Close Menu
Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP - Attorneys at Law
  • Confidential Consultations
  • Hablamos Español

Are Punitive Damages Available in a Dog Bite Claim in California?

Are Punitive Damages Available in a Dog Bite Claim in California?Dog bite injuries and other dog-related injuries are usually very serious, particularly when they involve older adults or young children. Based on California’s laws regarding dog bites, dog owners will be held legally liable when their pet bites and causes injuries to another person. This is true even if the canine showed no prior signs of aggression. Generally, when the owner of the dog knew about the dog’s dangerous tendencies and showed no regard for the safety of others, punitive damages are in order. If you were recently bitten by a dog and sustained serious injuries, take immediate action and contact the support of a qualified personal injury attorney.

The attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP have many years of experience representing clients who have been injured in dog bite attacks. The law firm excels in assisting clients to obtain the monetary compensation they deserve following a dog bite. Consider obtaining the proficient support of the attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP. Schedule a complimentary consultation by completing the online contact form here.

California’s Statute on Dog Bites

Many states in the nation are known as “one bite” states, which means that dog owners will not be held responsible for the injuries caused by their pet unless the owner knew that the animal had bitten someone in the past. Conversely, the State of California is known as a state with “strict liability”. This means that pet owners will be held legally responsible for their pet’s aggressive behavior, including in situations where the animal had never been aggressive before.

Based on the state’s dog bite law coded under Civil Code §3342, owners will be held liable for the injuries their dog has caused when biting another person. This is so as long as the bitten person was not trespassing on private property at the time of the incident. Additionally, the law states that military and police dogs cannot be held liable when biting a person.

Available Damages Following a Dog Bite Injury

The damages obtained in a dog bite injury claim can be categorized as compensatory or punitive. For the most part, compensatory damages are set to compensate the claimant for any economic losses sustained resulting from the dog bite. This includes pain and suffering.

On the other hand, punitive damages are set to punish the pet owner for gross negligence. It also serves to deter the pet owner and others from potentially making similar choices in the future.

Punitive Damages in Dog Bite Injury Claims

The State of California allows injured victims the opportunity to recover punitive damages when certain circumstances apply. The law will allow these types of damages in an injury case when the victim can prove that the dog owner acted with fraud, oppression, or malice. When it comes to a dog bite injury claim, punitive damages could be awarded in a case where the dog owner ordered the animal to attack the victim. It can also be awarded in a case where evidence shows that the dog had been repeatedly aggressive toward others and the dog owner failed to show interest in preventing a potential attack. It should be noted that homeowners insurance in California will not provide coverage for the punitive damages awarded in a dog bite injury lawsuit.

Hire Qualified Legal Support Today

Dog bite injuries can range in severity, but they are often very serious. Unfortunately, the most susceptible victims are those who are most vulnerable – older adults and young children. If you or someone you love was recently attacked by a dog and suffered a serious bite injury, obtain the support of a qualified personal injury attorney right away.

The injury attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP are highly regarded in the field of dog bite injury cases. Dog bite injuries tend to lead to long-term challenges, including physical impairment, emotional trauma, and financial distress. After a serious dog bite injury, take swift action and hire the legal representation you need and deserve. Consider contacting the attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP to schedule a free consultation today.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.