Each year, there are millions of reported dog bite attacks across the nation. Many of these attacks result in severe infections, disfigurement, scarring and sometimes even death. The State of California understands that the consequences of a dog bite can be dire for a victim.  As a result, California has a strict liability law for dog bites.

Strict liability means dog owners are strictly responsible when their pet bites a person, regardless of whether the pet owner knew the dog had aggressive tendencies. As a result of California’s strict dog bite law, dog owners cannot make the argument that they had no knowledge the dog was dangerous, or that they took precautions to ensure the animal was secure.  Even as California’s dog bite law works to help victims after a dog bite injury, this law has certain limits.

Limitations on California’s Strict Dog Bite Law

The strict dog bite law in California holds dog owners strictly responsible when their dog bites a person. Dog owners will only be held responsible if the injured person was bitten while in a public place or was lawfully in a private place at the time of the incident.  Dog owners will not be held responsible if the dog bite occurred while the injured person was unlawfully on the dog owner’s premises.

According to California Civil Code §3342, any person carrying out a legal duty is considered to be lawfully on private property. This means that mail carriers can file a claim when they are bitten by a dog while on the property of the pet owner.  However, bite claims may not be allowed when the person injured was bitten by a police or military dog that was carrying out its official duties. Finally, dog owners will generally not be held accountable if the injured person was taunting or provoking the dog before the bite occurred.

Dog owners may still be held accountable if their dog bit the person, but did not break the skin. For example, when the injured person was injured when he fell off a ladder after the dog closed its jaw on the person’s pants.

Dog Owner Negligence

As previously stated, dog owners will not be held strictly responsible in California when the dog does not bite a person.  Nonetheless, after suffering injuries after a dog attack, there are other legal options.  Dog owners can be held liable for the victim’s injuries if they are found to be negligent in securing the animal at the time of the incident. For instance, a person who is injured when a dog jumps on him or her causing a fall that results in a broken ankle can pursue a claim against the pet owner on the basis of negligence.

Obtain the Legal Support of a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Attorney

Dog bite and attack cases are complex and require the support of an attorney who is aware of current applicable laws. If you have been injured by a dog in California, you may be eligible for compensation that can cover your medical expenses, time that is taken off work and emotional distress. Discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney who will advocate on your behalf.

Gary G. Goldberg, Attorney at Law is highly experienced in handling a wide variety of dog injury cases in California.  Mr. Goldberg possesses the legal knowledge and experience needed to obtain proper compensation. After a dog bite or attack injury, contact Gary G. Goldberg, Attorney at Law. Complete the online contact form or call (951) 788-8325 to schedule your no-obligation consultation today.