No matter where a dog bite or animal attack occurs, it can be a frightening experience—the effects of which can stay with a victim for the rest of his life. Whether the bite in question result in a long and painful recovery period, disfigurement, or even death, a dog bite attack isn't something that can simply be shaken off and forgotten. Fortunately, California law allows the victims of dog bite attacks to hold the owners of the attacking dog responsible for their injuries and other damages, usually regardless of where the attack took place. Read on to learn more about California's strict liability statute for dog bites and how it applies to dog bite attacks that occur on public or private property.
Strict Liability for Dog Bites
California's strict liability statute for dog bites means that a dog's owner can be held liable for bites inflicted by their dog—even if this was the first time the dog bit someone or displayed a violent temperament. Under this statute, an owner is unable to argue that his dog is “usually friendly” and that he couldn't have known a bite or attack was imminent. Instead, the law expects the dog owner to take all the necessary precautions to protect people from injuries caused by his dog.
Dog bites can put severe strain on personal relationships—as the offending dog is often owned by someone who is a friend, family member, or neighbor of the victim. California's strict liability law eliminates the needs for tense threats of litigation. Once the dog bite attack is reported, liability is automatic.
However, it is important to note that, while the strict liability statute protects the victims of dog bites, it doesn't necessarily offer complete protection for victims of other types of dog-related attacks or injuries. For example, if a large dog jumps up on someone and knocks them over, causing an injury, that injury may not be covered under the strict liability statute.
Public or Private Property
Victims of dog bites may worry about how the strict liability statute applies, based on the location where the attack occurred. The good news is that victims of dog bite attacks are protected by California's strict liability statute for dog bites, regardless of whether the attack occurred on public or private property. For example, if you were accosted and bitten by a dog while walking on a public sidewalk, you can seek compensation for your injuries from the dog's owner. Also, if you were bitten by a dog while you were lawfully on another person's property, you can also pursue a financial award.
However, there are some caveats associated with the strict liability statute. For instance, the statute may not protect you if you were trespassing on the dog owner's property or if you provoked the dog in question.
Our Attorneys Can Help If You Were Injured in a Dog Bite Attack
If you or your child were severely injured in a dog bite attack, you should not have to shoulder the financial burden of the attack all by yourself. California law allows the victims of dog bite attacks to pursue compensation for their injuries, including:
- Current and future medical expenses related to the attack
- Property damage, if applicable
- Lost wages if the attack or subsequent recovery period caused you to miss work
- Loss of earning potential if the attack was so serious that your injuries forced you into a position that pays less
- Pain and suffering, including physical pain and emotional stress related to your injuries
However, because there are some defense tactics an attacking dog's owner could attempt to employ, it's wise to secure the representation of a seasoned personal injury attorney who has experience handling California dog bite cases. For more information on California's dog bite laws or a no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of your dog bite case, contact the skilled injury recovery professionals with the Inland Empire Law Group. Our knowledgeable staff members in our Victorville and Rancho Cucamonga law offices are standing by to answer your questions—call us today!