Is California a Strict Liability State for Dog Bites?
In California, the law favors dog bite victims. In most situations, if a dog bites another person, the dog’s owner will responsible for the injuries stemming from the bite. This is largely due to California’s dog bite statute that imposes strict liability on dog owners for injuries caused by their pets.
What is Strict Liability?
Strict liability is a legal term that means that a person will be liable for injuries if the accident occurs regardless of fault. In a typical personal injury accident case, an injured person must show that someone acted negligently or unreasonably. For example, if someone tripped on a rug in a store, that person would have to prove that the store acted unreasonably in having a tripping hazard on its premises. In dog bite cases, a victim does not have so show that anyone acted with negligence.
Thus, it is not a defense for the dog owner to say that the dog was wearing a muzzle or that the owner took other reasonable precautions to prevent the accident. The fact that the dog bite occurred means that the accident victim should be compensated for his or her injuries.
The California dog bite law specifically states that a dog’s former viciousness or lack thereof does not factor into whether someone will be considered liable. Because the dog bite statute imposes strict liability, typically dog bite cases are easier to prove.
What are the Requirements to Prevail in a Dog Bite Case?
There is one requirement under the law that dog bite victims must prove. The dog bite victim has to be attacked in a public place or a private place where the victim was lawfully. If you are invited into a home and are attacked inside, you are lawfully in a private place. So long as this requirement is met, strict liability will apply and the dog’s owner will be responsible for paying for your damages.
Who Actually Pays for My Injuries?
Dog bite injuries can be severe and compensation can be high. Many dog bite victims incur medical expenses, lose income because they miss work, and experience significant physical and emotional pain and suffering. If the attack has left the victim scarred or disfigured, there will be additional compensation.
Typically, the dog owner does not have to pay out of pocket. Rather, there are likely insurance companies that are liable. Insurance policies can be difficult to interpret and many times the insurer will argue that there is no coverage under the policy.
This is where a trained dog bite lawyer can argue on your behalf. A lawyer will be able to determine what insurance policies cover the accident and argue to a court that they do in fact provide coverage.
Many people know the owner of the dog who attacked them and are relieved to find out that this friend or acquaintance will not have to pay directly. The representation of an attorney can also help prevent any personal issues from arising between neighbors or acquaintances after a dog bite.
Contact a Huntington Beach Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you have been bitten by a dog, you have a limited time to bring your claim As a result, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with an Orange County dog bite lawyer, call the Law Offices of Brent W. Caldwell today at 714-625-8914 or get in touch with us through our online contact form.