Death Lawsuits from Dog Attacks

Suing When a Loved One Died After a Dog Attack

On September 22, 2021, an Alabama man was attacked by a dog while he was out on a walk. He later died from his injuries.

A simple morning walk or bike ride can turn deadly if you come across a dog that sees you as an enemy, even if you aren’t doing anything intimidating. Dogs have a completely different social structure than humans, and certain friendly or non-aggressive movements can be deemed threatening. Sometimes, even just walking into an area that the dog thinks is their territory can become deadly.

Dog attacks hospitalize 6,000 to 13,000 people each year, and 30 to 50 of these people die from their injuries. In most cases, these are not wild dogs, and their owners were too negligent to put in the effort to train and socialize them.

Dogs are the most common pet in the country, and most owners know that they have to train their dog not to be defensive around other people. Because of this, the dog owner was negligent if they did not take measures to prevent the dog from biting someone.

If a loved one died from a dog attack, you should contact a bodily injury lawyer to file a lawsuit.

Dog Bite Liability

Any personal injury claim in California will be based on who’s liable for the accident. A dog owner is responsible for the dog’s actions, and the state takes a dog’s first incident very seriously, even if they have no history of aggression or biting. Therefore, the injury court is going to be very hard on the owner.

While California is a shared fault state, your loved one’s actions towards the dog are likely not going to affect the settlement unless they were outright abusing the dog, causing it to attack in self-defense.

Training can be hard, especially if the dog has past trauma, but additional steps can be taken to avoid an attack. A dog owner with a reactive dog is supposed to keep them on a short leash, away from people, in a fenced yard, or fitted with a muzzle.

Damages in a Dog Bite Case

Our dog attack lawyers are known to fight for the highest settlement possible. A settlement in a wrongful death claim is based on the total amount of damages. Damages in a death by dog attack case will cover both the damage suffered by the deceased prior to death and the damage suffered by their loved ones after their passing.

You may be able to receive compensation for the following:

  • the deceased person’s pre-death “pain and suffering” in the even they don’t die at the scene of the attack
  • the medical treatment costs that the deceased victim incurred as a result of the injury prior to death
  • funeral and burial costs
  • loss of the deceased person’s expected income
  • loss of any inheritance as a result of the death
  • value of the services that the deceased would have provided
  • loss of care, guidance, and nurturing that the deceased would have provided to their loved ones
  • loss of love, companionship, and consortium that the significant other of the deceased is now missing

Statute of Limitations

Your dog bite case will be seen as a wrongful death lawsuit, so it follows the standard legal process for wrongful death claims in California. The state requires that wrongful death claims be filed on behalf of the deceased within two years of their death.

Keep in mind that this is just the deadline to file a claim. Once a claim is filed, your lawyer then can work out a settlement based on your damages, evidence for these, and negotiations with the defense.

In most cases, these kinds of injury claims are settled out of court, which will save you money in the long run and allow for more negotiation instead of an outright win or lose outcome.

Contacting an Attorney for Fatal Dog Attacks

Your attorney should have a thorough understanding of dog bite claims and wrongful death claims. You can find just that at our Newport Beach injury law firm. Our attorneys have fought for the loved ones of those who have died in not only dog attacks, but car crashes and motorbike crashes as well.

We are here to help you heal emotionally after living through such a traumatic event. We offer free consultations, so reach out to us if you have any questions regarding your situation.

If the Dog Was Provoked

If the victim provoked the dog into biting by hitting or teasing it, the courts will almost surely find them liable since many people know that biting is an animal’s way of defending itself against harm. 

But what about actions that aren’t so obviously provocative? The court will consider placing liability on the victim if:

  • The victim accidentally stepped on the dog’s tail or paw 
  • The victim approached and touched the dog when it was eating or chained up
  • The victim intervened in a dog fight and was bitten as a result
  • The victim sprayed the dog with repellant

Previous Knowledge of Risk 

If the injured party was aware of a risk of injury but voluntarily took that risk anyway, then the courts might find them liable for their injuries. For example, a “Beware of Dog” sign often protects an owner from responsibility in the attack.

This rule comes into play when veterinarians, groomers, pet sitters, and kennel operators are bitten while on the job. In California, the assumption-of-risk defense relieves owners of liability when the injured party voluntarily accepted the risk of getting hurt by an animal by taking care of it or treating it for injuries.


Many people get dogs because they can serve as guard dogs to protect them and their belongings from robbers. When a stranger enters the owner’s property, dogs will bark, but they sometimes bite if they feel threatened enough. If the injured party was trespassing or unlawfully on private property, most states’ dog-bite laws don’t apply.

Negligence on Behalf of the Injured Party

When the victims’ own carelessness contributed to their injuries, the courts may limit the amount of compensation the owner has to provide. The California courts abide by the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, which means each party pays an amount directly equal to the negligence they showed. For example, if the owner was 20% negligent because they failed to discipline their rambunctious pet, then they would have to pay 20% of the damages.

About Accident Lawyers Firm

Accident Lawyers Firm is a Newport Beach-based law firm that wins our clients maximum compensation for their personal injury lawsuits. Our attorneys work tirelessly to add up your bodily damages, emotional damages, property damages, and overall pain and suffering that the negligent party should pay for. We also tap into our network of accident and health experts to gather thorough research and evidence to make your case for compensation as strong as possible. Contact us if you were injured in a: 

  • Car accident 
  • Motorcycle accident 
  • Bike accident 
  • Rideshare accident 
  • Workplace accident 

You don’t need additional stress while you recover from your injuries, so leave the legal battle up to us. With our extensive connections and hard-working lawyers, you can focus on recovering physically, mentally, and emotionally. To set up a free consultation, call us at 949-203-5780 or email us at