The California dog bite law is designed to keep the public safe and work as a deterrent for dog owners to keep control of their pets. Section 3342 of the California Civil Code offers detailed rules of liability in such cases where a dog harms someone. And because dogs can inflict such serious damage and are so prevalent throughout the state, having this statute in place is one way that the legislature tries to keep the public safe. The statute may work as a deterrent in some cases but so many people are bitten by dogs each year in Los Angeles and across the entire state that there is a high-likelihood that you or someone you know will, sooner or later, need a personal injury attorney who handles dog bite cases if you live in Southern California.
In a recent report by State Farm Insurance, California topped the list for most dog bites in the nation. Nationally, State Farm received 3, 670 dog bite claims and paid more than $108 million. California had 451 claims by the company and $17.1 was paid out as a result. Illinois, Texas and Ohio were the next on the list for most dog bite claims. Since this is only one company’s data, clearly there were many more canine injury claims in the state. But these data are instructive. There are far too many dog attacks taking place in the state.
Additionally, State Farm only reports on what they paid. There is a good chance that many legitimate claims were denied. Even in the best-case scenario, getting an insurance company to pay on a legitimate claim may require the help of a skilled personal injury attorney. But in cases where the liable party will not accept responsibility, or the insurance company offers a low-ball settlement, or endlessly delays investigation or payment, this is when California’s dog bite law is given teeth by an aggressive law firm.