Do I Need an Attorney if a Dog Bites Me?

Most dog bites are preventable and often result in serious injuries. Each year, about 1,000 people in the United States require emergency medical treatment for dog bite injuries. If you've been bitten by a dog in San Diego due to someone else's negligence, you may be able to pursue a dog bite claim to recover compensation.

Dog bite cases can be complex, involving liability issues, costly medical bills, and negotiations with the insurance company. At Harbor Accident Lawyers, an experienced San Diego dog bite lawyer can help you recover full and fair compensation for your injuries and losses.


Contact Our San Diego Dog Bite Lawyer Today

Call us now to get your free case evaluation.

Why Hire Harbor Accident Lawyers to Handle Your Dog Bite Case?

Hiring an experienced dog bite attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Here's why you can trust us to handle your San Diego dog bite injury claim:

Legal Expertise – Our legal team specializes in personal injury cases, including dog bite injuries. We have a deep understanding of the laws and regulations in California related to dog bite claims.

Negotiation Skills – We know how to negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation. Insurance companies often try to minimize payouts, but our lawyers will fight for maximum compensation.

Medical Treatment – After a dog attack, getting prompt medical treatment is crucial. We can connect you with our exclusive network of top medical specialists, surgeons, and physical therapists in San Diego County.

Maximized Compensation – Our experienced attorneys will work tirelessly to maximize your compensation. We proudly maintain a 99% success rate and have a proven track record of recovering maximum compensation for our clients.

No Win, No Fee – At Harbor Accident Lawyers, we work on a contingency fee basis, so you don't have to worry about paying any upfront fees for our legal representation. We only get paid if we win your case.

We are like family
You're not just a number but a family member with us. Expect courtesy calls and constant updates from our team. Our friendly staff is available to take your calls whenever you need anything.
We strive for maximum recovery
We are your loyal advocate who understands your needs. You can expect honest advice and aggressive representation from us. We will decide on the best strategy to benefit you and your recovery.
No money out-of-pocket
Because we work on a contingency basis, you do not pay anything up-front until your case is settled. We take pride in providing free legal advice whether or not you hire us.
caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right

"I was referred to Harbor Accident Lawyers by a friend. They always returned my calls and always reached out to me with updates, which I appreciated. They were honest with me about my case and laid out all my options. In the end, I got my settlement for more than what was initially presented and best of all, I never saw a single medical bill!"

David C. San Diego, CA

Experienced Attorneys Fighting for Injured Victims

Harbor Accident Lawyers - San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm

At Harbor Accident Lawyers, our dedicated team of personal injury lawyers understands the physical and emotional trauma that can result from a dog bite incident. We will guide you through the entire claims process and fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.

San Diego Office

Did You Sustain a Serious Dog Bite?

Our San Diego Dog Bite Lawyers are ready to take your call.

What to Do After a Dog Bite Attack in San Diego

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs across the US. Nearly 1 out of 5 bites become infected, requiring immediate medical treatment. Experiencing a dog bite attack can be traumatic and disorienting. Here are proactive steps to take after a dog bite attack in San Diego:

Seek Medical Attention

It's crucial to see a medical professional immediately, especially if the bite becomes infected or the wound is deep. Even if the injuries appear minor, it's best to see a doctor. A medical specialist can assess your condition, prevent infections, and document your injuries.

Identify the Dog Owners

If possible, identify and gather information about the dog owners, including the following:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • License tag number of the animal
  • Proof of rabies vaccination - If this information cannot be obtained, you may have to get a series of rabies shots, which can exceed $3,000.

Document the Scene

Take pictures and videos of the location where the attack occurred, as well as your injuries.

Report the Dog Attack

Contact local authorities, such as animal control or the police, to report the dog bite incident. This legally documents your case and creates an official record of the attack. It's also a good idea to check if there are any records pertaining to the dog's previous history. It's possible that the dog has already been deemed as "potentially dangerous" or "dangerous" by authorities.

Speak to Witnesses

If there were any witnesses to the attack, obtain their contact information and ask if they are willing to provide their testimony.

Gather Evidence

Keep any clothing or items that were damaged during the attack as evidence. Additionally, maintain records of all medical treatment and expenses related to the dog bite.

Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney

Reach out to an experienced dog bite lawyer, as soon as possible. Our personal injury attorneys will guide you through the dog bite claims process and protect your rights. At Harbor Accident Lawyers, we will facilitate all communication with the insurance company on your behalf and help you build a compelling personal injury claim.

Places Where Dog Bite Attacks Can Occur

waterfront park in san diego county

Dog bite attacks can happen in various locations, and it's essential to be aware of the potential risks. Some common places where animal attacks can occur include:

Private property – Encounters with dogs on private property can lead to dog bite incidents. One of the most common places for dog attacks is in the victim's home or neighborhood.

Dog parks – Even in designated dog parks, where dogs are allowed to socialize off-leash, aggressive or poorly controlled dogs can pose a danger.

Public parks and playgrounds – Families often visit public parks and playgrounds, making them places where dog bites can occur, especially if dogs are not on leashes or are not under control.

Beaches that allow dogs – Coastal areas in San Diego are popular spots for residents and tourists alike. Dogs at the beach can sometimes become aggressive or fearful in crowded settings.

Postal routes – Postal workers can be at risk of dog attacks while delivering mail.

Common Causes of Dog Bites

Dog bites can happen for various reasons, often stemming from the dog's behavior or circumstances. Some common causes of dog bites include:


Dogs may bite when they feel threatened or scared. For example, a dog may feel threatened by an unknown person or another animal and may attack to protect itself.


Dogs are often trained to protect their owner and property. A dog may lash out if its territorial nature is triggered. Dogs may bite to protect their puppies, master, food, territory, or possessions.

Pain or Illness

If a dog is in pain or suffering from sickness it may react aggressively when touched or approached. Additionally, dogs can react aggressively if they are provoked, teased, or mistreated by humans or other animals.

Lack of Socialization

Poorly socialized dogs may not know how to interact with humans or other dogs appropriately, leading to aggressive behavior.


Common Dog Bite Injuries

emotional injuries

Dog bite injuries can vary widely in severity, from minor scratches to life-threatening injuries. Some common injuries include:

  • Puncture wounds – Dogs' sharp teeth can cause deep puncture wounds and severe lacerations, which are susceptible to infection.
  • Tissue and muscle damage – Bites can result in torn or damaged muscles, nerves, and soft tissue, which may require surgical repair.
  • Fractures and dislocations – Severe bites can lead to bone fractures or dislocated joints.
  • Infections – Infection is a significant risk with dog bites, as the bacteria in a dog's mouth can lead to serious infections, especially if not treated promptly.
  • Scarring and disfigurement – Dog bites can lead to permanent scars or disfigurement, which can have lasting psychological and emotional effects.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – Victims of severe dog attacks may develop PTSD, experiencing anxiety and flashbacks related to the incident.


Who Is Liable for Your Dog Bite Injuries?

Dog Owners

In most cases, the dog's owner is held responsible for their dog's actions. This includes situations where the dog bites someone on public property or private property.

Property Owners

If the dog bite occurs on someone else's property, the property owner may also be liable if they knew the dog was dangerous and allowed it on their premises.

Negligent Parties

If a third party, such as a dog walker or a pet sitter, was negligent in handling the dog, they may share liability. 


Exceptions to the Rule: Working Dogs and Trespassing

While dog owners are generally liable for their dog's actions, there are exceptions to this rule:

Working Dogs

In some cases, working dogs, such as police dogs, may be exempt from liability if the bite occurred during the course of their duties. However, excessive force is generally not protected.


If the victim was trespassing or engaged in illegal activities on the dog owner's property at the time of the attack, their ability to claim compensation may be limited.

These exceptions can vary based on local laws and circumstances. A San Diego dog bite lawyer will assess the circumstances of your case and help you establish liability accurately.


How Do You Prove Negligence in a Dog Bite Claim?

Proving negligence in a dog bite claim involves demonstrating that the dog owner failed to exercise reasonable care in preventing the dog bite. To establish negligence, the following elements must generally be proven:

Duty of Care

The dog owner owed a duty of care to prevent the dog from causing harm to others.

Breach of Duty

The owner breached this duty through negligent actions or inactions, such as not restraining a known aggressive dog.


The owner's breach of duty directly caused the dog bite injury.


The victim suffered damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or emotional distress, as a result of the dog bite. Proving negligence can be complex, requiring evidence and legal expertise. It's advisable to consult with an experienced San Diego dog bite lawyer who can build a strong case on your behalf.

