Can You Sue If a Dog Bites Your Dog?

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Can You Sue If a Dog Bites Your Dog?

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Posted By DAM Firm | May 22 2019 | Personal Injury

Our furry friends are some of the most important companions we have in our lives. We want to protect our dogs and keep them safe from harm – but what happens if another dog bites your dog while you’re out for a walk? You can sue a person if his or her dog bites you, but what about a dog biting a dog? If your dog suffered injuries due to another owner’s negligence, you could claim certain forms of compensation for your losses.

California’s Dog Bite Statute and Dogs Biting Dogs

California’s dog bite statute provides a lot of protections for people who suffer injuries from dog bites . This being said, the statute, Civil Code 3342, does not provide protections for dogs attached by other dogs. This statute is a strict liability statute that extends protections to humans, not animals. However, California law does classify dogs as personal property. If your dog suffered injuries due to another dog, you could bring a property damage lawsuit against the owner of the aggressive dog.

You can hold the other owner liable for the damages that your dog suffered if you can prove that he or she acted in negligence. The other owner will have to satisfy one of the following conditions for you to successfully hold him or her liable for your dog’s damages.

  • The other dog owner had noticed that his or her dog had dangerous, aggressive, or vicious tendencies. If a dog owner notices that his or her dog acts aggressively towards other animals, he or she has a legal responsibility if the dog ends up attacking another animal. If the dog had not shown aggressive signs before the incident, the owner is not liable for the damages.
  • The other dog owner acted in negligence because he or she violated a state or local animal control ordinance. For example, if the local law requires all dogs to be on a leash and the owner did not have his or her dog on a leash, you can hold the other owner liable for your dog’s injuries.

What Damages Can You Claim on Behalf of Your Dog?

You can receive multiple types of damages if your dog suffered injuries as a result of another dog’s attack. You usually receive damages for the greater of the following amounts.

  • The reduction of your dog’s animal market value that the injury causes, usually applicable if your dog is a rare or valuable breed. For example, if your dog is a Chow Chow that has a market value of $2,000 and suffers injuries due to another dog’s attack, its market value could decrease. Depending on the extent of the attack, your dog’s value may decrease to $700, and you could receive $1,300 in damages.
  • The reasonable and necessary costs that your dog needs to recover following the other dog’s attack. For example, say that another dog attacks your dog and you have to take it to the vet. Your dog may receive $500 in veterinarian bills, a surgery that costs around $2,000, medications that cost $200, and boarding costs of $100. You could receive a total of $2,800 in damages to compensate for your dog’s reasonable and necessary medical treatment.

Punitive Damages

You could also claim damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress or punitive damages, in cases of exceptionally negligent or reckless behavior. To claim damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, you will need to satisfy the following conditions.

  • The other dog owner acted in an extreme or outrageous way and either intended to cause or recklessly caused emotional distress to you.
  • You suffered severe or extreme emotional distress.
  • The cause of your emotional distress was due to the other dog owner’s extreme or outrageous conduct.

If your dog suffered injuries from a bite from another person’s dog and you can prove negligence in this situation, you could claim compensation through a dog bite lawsuit. Contact a Orange County dog bite attorney as soon as possible to learn more about the process and to file your claim.

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