Yes. In California, dog bite owners are strictly liable to compensate a dog bite victim for his injuries whether or not the dog ever bit a person before.
Nevertheless, if you were attacked by a dog, you should contact the police even if the homeowner asks you not to and promises to cover your medical expenses. He may not honor his agreement when he realizes how much compensation is necessary for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Additionally, both of you are required by law to report the dog bite.
What Are Your Obligations to Report a Dog Bite?
It's a good idea to contact the police after a dog attack to report it and document the occurrence. This can help when you file a claim with the homeowner’s insurance company. Even with California’s strict liability laws, the carrier could try to reduce or deny your claim.
In addition to filing a police report, you need to contact your local health department to notify them of the dog attack. Our state requires both the dog owner and the victim to notify their health departments of the attack. If the owner fails to do this or refuses to comply with the legal regulation to quarantine the dog, he can face misdemeanor criminal charges.
If your dog attack occurred in San Diego County, you should contact the county’s Department of Animal Services.
Once an attack is reported, the county agency conducts an investigation. This can include:
- Verifying the attack and obtaining additional information about the circumstances surrounding the incident
- Evaluating the potential consequences of the attack, including the risk of the rabies virus transmitted to the victim
- Providing information to help the injured person obtain proper medical care
- Identifying actions a dog owner needs to take to eliminate the risk of future attacks
Laws stipulate the owner must quarantine the dog that attacked you for at least 10 days to determine if the dog has rabies. The quarantine can be at a county animal care center or the person’s residence. Strict requirements must be met if the homeowner chooses to quarantine his dog at home.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance if You Were Bitten by a Dog
In order to obtain compensation for your injuries after a dog bite in San Diego County or Southern California, you must file a claim with the homeowner’s insurance company, or file a civil lawsuit if the owner or carrier refuses to pay you what you deserve in a settlement.
You need the assistance of a skilled dog bite attorney to protect your legal rights. To learn of attorney Mark Blane’s extensive experience fighting for the rights of dog bite victims and about your options, start an online chat to schedule a free consultation.