To file a lawsuit against your neighbor after a dog bite, you must have suffered physical or psychological injuries. Secondly, it must be within the statute of limitations. Under California law, you have two years from the date of the dog bite to file a lawsuit against the owner. Victims who have been bitten by a dog can demand financial compensation that covers their legal damages.
This goes beyond just paying for the victim's medical care. In some cases, the dog owner's insurance company will cover the verdict or settlement. Recovering the full amount often requires the legal advice of a personal injury lawyer. Different states have different statutes of limitations for dog bites.
These statutes set a deadline for the victim to file a dog bite lawsuit against the dog owner. They are usually between 1 and 3 years old. Former Los Angeles prosecutor, Attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from the University of California at Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT. He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show, and Court TV.
Mr. Shouse has been recognized by National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal Lawyers and the Top 100 Civil Lawyers. If the victim of the bite was a minor (under 18), see our page on how to commit a minor's claim in California. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites are the most common liability claim in homeowners and renters insurance policies, 10 The statute of limitations (time limit) for suing in California is two years, 12 The two-year period begins to count on the date the bite or attack occurs.
Under California law, dogs are considered the personal property of their owners, 14 Therefore, when a person's dog is “damaged”, the usual cause of action is property damage (or a darker legal theory known as “breaking and entering”). Instead, plaintiffs may be entitled to amounts that the plaintiff reasonably spent trying to “repair the property” (e.g. veterinary bills). The question is whether the amounts spent by the landlord were reasonable, 16 However, the victim's restitution for property damage is generally limited to the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged property, 17 Yes, although such cases are rare.
California law allows recovery of punitive damages if the owner or trainer acted “maliciously”, for example, if he wrongly ordered the animal to attack, 18.Most dog bite disputes never go to court; they are resolved through negotiations between the injured person and the dog owner or insurance company. You don't want to be involved in a lawsuit if you can avoid it; the time and expenses are mind-boggling. Law enforcement agencies are generally not responsible for injuries sustained by a working police dog, provided that the injury occurred while the dog was provoked or performing its police duties. In some extraordinary circumstances, the dog owner will not have to cover these bills and may not be held responsible.
Thinking about what other evidence would be convincing for a small claims court judge, Jake decided that a picture of the fierce-looking dog Fred would definitely help. One of the things that an insured person buys from an insurance company is their agreement to defend the insured from covered lawsuits. Based on the unique facts of each case, guidance from experienced dog bite lawyers in California is essential to filing the strongest legal claims available. Filing a personal injury lawsuit may be the best way to recover the compensation you deserve if you have been a victim.
If the dog owner is not insured, an attorney can help find other parties responsible for the dog's attack while suing the dog owner to recover any available compensation. If your dog bites someone or causes injury in other ways, you may be on the receiving end of a dog bite claim. An important factor for the victim to actually recover any of this compensation will depend on whether the dog owner has insurance coverage. The following is from an email exchange between lawyer Kenneth Phillips (the author of Dog Bite Law) and a dog owner who was being sued.
Dog bite laws in many states do not apply in certain circumstances, especially when the injured person provoked the dog or was invading. For example, in Arizona, lawsuits under the dog bite statute must be filed within one year of the incident. Jake screamed in pain, the woman took the dog back to the other side of the road, and her friend went to see how bad the bite was. His theory was that when Jake jumped into the ditch, he sent a signal to Fred, his dog, that Jake was scared and running away.
If you are facing a lawsuit for an alleged injury caused by your dog, you should seriously consider talking to a personal injury lawyer. . .