The health benefits of owning a dog are well-documented. Trained dogs have also proven to be worthwhile for individuals with disabilities or mental health issues. However, dog ownership in California or elsewhere in the United States is a responsibility that must be taken seriously. A dog who bites another dog or person causes a liability issue for the owner. Dogs that bite and draw blood might have to be put down.

In 2019, there were 17,802 dog bite claims reported, which was a 2.9% increase from 2018. The average cost per claim was $44,760, which was a 14.7% increase from 2018. Of the 50 states, California had the highest number of claims with 2,396 in 2019. The average cost per claim was $51,265. There are homeowner and renters insurance policies that cover the expenses of a dog bite claim, but individuals must read the fine print. Not all dog breeds are covered like pit bulls. Some insurance companies are asking dog owners to sign dog bite liability waivers.

For the owner of a dog, there are three liability laws automatically imposed including the dog bite statute, one-bite rule and negligence. Given how expensive litigation has become, it is best for a dog owner to care for the dog properly and prevent bite incidents. Owners whose dog sufficiently injures a person can face criminal charges, too.

An individual who wants a dog should consider whether they could be a responsible owner. Then, they have to pick the right dog for their circumstances. If the dog needs professional training, the owner should procure it.

Accidents can happen, so if a dog has bitten a person or another dog, the owner may consider seeking professional help from a personal injury lawyer. A legal professional may be able to guide the dog owner through the situation.