In California, if you were bitten by a dog, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the pet owner. Dog bites are serious matters, aside from the physical pain and anguish that may result from the bite, there is a great possibility that the injury will result in disfigurement and scarring. The emotional toll a dog bite can have on a person can affect him or her for the rest of his or her life.
California’s Strict Liability for Dog Bite Cases
In California, canine bite cases are regarded on a strict liability basis. This means that pet owners could be held liable for the injuries their pet causes to others, without regard to the pet’s propensity toward any aggressive behavior or prior history of attacks. In some cases, the owner can avoid accountability if the victim somehow provoked the canine to attack.
The California Civil Code §3342 states that the owner of a dog is responsible for the grievances sustained by any victim bitten by the canine while in a public place or legally in a private premise. This includes the property of the pet owner, regardless of the history of the viciousness of the canine or the pet owner’s knowledge of such aggression.
Although many states follow the one bite rule which exempts canine owners from responsibility if the dog has shown no previous behavior of aggression or has never attacked another person before, the state of California extends legal recourse to bite victims to seek restitution regardless of whether the animal was considered aggressive or dangerous.
In many cases, this is important as most bites involve dogs that are owned by relatives, neighbors, friends, or other acquaintances of the injured victim. A person who pursues legal action under the California Civil Code §3342, monetary damages are often paid through the pet owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy.
Dog Attack and Bite Cases that are Based on Negligence
Victims of animal attacks can also pursue legal action against at-fault parties when negligence is involved. In these scenarios, victims will need to demonstrate that the at-fault party was negligent and that this somehow led to the animal attack. In many cases, this can happen as a result of failing to exercise a reasonable sense of care for the safety of the victim. An example of this may be a pet store employee who after being distracted, has left the kennel open allowing the dog to escape. The rampant animal then knocked over an elderly customer, causing his or her injury. In this situation, the pet store could be held accountable for the victim’s injuries.
Seek Restitution, Consult the Support of a Qualified Dog Bite Attorney
Financial restitution can be awarded to a canine bite or animal attack victim for nearly any form of injury sustained. Compensation can cover medical costs, a loss of earnings, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and even property damage. Being able to recover the maximum amount of restitution can make all the difference a victim needs to fully recover.
If you were bitten by a dog or suffered an animal attack, consider speaking to a well-versed attorney who can answer your questions. The personal injury attorneys at RM Law Group, LLP have many years of experience helping victims of dog bites recover the compensation they need. Contact the firm today for a free case evaluation.