Red and black beware of dog sign on wooden fence

What Are the Legal Implications of a Dog Bite?

When you get attacked by a dog, the physical, emotional, and financial consequences add up quickly. In addition to treatment and the risk of infection, you may be facing medical bills, missed wages, and more. Further, being attacked by a dog can cause lasting psychological trauma, and children are more susceptible to serious dog bites.

Once you have sought medical attention and are stable after a dog bite, there are a few things you need to do. You may also have the option to pursue legal action against the dog’s owner. If you choose to file a lawsuit, of course, you should also have an attorney.

Keep reading to learn more about dog bite lawsuits.

Who Is Responsible for My Injuries After a Dog Attack?

In California, dog owners are strictly liable for the actions of their animals. This means if someone else’s dog bites you, they will be held responsible for your injuries. The only time “strict liability” does not apply is when you provoke the animal.

Do I Have to Take Legal Action?

No. After a dog bite, the only things you have to do are seek medical attention and report the attack to your local animal control agency. Both these steps are to help prevent the spread of infection and create records of the attack and your injury.

Many people are reluctant to take legal action when they are bitten by the dog of a friend or family member. If this situation sounds familiar to you, you should know that homeowner’s insurance typically covers dog bite liability claims, particularly when the bite occurs at the owner’s home. When you ask for damages, you’re not shaking down your friends and/or family, you are simply collecting the benefits of an insurance policy.

While you don’t have to file a lawsuit, you may want to. A successful recovery can help you account for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Time away from work
  • Physical and emotional rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering

After dog attacks, many victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The right treatment can help you cope with this serious mental health condition, and damages can help you afford the best care available. The same thing can be said for those that need reconstructive surgery after their attack.

What Happens to the Dog?

One other concern our clients tend to have is in regard to the dog’s wellbeing. When dogs bite, they are quarantined and observed for signs of rabies or other diseases. This quarantine can happen in a veterinary office, but more often happens in the dog’s own home. If the dog is not rabid, it should be allowed to live life as normal with a mark on its record. The owner will also have to be more careful in the future.

Unless the dog is rabid or has a history of attacks and aggression, it will not be put down. In many cases, dogs considered dangerous will not even be at risk unless the plaintiff asks for the animal to be put to sleep.

In short, you are not putting an innocent animal at risk by filing a lawsuit.

How Do I Get Started?

If you are interested in filing a lawsuit, you should start by talking to our attorneys at Tedford & Associates. We offer free consultations, so we can help you understand your rights and discuss your legal options after a dog attack.

All you need to do is call us at (626) 325-0142 or contact us online today.


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