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What to Know About Dog Bites in California?

California leads the country in earthquakes and wildfires. Unfortunately, it now tops another inauspicious list, dog bites. While man’s best friend usually just wants a treat sometimes, they aren’t so friendly. While most people associate Pitbulls and German Shepherds with dog bites, Chihuahuas actually top the list nationwide as the breed that bites the most according to the Canine Journal. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association reports about 4.5 million dog bites every year with 20 percent of bites requiring medical attention. Fifty percent of all dog bite victims are children. Postal workers in Los Angeles have been bit more often than any other city in the United States. 

In 2017, California accounted for 14% of dog bite claims made to State Farm resulting in $18.7 million in payments. This was almost $6 million more than Illinois, the second-highest state. The Insurance Information Institute reports that the average payout was $37,051.

If a Dog Bites You

Have you been bit by a dog, they please first seek immediate medical attention. Animal bites can cause serious injuries, lead to an infection, or even death if the animal had a disease. Once you have been treated, you need to consult with a lawyer who handles animal bites cases. An attorney will advise you on which legal steps you should take and how to be compensated for damages. 

In California, dog bite laws are different from other states. In California, dog owners are strictly liable. This means the owner is responsible even if the owner was not negligent, the dog had not previously bitten anyone or acted aggressively. The dog bite does not have to break the skin, but the victim would need to prove the bite was a substantial factor in their injuries. 

There are some limiting factors in these cases. For example, if the victim has a legal right to be on the property, ie. an invited guest or postal worker. If an individual ignored a No Trespassing sign or direct warning from the owner, then the liability ceases to exist. But if the victim antagonized the dog, a jury may find that the victim bears some of the blame and compensation would be reduced. 

If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you have definite rights. Like all legal matters, you need a competent, caring professional to assist you. Alexandroff Law Group is there for you. We have the experience and knowledge to ensure you receive fair and just compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.