After getting attacked by a dog, you may be wondering what an average dog bite settlement may look like.
While it’s tempting to find estimates on the internet, they often don’t address the full picture.
Here’s the truth behind the dog bite settlements in California and the related laws.
Dog Bite Statistics for California
According to the Insurance Information Institute, California had the most dog bite claims of any state in 2019. In total, there were 2,396 claims with a total value of $122.83 million.
To put this in perspective, that is double the amount of claims and double the value of dog bite lawsuits in Florida, which is in 2nd place.
In addition, California accounts for about 18% of the national total for dog bite settlements.
California Dog Bite Laws
California’s laws regarding dog bites can be found in California Civil Code § 3342.
This section holds the owner of any dog liable for damages if their dog bites another person in the following situations:
- When the victim is in a public place,
- When the victim is legally invited onto the owner’s private property, or
- If the victim is serving a legal duty by being on the owner’s property.
This law, of course, has a few exceptions.
For example, if the victim receives a bite from a police dog after provoking it or during an active arrest, the owner may not be liable.
In addition, if the dog bites someone who is trespassing, the court might not hold the owner responsible.
What Is the Average Dog Bite Settlement in California?
While you may find other sources that claim to have an accurate estimate of the average dog bite settlement in California, they are often misleading.
This is because most sources base estimates on published settlement amounts.
However, many settlements remain confidential.
This means that the averages published on other websites use incomplete data to estimate the average.
Another issue with averages is that they completely disregard the unique circumstances of each case.
Dog bites that result in severe or life-altering injuries are often much greater than the average settlement published online.
Dog bites with minor injuries, on the other hand, have much lower settlements.
For this reason, we suggest discussing the details of your case with an attorney.
Only they’ll be able to provide an accurate estimate of the value of your case.
Do Calculators Give a Good Estimate?
In short, no. While calculators may be useful for understanding the extent of economic damages, they don’t take into account other factors.
For example, what if your injuries cause permanent disfigurement or disability?
What if they reduce your quality of life or make it impossible to enjoy previous hobbies?
These non-economic losses are just as important as the economic ones that calculators tend to estimate.
In fact, since many of these losses are intangible, there isn’t a universal way of calculating them.
Instead, attorneys come up with their own unique formulas based on the specific situation of the client. Maybe they multiply the total economic damages or determine a per-day cost for the victim.
Whatever the case, online calculators typically leave out these non-economic losses, which can sometimes make up the largest part of your settlement.
Need Help Estimating Your Claim? We Can Help
Dog attacks of any kind are incredibly traumatizing and often require extensive recovery. Don’t put your trust in an online calculator for your claim.
At Weinberg Law Offices, we always take the full extent of our client’s losses into consideration. We know how devastating these injuries are and the lasting effect they have physically, emotionally, and financially.
Disclaimer: This content should not be construed as legal advice.