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, make sure their license to practice law is current and that he or she doesn't have any history of unethical practices.

Don't speak to the insurance company or sign any documents without your lawyer. Remember, anything you say can be used against you!! Your Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney will guide you through the process, they have vested interest in the success of your case.

Insurance companies will only be concerned on minimizing their cost and not about your well-being or your injuries.

There are many great Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys experienced in dog bite injury cases, don't pick the first one you come across, make an informed decision by researching client reviews, license status, disciplinary records and verifying all the credentials they claim to have.

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