How Much Is a Dog Bite Lawsuit Worth in California – 2024 Guide

California is one of the states in the U.S. that has the most dog bite claims every year. According to some resources, in 2024, the state and insurance companies paid more than $100 million worth of settlements in California alone. Most of the time, the victim settles and gets compensation, after the evidence is gathered.

There are many factors that affect the amount of compensation, like the severity of the injuries, and if there are other consequences. The problem of stray dogs and biting often occurs all over the world. Many people do not know that they have the right to a settlement in such cases. There are several outcomes, and the agreement also depends on whether the dog is a stray, or has an owner who treated it recklessly.

What is in the settlement and how is it obtained?


If you are bitten by a dog, you should seek medical help first. Ideally, the strays are treated at a shelter and then released again. But this is not always the case. In fact, the victim may survive serious injuries and infections that could endanger their lives. Because of this, the settlement includes:

  • -Paid medical interventions
  • -Covered health insurance
  • -Lost salary due to sick days
  • -Loss of earnings
  • -Pain medications
  • -Consequences for other family members

If an agreement is reached, then the victim can withdraw the lawsuit. But sometimes when things can not be sorted out in an easier way, the case can go to court.

How this process goes?

Obviously, you or someone you know should suffer a dog bite, so you can file a lawsuit, or ask for a settlement within the first days after the accident happens. That’s the best way to estimate how serious is the injury, or if you need serious medical help.

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Neglecting pets is punishable behavior. It is also punishable if municipalities or states can not find a way to deal with the problems of stray dogs.

Injuries from a stray dog can be really serious, because of course, they do not have regular dental care and hygiene. Their teeth are full of dirt and bacteria, so the bite is a serious injury, which can end in infection or other more serious consequences for your health.

Therefore, do not try to treat the injury at home, but go to the hospital immediately and seek medical attention for treatment. This will help you to start the settlement procedure, whether it is with a neglected dog owner or a municipality that does not take care of the stray problem.

How to estimate how much is the case worth?


There are a few factors that can influence the settlement, like how bad is the injury, how old is the victim, or if there are any signs of PTSD or other mental effects of the attack. If the victim is a child, the settlement would be higher, compared to the adults. Since the children are small and unaware of the dangers, when a dog attacks them, they can’t keep themselves safe. Sometimes, even adults can fight against aggressive dogs too.

And most of the time, the injuries of childhood can affect their whole life, and leave a lifetime fear of dogs.

If there are skin damage (no matter the age), blood loss, nerve damage, or a scar that can’t be treated properly, the settlement will also get bigger. If the bite results in death, then the family can file a wrongful death claim.

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Such events often have both mental and emotional consequences, including a constant fear of dogs. This is also an important factor in reaching an agreement. An aggravating circumstance is if the dog had an owner who was aware of the danger but did not take appropriate care measures.

What does the law say in California?

In California, the average value of these settlements is about $ 50,000. Of course, this includes those who are less valuable, due to minor injuries, but also those who are even higher, if there is a victim with long-term injuries or someone who dies because of the bite infection. For example, in 2019 in California the average settlement was $ 45,000, in 2020 it was $ 50,000, but it increased in 2024 and was around $ 55,000.

Also, the laws include punitive and compensatory outcomes, so you need to be aware of them before you file the claim. Punitive cases are when the law punishes the owner or the state, because of the pet neglect. But, when we talk about compensatory cases, that’s when the victim receives some money to compensate for the damage, including the pain, medical bills, or all the other mental health effects.

Hire a lawyer who can help you figure this out


In litigation against irresponsible dog owners and against irresponsible municipalities and states, you must then hire a lawyer who can help you, such as professionals. There are many legal experts who can help you get a fair settlement, especially if the injury was more serious and you have consequences. California law requires you to report an event immediately so you can get the help you need.

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This leaves room for you to get a thorough medical report, but also proper treatment on time. With the help of these documents, you can prove that you were injured by a dog and get the necessary support from the court or insurance companies.


Hopefully, you will never be able to seek help for a dog bite. However, if this still happens, we recommend that you seek medical help immediately and call your lawyer. The consequences of dog bites can be really serious. Do not let it go unpunished, because no one deserves to be hurt by someone’s negligence. Therefore, we encourage you to always report such cases and get the care and compensation you deserve.

Surely, the laws may vary from one state to another. Make sure you are aware of the legal aspects of these cases before you take any action.