What You need to know about Dog Bites in California

Dogs are absolutely amazing! There is no better feeling than coming home to a slobbering dog that is excited to see you. One of the biggest reasons this animal is so excited to see you is because they know that you will take care of them, even in times when it feels like all they want to do is mess up. Especially if the animal bites someone. So what happens if someone experiences a dog bite?

There are four situations in which a person cannot file a Dog Bite claim after a dog has bitten them:

  1. A person that has provoked your dog
  2. A person is bitten while trespassing on private property
  3. The dog was protecting its owner in self-defense
  4. The dog was an appropriately used military or police canine


If one of the following items are true, you can make a Dog Bite claim:

  1. The person did not provoke the dog
  2. The person was bitten in public
  3. The person was not trespassing on private property

A person may file a claim for the following damages in a Dog Bite claim:

  • Medical costs
  • Scarring/Disfigurement
  • Lost Wages
  • Out of pocket expenses
  • Psychological counseling
  • Pain and suffering


Families of people that have been killed in an animal attack may be able to sue for a Wrongful Death Claim.

Typically, the dog is required to quarantine for ten days so the county can ensure that the dog is not carrying any rabies. The dog is usually kept at the owner's premises, but there are some situations where it is required to hold the animal in a county animal care center.

California will not forcibly euthanize an animal unless someone seeks an investigation into the animal's tendencies. Items that an investigator will look into includes:

  • How many biting occurrences the animal has created
  • If the animal was trained to cause serious injuries


Anyone can initiate a euthanasia investigation.

Canine bites are one of the most common liability claims made on a homeowners or renters insurance policy. On average, they can pay almost $40,000 per dog bite claim. Unfortunately, some companies put a breed restriction on this coverage that can make
a claim more difficult, but not impossible under certain circumstances. Breeds that have been found on the restricted list includes:

  • Pit Bulls
  • German Shepherds
  • Rottweilers
  • Akitas
  • Dobermans
  • Wolf Hybrids

Attorney Jillian F. Hayes

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