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Seeking compensation for dog attack injuries, P.1

Last time, we began looking at the increase in dog bites requiring medical attention in recent years. As we noted, one reason for the uptick is likely that more people are using canines as protection and are keeping larger dogs, particularly in rural areas.

Whenever a dog attack occurs, it is critical for the victim to seek out immediate medical attention, and to contact an attorney as soon as possible to determine the options for seeking recovery. Dog bite victims are often able to recover compensation by filing an insurance claim. If the attack happened at the dog owner’s home, it is usually covered, but policies differ on coverage of attacks that occur off the dog owner’s premises. 

If the attack happens in the owner’s vehicle, his or her car insurance carrier may cover the bite, depending on the terms of the policy. In some cases, dog owners choose to carry special insurance after their insurance company drops coverage following a dog attack. When there is no insurance available, or when the insurance coverage is inadequate to compensate the accident victim for his or her damages, it may be necessary to file a legal claim for damages.

In California, there is more than one legal basis upon which one can seek damages for a dog attack. One possible basis for a legal claim is negligence. In a negligence claim, the accident victim accuses the dog owner of failing to exercise reasonable care in the handling and keeping of his or her canine, and of thereby causing injuries to the attack victim.

Failure to exercise reasonable care can be demonstrated a number of ways. We’ll pick up on this point in our next post and look at another basis for dog attack liability.

Source: Findlaw, “Animal Bites: Who Pays Damages?,” Accessed Nov. 14, 2016. 

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