Orange County Dog Bite Lawyers

Orange County Dog Bite Attorneys

For many people, dogs are part of the family. Few could imagine their best friend harming another, but sadly, it’s a fairly common occurrence. In fact, even calm dogs are capable of causing serious injuries. In some situations, these bites are provoked; however, what causes an animal to attack is often a mystery. Orange County dog bite lawyers are essential resources for anyone who has experienced such an event.

Orange County Dog Bite Injury Attorneys Familiar With Emotional & Physical Trauma After a Dog Attack

With respect to dog bite attacks, California law used to adhere to the “one free bite rule,” which required that a dog’s owner would only be liable for any dog bite attacks if the dog had already demonstrated a propensity for viciousness, usually demonstrated by the dog having already bitten someone. Hence, the dog was usually afforded “one free bite” before the owner would be held liable.

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3 Things You Should Know After A Dog Bite Has Occurred

Photograph the injuries caused by the bite and document the identity of the dog and its owner immediately after the bite.

Do not talk to the insurance company or give a written or recorded statement to the insurance company without talking to Orange County dog bite lawyers at Easton & Easton, LLP.

Call Easton & Easton, LLP as soon as possible so we can advise you what to do next.

How Does Strict Liability Apply For Dog Bite Claims In California?

Today, California has abandoned this rule and holds dog owners strictly liable for any dog bites, meaning that no proof of prior viciousness is required now. This law has been codified in California Civil Code §3342(a), which states:

“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

This means that a dog bite victim needs only to prove the following to hold a defendant (and usually his/her homeowner’s insurance) liable:

  1. The dog bit the plaintiff;
  2. The defendant owned the dog;
  3. The plaintiff was in public or lawfully on the premises where the dog bite occurred; and
  4. The bite caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

While this code drastically increases the scope of liability for dog bites and makes litigating such cases a bit easier for plaintiffs, it is still imperative that dog bite victims are aided by experienced attorneys in order to maximize their recovery. Animal attack attorneys in CA can help their clients gather essential foundational elements of their cases, meet all procedural requirements with the local courts, and maximize their recoveries as efficiently as possible.

Claiming Compensation for a Dog Bite in Orange County

After establishing strict liability and proving that a dog owner is liable for your damages, your legal team can assist you in proving the full extent of the damages you can seek with your claim. It’s common for plaintiffs in civil suits to initially undervalue their claims, not realizing the full scope of the damages they are entitled to claim from a defendant.

Dog attacks may result in injuries from biting and additional injuries from the victim hitting the ground. It’s possible for the victim to suffer traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and internal organ damage alongside cuts, scrapes, and bruises, along with the traumatic injuries from the dog’s biting and thrashing.

You may be unable to work while you recover from painful injuries that are difficult and expensive to treat. Your Orange County dog bite attorney can help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, long-term medical treatment costs, lost income, and lost earning power if you were left permanently disabled by the attack. Additionally, you can seek compensation for your pain and suffering.

State law does not place a cap on pain and suffering compensation in most personal injury claims, and a dog attack can be extremely physically painful as well as psychologically traumatic. Animal attack attorneys in CA generally strive to help their clients maximize the compensation they receive for these non-economic damages.

When it comes to calculating pain and suffering compensation to include in your claim, the state does not enforce a set formula you must use to calculate your non-economic damages. Your Orange County dog bite lawyers can help determine a fair amount that reflects the severity of your injuries and your expected recovery time. A plaintiff who has suffered permanent harm will recover more compensation than one expected to make a full recovery.

What Your Orange County Dog Bite Attorney Can Do For You

One of the most important aspects of dog bite cases is properly gathering the evidence to satisfy the code and prove all of the plaintiff’s damages. This evidence may include obtaining:

  • Information regarding the dog and its owner
  • Information regarding any witnesses to the attack
  • Photographs of the victim’s injuries immediately after the bite
  • Photographs of the victim’s injuries after medical treatment has been received, especially where there is any permanent scarring
  • Photographs of the dog and the premises where the dog bite occurred
  • Medical records documenting the treatment received for the injuries caused by the dog bite

When such evidence is properly gathered, the plaintiff’s attorneys can be much more successful in recovering the full value of the plaintiff’s claim. Orange County personal injury attorneys at Easton & Easton, LLP are very experienced in handling dog bite cases and can often help victims quickly settle their claims against the dog owner’s insurance company for the full value of the claim.

A Recent Orange County Client

You may recall reading in the Orange County Register in December of 2008 about a woman who was attacked in Laguna Hills by 3 Bullmastiffs that had escaped from their owner’s backyard. It was reported that the 3 dogs viciously mauled the woman, shaking her like a ragdoll. Several neighbors came to the aid of the woman and used shovels to beat the vicious dogs off of her so she could be rescued. The woman was taken to the hospital where she underwent 8 hours of surgery to treat her severe injuries. The 4 neighbors that came to her aid were later honored as heroes by the City Council of Laguna Hills.

