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How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite in California?

Anytime someone is bitten by another person’s dog in California, they should be able to recover compensation for their injuries and other expenses. However, recovering this compensation can be challenging, particularly when it comes to going up against insurance carriers and dealing with the deadlines in place. Here, we want to discuss how long you have to file the lawsuit after a dog bite injury occurs, as well as any deadlines put in place by insurance carriers.

Looking at the Statute of Limitations

One of the most important things to remember after any injury is that statutes of limitation are put in place by law in California. A statute of limitations is the time frame within which a person has to file a lawsuit after an incident occurs. For a dog bite, victims in California have two years from the date the injury occurs to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. If a dog bite victim fails to file a lawsuit within this two-year timeframe, their case will be dismissed by the court, and they will be unable to receive the compensation they are entitled to.

What About Insurance Carrier Deadlines?

The statute of limitations is not the only deadline that California dog bite victims need to be aware of. The vast majority of dog bite claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, particularly the homeowners’ insurance carrier of the dog owner. However, insurance carriers have very strict reporting deadlines when it comes to injury claims. Sometimes, an insurance carrier says they need to know about an injury within a day or two after the incident occurs.

This can get complicated, though, because an individual bitten by a dog may not necessarily know the dog owner, and they may have no way of finding out whether or not the dog owner has homeowners’ insurance coverage. Technically, the dog’s owner should be the one reporting the incident to their insurance carrier so the claim can begin.

The best way to ensure that your claim is filed promptly with an insurance carrier is to contact law enforcement officials or animal control to ensure the incident is documented correctly. These officials will locate the dog’s owner in order to complete their report. This will establish a connection between you and the dog’s owner and hopefully begin the process of going through the insurance settlement phase.

Do You Need an Attorney for These Claims?

We strongly recommend that you work with a skilled Irvine dog bite injury lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can get involved quickly and be the one to handle all negotiations between you, the dog’s owner, and any insurance carriers involved.

In addition to contacting an attorney, it is crucial for you to seek medical care right after a dog bite injury occurs. If you want to recover compensation through an insurance settlement or through a civil personal injury lawsuit, there needs to be a trail of you receiving medical care and continuing medical treatment until after you reach maximum medical recovery.