Is a Dog Owner Liable for Your Injuries?
Being bitten by a dog is a frightening and painful experience. Victims of all ages can receive severe, life-altering injuries and children, who tend to be the most frequent victims of dog attacks and bites, may even suffer catastrophic injuries and/or death. In California, dog owners are nearly always liable for the actions of their pets—with few exceptions. If you, your child, or your loved one was bitten by a dog, an experienced Los Angeles dog bite lawyer at Saeedian Law Group can help you understand your rights and take legal action against the liable party.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We are available 24/7 by phone at (310) 288-3000.
Understanding California’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Rule
California is known as a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bites. In the simplest terms, this means that you do not need to show that a dog owner acted negligently in order to hold him or her responsible for your dog bite injuries. Furthermore, dog owners cannot claim that they didn’t know their dog would bite or act aggressively as a valid defense to liability.
In order to bring a dog bite claim against the owner, you simply need to prove the following:
- Your injuries and other damages were caused by a bite from the owner’s dog
- The dog bit you in a public place or while you were legally on private property
It is important to note that the rule of strict liability only applies when a victim is bitten by a dog. If you are injured by a dog but the dog does not bite you, you may still be able to bring a claim against the owner, but you will likely need to prove that the owner acted negligently.
For example, if a dog owner allows her dog to roam off-leash in a public park where you are jogging and the dog runs up to you, jumps on you, and knocks you to the ground, resulting in you breaking your arm, you will likely be able to prove that the owner was negligent in unlawfully allowing her dog to run free.
Exceptions to Dog Owner Liability
There are very few exceptions to the strict liability dog bite rule—but they do exist. Generally speaking, you typically cannot bring a dog bite claim when the dog in question is a police or military animal in the line of active duty. Additionally, a dog owner may be able to fight back against your injury claim if he or she asserts that you provoked the dog or were trespassing on private property when the bite/attack occurred.
While many dog owners are responsible and take precautions to ensure that others are not at risk of being bitten, other dog owners are less careful. At Saeedian Law Group, we believe that negligent and reckless dog owners should be held accountable when their pets harm other people. We also believe that you shouldn’t have to suffer the financial consequences of a devastating dog bite injury on your own, regardless of how responsible or irresponsible the dog owner was. Our personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.