Dog Bite Victims and Owner Liability

Dog bites are far more common – and dangerous -- than many San Fernando Valley residents realize. On average, insurers nationwide pay out over $1 billion in claims related to animal bites each year and one-third of the money paid out through homeowners' liability claims are related to dog attacks. It may or may not surprise you that California is among the states with the highest total number of fatal dog attacks. Dog bite victims often suffer a lifetime of painful and life-altering injuries; including deep skin wounds, loss of fingers, infections, disfigurement, and scarring.

While each state has its own laws about dog bites that your personal injury lawyer can address with you, in California, there is no such thing as a "one bite rule" or disputed liability. In other words, a dog owner is "strictly liable" for the injuries caused by their dog and is automatically responsible to pay for your damages. Therefore, it is not necessary for you, the injured victim, to prove that the dog that harmed you was known to be vicious or had a propensity to bite.

Under California law, in order to recover financially for a dog bite injury, your lawyer must show:

  1. The defendant owned the dog,
  2. The dog bit the victim,
  3. The victim was lawfully on the premises where the dog bite took place, and
  4. The dog bite caused the victim's injuries.

Indeed, Section 3342 of the California Civil Code clearly states that the owner of any dog is 'liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while the person is in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.'

Again, dog bites can be serious and leave long-lasting physical, emotional, and mental scars. If you or your loved one has been injured by a vicious or dangerous dog, do not be afraid to stand up for your legal rights with the help of a skilled personal injury lawyer.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation | Attorney Advertising

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