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Handling personal injury claims for Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Marcos and beyond.
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Attorney Jared Pursley
Carlsbad Personal Injury LawyerBlogDog BitesWhat to Expect in a Dog Bite Claim

What to Expect in a Dog Bite Claim


Most dog bite victims can expect three things in a legal claim. First, they can expect a settlement. Over 95 percent of civil claims settle out of court. Court verdicts could be challenged on appeal, sometimes for years, but settlements are final. Second, these victims can expect serious injuries that usually get worse before they get better. Dog bite wounds have high infection rates. Third, they can expect insurance company opposition. These companies fight these cases very hard because so much money is at stake.

Likewise, a dog bite victim can expect a Carlsbad personal injury lawyer to do three things. First, they can expect an attorney to point them in the right direction. California’s dog bite law is extremely complex. Second, they can expect an attorney to relentlessly advocate for them, even if the road gets bumpy. Finally, they can expect an attorney to openly and proactively communicate with them.

Case Evaluation

As mentioned, California’s dog bite law is very complex. Most victims have several legal options, mostly depending on the evidence in the case (more on that below):

  • Strict Liability: Under California Civil Code Section 3342, owners are liable for dog bite damages, even if they didn’t know the animal was vicious. Several times, when a dog fresh from the pound bit a victim, courts have ordered the owner to pay damages. Some defenses apply in some cases.
  • Sceinter (Knowledge): This form of negligence is also known as the one-bite rule. Basically, if the dog attacks someone, that attack puts the owner on notice that the animal might be dangerous. Additional evidence on this point, which further proves the owner’s failure to control the animal, includes aggressive barking and other pre-bite behavior.
  • Negligence: These dog bite cases come in two forms. Owners are negligent if they fail to control their animals. In this context, “negligent” is almost synonymous with “reckless.” Furthermore, most area cities have animal restrain ordinances, like leash and fence laws. Owners are liable for damages as a matter of law if a legal violation causes injury.

These legal theories have some pros and cons. The strict liability law is a good example, Pet owners, which are almost certainly on the jury, often view this law dis-favorably. They see it as a financial penalty on people who rescue dogs that have had troubled upbringings.

Legal Presentation

We skip from the beginning of a dog bite case to the end of a case, after an Oceanside personal injury lawyer has filed legal paperwork.

Before the case reaches the settlement phase, attorneys must get past some insurance company defenses, such as provocation.

Most of the evidence in a dog bite case focuses on the animal’s behavior, as outlined above. The provocation defense focuses on the victim’s behavior. Owners are not liable for damages if the victim provoked the animal. In this context, provoking an animal is an intentional and physical act that, in many cases, is more like torturing an animal.

After a lawyer deals with provocation and any other defenses, settlement talks can begin in earnest. Usually, a mediator supervises these talks and ensures that both sides negotiate in good faith. As a result, mediation is about 90 percent successful in dog bite cases.

Connect With a Thorough San Diego County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Carlsbad, contact the Pursley Law Firm. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.

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