Are You Entitled To Damages If Another Dog Attacks Your Dog In California?

August 15, 2018
On behalf of The Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg Posted in Dog Bite

California is known for being the harshest state when it comes to penalizing dog owners for causing injury to other persons, but what happens when another dog attacks your dog and causes it an injury?

This is the question we asked our Los Angeles dog attack attorney at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg. Under California’s dog bite statute, dog owners have a right to sue other dog owners when another dog attacks their own dog. But the process of suing for damages caused to a dog is very different from the process of recovering damages caused to humans.

We understand that, in the chaos that occurs when dogs attack one another, people often get bitten as well. If you or somebody you love has been bitten and injured by someone else’s dog, you may be entitled to compensation. The state of California operates under a strict liability law when it comes to dog bite incidents, which means that injury victims have an easier path to recovering compensation in these cases. Please reach out to our Los Angeles dog bite attorney HOWARD C KORNBERG for help with your case today so you can recover full compensation for your losses.

Dog biting a human vs dog: Does it make any difference in California?

While California’s dog bite statute protects persons from dog bites and makes dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog’s injury, these protections do not apply to dogs the same way.

Our experienced dog attack attorney in Los Angeles explains that California law classifies dogs as “personal property,” which is why any injury caused to your dog will be classified as “property damage.” And under California law, you are entitled to compensation for property damages, such as vet expenses to treat your dog.

Therefore, in order to receive compensation for medical expenses and sue another dog owner for injuries caused to your dog or other pet, you must file a property damage claim against the negligent dog owner (if you were injured in a dog attack, you would be bringing a personal injury claim).

How the owner can be held liable when his dog bites another dog?

Now that we have established that you do have a right to sue dog owners when their dog bites yours, in what situations can dog owners be held liable for their dog biting another dog under California law?

Liability occurs when a dog owner damages another dog owner’s property as a result of negligence, carelessness, or recklessness. In that case, we are talking about dogs as the property.

There are a few exceptions to the general rule. You cannot file a property damage claim against the owner of a dog that injured your dog unless:

  • The dog owner had notice of the dog’s vicious tendencies, aggressive behavior or otherwise knew that his/her dog was dangerous;
  • The dog owner was negligent per se because he or she violated a state or local law (such as failing to keep his/her dog on a leash) that is intended to protect other humans and animals.

What damages can be recovered when your dog was bitten by another dog?

If you are suing another dog owner over a dog attack that left your own dog injured, you may be able to recover the following damages:

  1. The reduction of the dog’s market value caused by the injury (this one applies if your dog attends dog shows or is a valuable breed);
  2. The cost of medical treatment associated with your dog’s recovery after the injury;
  3. Damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress (if the dog attack was a result of the defendant’s recklessness or it was an intentional attack); and
  4. Punitive damages (if the injury was caused by recklessness or an intentional attack).

California Dog Bite Injury Law

If you or somebody you love has been bitten and injured by a dog, please do not hesitate to seek assistance from an attorney as soon as possible. Dog bite injuries can become severe and lead to major medical bills. California operates under a strict liability dog bite law. This means that an injury victim can recover compensation for a dog bite regardless of whether or not the dog has ever bitten anybody before or shown a tendency to be aggressive.

As long as the dog BITE VICTIM was in a public location or lawfully in a private place, and as long as they did not provoke the animal, they will be able to recover compensation. In these cases, the victim does not even have to prove that the dog owner was negligent in any way.

There may be various types of compensation available to dog bite victims aside from the compensation they receive that we discussed in the situation above. It is crucial that bite victims receive coverage for:

  • All of their past and future medical bills
  • Any past and future lost wages they incur
  • Related out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Scarring and disfigurement damages

Do not delay when filing these claims. The California personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that injury victims have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the dog owner in order to recover the compensation they deserve.

Our Los Angeles dog attack attorney explains that in order to succeed in your efforts to sue another dog owner for causing injury to your dog, you will have to find proof that the dog owner had notice of his/her dog’s aggressiveness or vicious tendencies. Our lawyers at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg can help you with that. Call our offices at 310-997-0904 or fill out this contact form to schedule a free consultation.


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