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What are dog bite victim's legal obligations and rights?

Riverside, CA |
Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

A dog bite victim has few, if any, legal obligations; however, I need more information about how the bite occurred to respond to this part of the question. Generally speaking, I agree with the other two answers. More specifically, a dog bite victim has the right to be compensated for emergency and follow up care; to be examined by a plastic surgeon to have the severity of the scarring evaluated; and to be compensated for the costs of any scar revision surgery. A victim also has the right to be examined by a psychiatrist or a psychologist and to have these expenses paid for by the dog owner. In serious dog bite cases, the psychological injury may be as devastating as the physical injury itself. If the dog that bit has exhibited agressive tendencies or had bitten before and the owner was aware, the victim may be entitled to pursue punitive damages in addition to damages for medical expenses (past and future) and for paind and suffering. Professional photographers should be employed immediately to document the painful nature of the injury; and the photographer should be used at different intervals during the healing process as well. With my office, there are no charges if there is no settlement even though my office has spent time and money on the case. Hire an experienced attorney right away.

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Dog bites can result in severe, painful, and permanently disfiguring injuries. Sometimes a dog bite turns into a mauling by the dog that requires a stay in the hospital and extensive plastic surgery to repair the wound. In California, the owner of a dog is legally responsible (“liable”) for all injuries and damages caused by his or her dog’s biting someone, even if it was the first time the dog had ever bitten anyone and had never shown any sign of aggressiveness previously. The owner of a dog is responsible for the dog’s bite even if the bite occurred on the owner’s own property, if the person was lawfully on the property. For instance, the mailman or a meter reader has to go on the owner’s private property to carry out his or her job. Or a person may be on the owner’s property with the express or implied consent of the owner. You should consult with an attorney to learn more about your options. Many firms, including my own, handle these types of cases. Please feel free to give me a call to discuss at 877.612.3363.


Dog owners are legally responsible for damages and injuries caused by their pets regardless of whether or not the pet has ever exhibited aggressive behavior or bitten anyone previously. A dog bite claim is similar to any other personal injury claim in that the victim is entitled to compensation for medical expenses, loss of time from work and pain & suffering damages. In some cases, psychological trauma from a severe attack will result and the victim may need psychiatric or psychological counseling and suffer years of anxiety and fear. Those psychological injuries are entitled to compensation as well. If you sustained a serious dog bite injury you should seek legal representation.


I hope you know who the owner is, as one of the above lawyers in your state can put in a demand with his homeowners insurance carrier.