As an attorney, I determine the validity of a dog bite case by looking at three primary items:

  1. Liability: Who’s at fault?
  2. Damages: How significant are the injuries?
  3. Insurance: Who’s going to pay?

1. Liability

In California, the dog bite law is based on Strict liability. The law imposes liability onto a person without a finding of fault or carelessness. Therefore the bite victim does not have to prove negligence on the dog owner. Instead, the victim has to fulfill the elements required for a case. Strict liability also means that there is no defense if all of the elements are met.

2. Damages

In California, a dog bite does not actually have to break skin in order to be a valid case. However, the claim would be more potentially valuable if serious injuries and scarring take place.

3. Insurance

Determining insurance coverage is the big question mark in dog bite cases. The most common way you can receive compensation from a dog attack is through the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. Therefore, the dog owner would have to be a homeowner and have a homeowner’s policy in order for this to be a valid source of recovery.