By Dale Gribow

The prevalence, seriousness, and cost of dog bites are all on the rise in the California. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Factors that cause a dog to bite are: training, breed: health: socialization: provocation: aggression: heredity and the behavior of surrounding humans.

It is common sense that an owner has a legal responsibility to ensure that an unprovoked dog is safe and will not attack a passerby regardless of a dog’s nature and upbringing. If any of our Coachella Valley Weekly readers or their friends been bitten by a dog they should seek medical attention ASAP. Then they should contact a local accident attorney that has successfully handled these cases for years.

Many years ago California had a one bite statue that only imposed liability on the owner if the dog had already bitten one person. Today we have Strict Liability. Thus if a dog bites someone then the owner is liable. The dog’s owner has a duty to keep control his/her dog at all times. A breach of that duty imposes civil liability for any damages suffered by a victim.
An experienced Dog Bite attorney will not only encourage their client to immediately go to the ER or Urgent Care but to also have the bite examined by a plastic surgeon who knows how to prepare a med/legal report. The report should estimate the cost of future medicals and the chances of scaring. An experienced attorney will also suggest a psychologist if the client has developed a phobia about dogs or nightmares of the incident etc.


The injury is only part of what a good attorney should address. I always teach my new lawyers that documentation is the name of the game. This would include not only treatment with the appropriate doctors but pictures of the bite/scar and a client’s daily diary explaining how this bite affected the client’s life. Did the victim cancel a vacation? a party they were throwing or attending? family pictures? Stay out of the sun and avoid golf and tennis per doctor’s orders?

The cost of dog-bite claims for insurers has risen to $479 million in 2011 with the average settlement of $29,396. This increase has been attributed to increasing medical costs and the increased value of settlements, jury awards, and verdicts for plaintiffs which have outpaced inflation and the value of auto accident cases. Thus many insurance homeowners policies now exclude certain breeds of dogs from coverage which means you must check your homeowners policy to be sure you are covered.

Remember, When you drink don’t “Pull a Bieber” and get behind the wheel and have an accident (whether it is your fault or not) or get arrested for a DUI:

Dale Gribow has been “Rated” TOP LAWYER by Palm Springs Life Magazine from 2011-2014 and has a Superb AVVO Legal Peer Rating. Gribow has been Man of the Year 7 times including the City of Palm Desert and the City of Hope with Dale Gribow Day declared 4 times. Gribow hosted the “Accidentally Yours” radio show discussing auto accidents and dog bite cases he has handled for over 30 years.

If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow, Attorney at Law, at his NEW number 760 837 7500 and or his new email:

74-923 Highway 111, #206
Indian Wells, California 92210