How Severe Does a Dog Bite Have to Be to Have a Case?

broken arm in a cast

The severity of a dog bite injury can vary significantly and often depends on the dog's size, breed, and the location of the bite. There are certain factors that can determine the strength of your case, including the extent of the injuries and damages suffered, and liability. 

If you require medical treatment for your serious injuries, whether it's stitches, surgery, or medication, it's best to consult with a San Diego dog bite lawyer. Even if the initial injury seems minor, the risk of infection from a dog bite is significant. In addition, victims may suffer long-term consequences of the injury, including scarring, disfigurement, or psychological trauma. A San Diego dog bite lawyer can help you prove that the dog owner was liable and negligent in preventing the attack that resulted in your injuries.


How Long Does a Dog Bite Case Take to Settle?

The timeline of a dog bite claim can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, insurance company negotiations, and court schedules. While some cases may settle relatively quickly, others can take several months or even years to reach a resolution. Factors that can influence the timeline of a dog bite case include:

Severity of injuries More severe injuries often lead to longer legal processes as the victim may require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Dog bite liability disputes – If there is a dispute over liability or multiple parties involved, it can prolong the case.

Insurance companies – Negotiations with insurance companies can take time, as they may attempt to minimize payouts. Our skilled attorneys will negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf and work to resolve your case in a timely manner.

Legal proceedings – If your case goes to trial, the legal process can extend significantly. Our trial lawyers will represent you in court, if necessary, to help you recover the compensation you deserve.


How Much Is a Dog Bite Case Worth?

The value of a dog bite case can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, liability, medical costs, lost wages, scarring, disfigurement, and pain and suffering. Proving that the responsible parties were negligent and liable for the dog attack can significantly affect the compensation amount. It's essential to consult with an experienced dog bite attorney to determine the potential value of your case and your legal options.

Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries

In a dog bite injury case, victims may be able to recover compensation, including:

Medical bills – Coverage for medical expenses including hospital bills, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation.

Medical expenses – Reimbursement for future medical expenses, such as ongoing treatment, therapy, or reconstructive surgery.

Lost wages – Compensation for lost income due to time off work during recovery.

Pain and suffering – These damages are related to physical and emotional pain, suffering, and trauma caused by the dog bite.

Scarring and disfigurement – Additional compensation for permanent scarring or disfigurement resulting from the attack.

Post-traumatic stress disorder – Compensation for the psychological impact, including PTSD, that may result from a severe dog bite.


California Dog Bite Laws

In California, dog bite laws are primarily governed by Civil Code Section 3342, commonly known as the "dog bite statute." Key points of California's dog bite laws include:

Strict Liability

California follows a strict liability approach, meaning that dog owners are typically held responsible for injuries their dogs cause, regardless of whether the dog has a history of aggression or if the owner was aware of it.

Public vs. Private Property

The dog bite statute applies to both public and private property. It includes instances where the victim was legally on the property, such as guests or service providers.

One-Bite Rule

California does not follow a "one-bite rule," which means that a dog owner can be held liable for the first bite, even if the dog had no previous history of aggression.

Contributory Negligence

In some cases, if the victim's actions contributed to the dog bite incident, their compensation may be reduced.

Understanding California's dog bite laws and how they apply to your specific case is crucial in pursuing a successful dog bite injury claim.


What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Dog Bite Injury in California?

According to California law, the statute of limitations for dog bite claims is generally two years from the date of the injury. It's crucial to contact a San Diego dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. Waiting too long to pursue legal action may result in the loss of your right to compensation. 

Early action allows for the preservation of critical evidence, including medical records, photographs, and witness statements, which can strengthen your case. Injured victims should reach out to a personal injury attorney promptly after a dog bite incident to ensure their legal rights are protected.

Contact an Experienced San Diego Dog Bite Attorney Now

At Harbor Accident Lawyers, we are committed to serving the needs of dog bite victims in San Diego and Southern California. Our experienced legal team has a proven track record of advocating for our clients and ensuring they receive the compensation they deserve.

We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that dog bite injuries can take, and we are here to help you seek compensation. If you or a loved one has sustained a dog bite injury, don't hesitate to reach out to our San Diego personal injury law firm. Contact us today for a free consultation today.

How Can We Help?

Please fill out the form, and an attorney will contact you shortly to discuss your accident or injury.