What You Need to Know about Dog Bite Settlements and Dog Owner Liability
As a possible victim it is important to know what the average settlement for a dog bite case is. And as a dog owner knowing dog owner liability laws are equally important. Here’s everything you need to know about average settlements and dog owner liability laws in California.
Frequency of California Dog Bite Settlements
California has one of the highest average dog bite settlement amounts. According to Quote Wizard, the average dog bite settlement is $51,264.60 in California. Since California is a strict liability state, dog owners are almost always responsible for dog bites. The California Civil Code details owner liability laws. In Los Angeles County alone, about 20,000 people suffer dog bites daily according to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health.
In 2018, State Farm Insurance received 409 dog bite claims in California.. In the same year, $18.6 million was paid in claims for dog bites in California. California’s dog bite claims and amounts paid greatly exceed any other state’s amount of dog bite claims.
The average cost per claim has quickly inflated. As of 2020 ,the average cost per claim was over $50,000 in California. According to the insurance company Quote Wizard, the average settlement per claim was $51,264.60 in 2020. California has one of the highest average claims throughout the States. Hawaii, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Vermont, Florida, New Hampshire and New York are the only states with higher average settlements per claim than California. California’s total payouts exceed any other state by over 50 thousand.
In California, dog bites are strict liability cases, meaning the owner is responsible for their dog biting another individual, regardless of the owner’s intention or knowledge of the act.
Liability of Dog Owners
The California Civil Code states the owner of any dog is liable for damages suffered by any individual who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place including the owner’s property.
The owner is liable regardless of their knowledge of their dog’s vicious nature. The owner is liable if the bite occurs in a public space, or lawfully in a private place meaning by invitation (express or implied) by the owner. The owner is not liable for a dog bite against an intruder.
The owner of a dog that has bitten an individual must take reasonable steps to ensure the dog does not bite other individuals. If the dog has bitten an individual on two or more occasions, the district attorney or city attorney may bring an action against the owner of the dog to determine whether the owner has taken significant steps towards removing the danger of the dog through different forms of confinement or treatment.
If the court deems it necessary, the court may make any order it deems appropriate to prevent the recurrence of a bite, including removal of the animal.
If a dog is trained to fight, attack or kill and has seriously injured another individual, the district attorney or city attorney may bring an action against the owner to determine whether the owner must change the conditions of treatment or confinement of the dog. The court may make any order, including the removal of the animal.
FAQs About Average Dog Bite Settlement in California
Does the California Civil code apply to police and military dogs?
No. If the police or military dog is defending itself from annoying, harassing, or provoking acts or are assisting the employee in apprehension of a subject, investigation of a crime, or in defense of a peace officer, the owner (the government) is not liable for the dog’s actions.