Beware of dog signs can be a defense in a dog bite claim. In California, a dog owner is strictly liable to compensate you if their dog bites you. However, they can raise defenses to your claim for compensation. One argument they may make is that you were partially to blame for their dog biting you. Here is how your own partial negligence could affect your case.

How You May Have Contributed to the Attack

The insurance company for the dog owner often claims that the victim provoked the attack to avoid liability. It is important to remember that just because the insurance adjuster argues that you were to blame does not mean it is true. You may be able to refute their argument. However, there are ways that your own actions could have contributed to your dog bite. For example::

  • You were trespassing.
  • You were bothering the dog.
  • You ignored a “Beware of Dog” sign.
  • You put your hand through a fence to pet the dog.

How Your Partial Fault Could Affect Your Right to Compensation

If you were partially at fault for causing your dog bite injuries, you may have to accept less money when you settle your claim. California follows the pure comparative negligence law in dog bite and other personal injury cases. 

Under this doctrine, your compensation would be reduced by your percentage of fault in causing the dog to bite you. If you were 20 percent to blame, for example, you could recover 80 percent of the damages you would have otherwise received.

Even if you were more than 50 percent negligent, you would still be entitled to some compensation. However, you would need to expect that your higher level of fault would significantly reduce the amount you deserve. 

What Should You Do If You Know You Were at Fault?

If you know you were partially at fault in causing your dog bite or the insurance company is falsely claiming this, you need to retain an experienced dog bite lawyer immediately. They can investigate the cause of your dog bite and refute untrue claims about your fault. To learn how I can assist you, call my San Diego office today to schedule your free case evaluation.


Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney