Dogs make great pets for many California families, but not all dogs are safe around strangers and visitors. When a dog causes someone an injury, that dog’s owner may be liable for the damages it has inflicted. This post will introduce readers to 3 important facts about dog bite and attack laws in California, but as with all other posts on this blog, readers should recognize that no legal advice is conveyed herein. Their trusted personal injury attorneys can advise them how best to proceed in their specific dog attack cases.
Fact #1: Where a dog attack happens matters to the victim’s recovery
Many people take their dogs everywhere and for this reason some dog attacks and bites happen on public land. Generally, when a victim is attacked on public land or in a public space, the owner of the attacking dog will be held liable for the victim’s injuries. This also holds true when a victim is attacked on private land and that victim had permission to be there. If a dog attack victim is injured while illegally entering private land, they may not have the same options to seek their damages as victims who had the right of entry.
Fact #2: There are two standards for dog bite and attack cases
When a dog uses its mouth and bites a victim and causes injuries, the owner of the dog can be held strictly liable for the victim’s damages. This means that the victim does not have to prove negligence on the part of the dog owner to recover their damages. However, if a dog attacks and causes of victim injuries without biting, then the victim may have to prove negligence to recover their losses. Strict liability and negligence are two different legal standards that dog bite victims can discuss with their personal injury attorneys.
Fact #3: Dog bite laws generally do not apply to working dogs
Dog bite laws are generally applicable to privately owned dogs. Dogs that are working actively as police dogs or military dogs are not covered by these rules. For example, a police dog that pursues and bites a suspected criminal during an arrest may not be subject to the strict liability laws imposed on private citizens in the state.
This introduction to dog bite and attack laws in California is not comprehensive. Readers should not rely on its contents as legal advice. When a victim suffers injuries from a dog, it is important that they seek medical help to recover from their harm. They can then choose to speak with a personal injury attorney about their possible claims and rights.