While often referred to as man’s best friend, a dog is first and foremost an animal and can therefore be dangerous and unpredictable. Every year dogs are also responsible for sending approximately 885,000 people to the hospital and ER. In many cases, victims of dog bites and attacks are children. Injuries that result from a dog bite or attack can be serious and debilitating in nature and in some cases even fatal.
An individual or parents of a child who has been bit and injured by a dog may choose to take legal action. In California, the state’s strict liability law means that a pet owner is responsible when his or her dog bites or injures another person. This means that, barring extenuating circumstances, an individual who is bit or attacked by a dog will receive compensation from the dog’s owner.
During 2013, California led the nation with the most dog bite injury insurance claims. A total of 1,919 claims were filed in the Golden state with an average claim payout of $33,709 being awarded to dog bite victims.
A dog may bite or attack for a number of reasons or for seemingly no reason at all. Regardless of the circumstances, dog owners bear the responsibility of preventing a dog from injuring another person or dog and from damaging property. Dog owners must ensure a dog is leashed or restrained at all times and should take extra precautions, like a muzzle or cage, to protect members of the public from dogs that have shown signs of aggression in the past.
Source: Insurance Information Institute, “Dog Bite Liability,” 2014
CBS Sacramento, “Dog Bite Incidents On The Rise Nationwide, And California Leads The Pack,” Tony Lopez, October 14, 2014.