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Child bitten by dog on school property

My child was bitten by a dog on school property. A parent had tied the dog’s leash to a pole. Can I sue the school?

- B.T, California


There are two possible defendants: the dog owner and the school.

Liability of the School District for a Dog Bite on School Property

There likely is a school policy prohibiting bringing dogs onto campus. The school's liability would depend on whether school employees knew or should have known that the dog was on school property. If evidence exits that school employees knew or should have known that the dog was on campus, and school employees failed to do anything about it, then the school could be liable.

If it is a public school, there is a governmental claims filing statute of six months in California. This means that you must file a Claim for Damages with the school district within six months of the date of the dog bite. If you fail to do so, you are barred from filing a claim against the school district.

Liability of the Dog Owner for a Dog Bite on School Property

The owner of the dog is automatically liable for your child's injuries. If the dog owner has homeowner's or renter's insurance, the insurance company will likely pay for your child's injuries. If the dog was a pit bull, however, some insurance companies exclude coverage for injuries caused by pit bulls. If the insurance excludes coverage for injuries caused by pit bulls, the dog's owner is still liable, but the insurance carrier will not pay.

If your child has been bitten by a dog, the personal injuries lawyers at McGee, Lerer & Associates are available 24-7 for a free consultation. We know that after a child is bitten by a dog, there may be long-lasting physical and emotional scars. Our attorneys are experienced in handling child injury cases and the special California rules that apply to settlement of a minor's claim.

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