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Average Dog Bite Settlement in California [2024 Updated]

An unexpected dog bite can lead to cases of physical and emotional trauma. This makes it important for victims to understand their rights and what legal avenues exist to pursue compensation under California law. Knowing the average dog bite settlement in California can provide valuable insight for anyone who is seeking justice for the incident and wants to secure a fair compensation package to help them move on with their life.

Factors That Influence a Dog Bite Settlement in California

There are many different factors that influence what a final settlement award could be. Understanding these factors can help a victim set realistic expectations for what they could receive as financial compensation in the end with the help of their personal injury attorney.

Some of these factors include:

Severity of Injuries

The exact extent of someone’s physical injuries that can be linked to the dog bite through compelling evidence will help determine a settlement amount. Severe injuries like deep lacerations, nerve damage, or even disfigurement are typically seen in high-end compensation packages.

This is because these injuries often require extensive medical treatment to help the victim recover. The long-term nature of these injuries factors into the settlement calculation as well.

Medical Expenses

The total cost of a dog bite victim’s medical expenses can impact their settlement amount. An attorney will likely work with you to include how much was spent on emergency services, surgeries, rehabilitation, and any ongoing costs related to recovery. Because these expenses are easy to quantify and be reimbursed for, it’s highly recommended to keep detailed documentation of all these medical reports and their costs.

In addition to immediate medical treatment, a dog bite settlement award can also acknowledge future medical costs as well. This can include ongoing treatments or therapy needed to help support injuries that may last well past the final court date when a settlement is issued.

Emotional and Psychological Impact

Some people are under the incorrect impression that only physical injuries can be reimbursed in a dog bite accident. This is not true, as the emotional impact of these incidents can also be quantified and included in a final settlement.

In many cases, an award will acknowledge and financially support ongoing therapy or counseling sessions that are helping the victim cope with any trauma associated with the dog bite. These qualify for compensation consideration as well, as these services can help an individual get closer to returning to their daily routine, repair relationships, or even participate in activities they once enjoyed before the accident.

Loss of Income

If a victim is taken out of work due to their dog bite injuries, any impact on their salary can be incorporated into their final settlement award. This includes both how much money they are losing during the case and future earnings they may lose to ongoing medical treatment.

In cases where the dog bite injuries have caused a permanent disability, this could impact their ability to ever make a living again. This would significantly boost a settlement and will require an attorney to document the extent of the lost wages, including documentation from employers and tax returns, to help substantiate claims for lost income.

Circumstances of the Attack

Specific details of why the attack happened could open up more room to seek additional compensation. This would include the behavior of the dog and the actions of the dog’s owner. For example, if the dog has a history of aggressive behavior and the owner was warned that they need to restrain their dog to prevent damage, a victim could leverage this act of neglect to receive even more money from the case.

Evidence such as witness statements, police records, and even photographs directly from the scene can help illustrate the exact circumstances of the attack. Having a personal injury attorney who can look at a case from many different angles can provide peace of mind, knowing you are exploring every avenue possible to maximize your compensation award.


Q: What Factors Should I Consider When Settling a Dog Bite Claim?

A: The severity of injuries, medical expenses incurred, and the cost of any ongoing treatment should all be considered when settling a dog bite claim in California. Aside from the attack’s physical impact, your emotional well-being should also be considered. This would include reimbursing an individual for any anxiety or PTSD they now face as a result of the experience. Consult with a seasoned personal injury attorney to help evaluate these factors for your case.

Q: What Is an Example of a Level 3 Dog Bite?

A: A level 3 dog bite is classified as any bite that punctures the skin. These bites are divided up into level 3A and level 3B. Level 3A is used when it is a singular dog bite, while level 3B covers skin punctures with multiple bites. Victims of level 3 bites are often in considerable pain and may have a longer recovery period when compared to victims of lighter dog bites.

Q: What Steps Are Taken After a Dog Bite Is Reported in California?

A: After a dog bite is reported in California, the incident is documented by the local authorities you called to the scene. These details are used to generate an official police report that has captured the details of the attack. Depending on the severity of the attack, the dog may be ordered to quarantine to prevent any other attacks from happening to the public while it’s observed. While this happens, the victim can start filing a dog bite claim.

Q: How Can I Prove Liability in a Dog Bite Case?

A: To prove liability in a dog bite case, you will need to demonstrate how the dog owner was negligent in their caretaker role or that the dog had a history of aggressive behavior. In California, the owner can be held responsible for the attack even if the dog has not acted out before in this manner. Consult with a personal injury attorney to help navigate these details and build the strongest case possible for compensation.

Contact Heimanson & Wolf, LLP Today

If you have been involved in a dog bite accident, it is wise to reach out to an experienced dog bite lawyer. Heimanson & Wolf, LLP has years of success securing compensation for victims of dog bite attacks. Contact us today to begin a consultation.

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