After a dog bite injury in California, the pet’s owner is liable for the accident, even if it is minor. In other words, yes, you can sue for a minor dog bite injury. It is best to assume that a dog bite injury is not minor until you speak with a dog bite injury lawyer. Sometimes a slight injury can have delayed symptoms and cause further repercussions over time.
California imposes strict liability on owners of dogs that cause dog bite injuries to others. Under this law, dog owners are responsible for a victim’s losses after an injury caused by their pet, regardless of whether the dog has previously attacked another person or exhibited signs of aggression. Therefore, depending on your losses, you may have grounds to sue the dog’s owner no matter how minor your dog bite injury is. However, there are some exceptions to strict liability that you should be aware of:
Additionally, dog owners are not liable when an individual sustains a dog bite injury because they were annoying, harassing, or provoking the pet.
If you believe your dog bite injury is minor, there are still multiple risks in settling your claim too quickly. Understanding the full extent of your injury will take time. For example, let’s say you settle with the at-fault owner’s insurance company to cover the medical care you received immediately after the bite, a couple days of missed work, and a small amount for your pain and suffering. After several weeks, you are still in pain due to the bite, and you begin suffering from symptoms of PTSD, are unable to sleep, and miss more work. If you have already settled your claim, you will be unable to recover more compensation and will be responsible for paying these expenses out-of-pocket.
Since each case is unique, there is no exact “formula” to determine how much your dog bite injury is worth. However, the value of your case can be estimated with the assistance of a skilled attorney and after considering various factors, such as:
Any dog bite injury case requires detailed documentation to be successful. Victims should always keep a diary or notes about their daily pain, symptoms, and any limitations.
If you have suffered a dog bite injury, no matter how minor, schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case with a San Diego dog bite attorney.