California is one of several states that has a strict liability statute for dog bites. This means that the owner of a dog is liable for any injury caused by the animal unless the victim specifically committed an action that negates that liability.
California is very supportive of victim’s rights when someone is bitten by a dog. The victim does not have to prove negligence or any other aspect of the case beyond the fact that the dog bit and that injury resulted. Victims can also sue for injuries other than bites. For example, if a dog lunges at a person and causes him or her to fall, those injuries may be covered under the California statute
A victim may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and temporary or permanent disabilities caused by the injuries.
There are a few circumstances in which the owner of a dog may have a valid defense to a personal injury claim. If the victim was trespassing on the property illegally or deliberately provoking the dog, he or she may not be able to claim negligence on the part of the owner. Additionally, there are special rules that apply when a victim is injured by an employer’s dog while working or when performing paid services involving a dog.
However, there are special rules that apply when a child is bitten. Children under the age of five cannot be considered to be provoking a dog, and a child who is following an adult’s instructions also cannot be held responsible for injuries that result. Provocation means not just teasing or playing with the dog but doing something such as inflicting pain on the dog that would justify aggressive behavior on the part of the animal.
The dog’s owner, as well as a landlord or anyone who has care and control of the animal, may be the subject of a personal injury lawsuit. In order to determine who is liable, it may be helpful to talk to a personal injury attorney like Dan Gilleon of San Diego.
Daniel M. Gilleon has been helping the victims of dog bites and other injuries for many years and has the experience to help you effectively resolve your case. Contact him today for a free consultation about your dog bite injuries.