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California Dog Bite Laws You Should Know

When you go for a walk or head to the park, you are probably used to seeing dogs being walked by their owners or running around and playing with toys. As cute and fun as all of these dogs might be on most days, it can be difficult to predict an animal’s emotions and actions. They might lash out and bite without warning when feeling agitated.

If a dog bites you, can you hold the dog’s owner liable? California’s dog bite laws could help you seek damages for the resulting injuries and damages, like medical bills.

California’s Strict Liability Rules for Dog Bites

In California, dog owners can be held strictly liable for any harm their pet causes, which means a dog bite victim can practically-always file a claim against a dog owner for compensation. In some states, a dog owner can be excused of some or all liability if they did not have any reason to suspect that their dog would attack someone. California has not adopted this rule.

A dog bite victim’s claim can remain valid even if the dog owner made reasonable attempts to control their animal and prevent the attack. As long as the dog hurts someone, the owner can be liable for their damages. The same is even true if a dog causes an injury inadvertently, such as knocking someone over while playing fetch.

There are some exceptions, though. Generally, a dog bite claimant is expected to have been either in a public place or lawfully in a private location. If you were illegally trespassing and were bitten by a guard dog, for example, then you would have a difficult time demanding compensation for your injuries. A dog and its owner have also been excused in many cases after it is proven that the dog only bit after it was intentionally provoked or injured by the claimant. This exception might not apply when it is a child who is bitten, though.

What Happens If a Dog Bites Another Dog in California?

Are you allowed to sue another dog owner if their dog bites your dog? In California, pets are considered property in most legal contexts. While this might seem insensitive, it is actually beneficial to you if another dog hurts your dog.

Under California’s dog bite laws, you can file a claim for all damages resulting from a dog attack, including property damage. Since your dog is technically property, you can demand compensation for any damages related to your dog’s care, i.e. veterinary bills. What you cannot do is demand compensation for noneconomic damages like pain and suffering, no matter how clear it might be to a reasonable person that your dog is suffering and experiencing new hardships due to its injuries.

We’ll Fight for You & Your Dog

At BD&J, PC, we know that your dog is not just a pet, they are a family member. If you or your dog has been bitten by someone else’s aggressive dog, then we can fight in and out of court on your behalf. We show all of our clients the utmost respect and care when working on their cases, including our four-legged friends.

Our Beverly Hills dog bite attorneys are standing by to hear your story and give you a voice in pursuit of fair compensation for a dog bite or animal attack. Fill out an online contact form now and someone from our firm will get back to you as soon as possible.
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