One of the neighbors who came to her aid was also bitten by the dogs and retained Easton & Easton, LLP to represent him. In early 2009, we were able to obtain a very favorable settlement for this client.

Attacks By Other Kinds Of Domestic Animals

While the one free bite rule has been abandoned in California with respect to dogs, it remains in effect for other types of domestic animals. For example, where an owner’s domestic cat, bird, rodent, or other animal attacks or bites a victim, the owner of the animal can be held liable for the victim’s injuries as long as the victim in Orange County can prove that the owner had knowledge or should have had knowledge of the animal’s vicious propensities. Therefore, where the plaintiff can prove the animal has attacked or bitten someone before, the owner will usually be held liable.

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Another Recent Client

Attorneys at Easton & Easton, LLP, recently helped a woman who was petting a cat inside a home and was subsequently bitten on the finger by the cat. The bite became infected and our client eventually had to be hospitalized for the infection.

We were able to prove that the owner had knowledge of the cat’s vicious propensities by proving that the cat had previously bitten the owner and the owner’s boyfriend and that these facts weren’t disclosed to our client before she petted the cat. After establishing this, we were able to settle our client’s claim against the cat owner’s homeowners insurance carrier for $100,000, the full amount of their homeowners liability insurance.

How an Orange County Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help

The team at Easton & Easton can provide comprehensive legal support for every facet of your impending dog bite claim. We can help you gather the evidence needed to assert strict liability, and then we can help uncover all the various forms of compensation you may be able to include in your case. You may be able to resolve your case outside of court if the defendant agrees to a private settlement; otherwise, you will need to take the case to court.

The attorneys at Easton & Easton generally aim to help our clients settle their cases quickly for as much compensation as possible. However, should litigation be necessary, you can count on our team to assist you with every stage of your proceedings. You have a relatively short time in which to file your case, and the sooner you contact an attorney, the more time they will have to build a compelling civil suit for you.


Q: What Are the Defenses to Strict Liability for a Dog Attack?

A: In order for strict liability to apply in a dog bite case, the injured plaintiff must be ready to prove that they did not provoke the attack and that they were legally present at the location where the attack occurred. If the dog owner can prove the alleged victim provoked their dog in some way or that they were attacked while intruding or trespassing on private property, strict liability would not apply.

Q: What Damages Can I Claim in a Dog Bite Injury Case in Orange County?

A: If strict liability applies to your claim, the owner of the dog is fully liable for all economic losses resulting from the incident. These may include your medical bills, lost income, and property damage. You also have the right to claim compensation for projected future losses like lost earning power, and you can claim as much pain and suffering compensation as you believe to be appropriate to reflect the severity of the harm you endured.

Q: What Happens to a Dog After It Bites Someone in Orange County?

A: After a dog has bitten someone, it may need to be quarantined and medically examined to ensure it does not carry disease and does not pose an unreasonable health or safety risk to the public. If a dog has a known history of aggression and has seriously injured more than one person, a judge could order the owner to follow specific rules to minimize the chance of future attacks, or they may order the dog to be euthanized.

Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Claim in Orange County?

A: The state enforces a two-year statute of limitations for most personal injury claims, so you have two years from the date your accident happened in which to file a claim against the party responsible for injuring you. This may sound like plenty of time, but it may take much longer than you expect to file your complaint with the court. It is advisable to contact an animal attack attorney in CA and start building your case as soon as possible.

Q: What Does It Cost to Hire an Orange County Dog Bite Lawyer?

A: The team at Easton & Easton can provide the legal representation you need without adding to your financial concerns. We do not charge upfront or ongoing attorney fees for our representation. We take a contingency fee as a percentage of our client’s final case award at the end of their case, but only if we win. If we are unable to obtain compensation for your damages, you pay nothing in legal fees.

Learn More About How We Can Help You

Over the years, we have represented many dog bite claimants, as well as victims of other types of animal attacks, some of whom have received settlements in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our years of experience allow us to skillfully negotiate our clients’ personal injury claims with the defendant’s insurance carriers, as well as seamlessly assess and coordinate medical care to make certain the full extent of our clients’ injuries are identified, treated, and proved to the insurance carriers.

We understand the tricks, stratagems, and defenses the insurance companies and their attorneys use to defeat or minimize a claim, and at Easton & Easton, LLP, we utilize our experience, skill, and dedication to make certain our clients do not fall victim to the insurance companies’ tricks and stratagems.

Please call our dedicated Orange County dog bite injury lawyers at 800-461-8259 for a free initial consultation. If we do not take your case, there is no charge.

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Mark B.

They are the best law firm in Orange County period. Choosing them to represent me was the best decision of my life.
My life changed in a matter of seconds after a catastrophic spinal cord injury that left me disabled. Brian Easton and his team worked on my case non stop for 3 years and provided me the justice I deserved. I couldn’t have been more content.
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I was rear ended on my home and pushed into a semi-truck. I was not sure how to go about even using an attorney.
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