Dog bites can occur in public or private places, including the property of the dog owner. California is one of the states with strict liability laws on dog bites, which hold pet owners responsible for most bite injuries. When victims sue for compensation for their damages, it doesn't matter if the owners knew that their dogs had bitten someone before. This means they can't argue that they didn't know their dogs could be dangerous, or that they were responsible for preventing animals from hurting someone.Most states are strict liability or negligence states when it comes to dog bites.
California is a state of strict liability, which means an owner cannot evade liability for a dog bite by claiming that he had no idea that the dog would act aggressively. The owner is responsible for all damage resulting from a dog bite, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before.If the victim of the bite was a minor (under 18), California law does not apply the “one bite” rule for most cases. Instead, state law strictly holds dog owners accountable for injuries caused by their dogs, even if the animal has never bitten someone previously or has shown aggressive tendencies.The statute of limitations (time limit) for suing in California is two years, and this period begins to count on the date the bite or attack occurs. Dogs are considered the personal property of their owners in California, so when a person's dog is “damaged”, the usual cause of action is property damage (or a darker legal theory known as “breaking and entering”).
The victim's restitution for property damage is generally limited to the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged property.Yes, although such cases are rare, California law allows recovery of punitive damages if the owner or trainer acted “maliciously”, for example, if he wrongly ordered the animal to attack. The process of requesting euthanasia for a dog that bites can be initiated by any interested person, including, but not limited to, the bite victim, a government official or even a neighbor.To recover punitive damages in a dog bite case, the plaintiff must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant's actions amounted to “oppression, fraud or malice”. Dogs that work for the police or military and bite or injure someone while performing specific police or military duties are exempt from this law. Talk to your lawyer about your lost wages and lost earnings potential and make sure they are taken into consideration when you file your lawsuit.The one-bite rule is different from a strict liability rule for dog bites because it requires proof that the owner did something wrong.
While California's strict liability law seems relatively simple, it's a fairly limited statute, and there are a number of exceptions and other factors you should consider when trying to get compensation in this type of personal injury case.Given the high number of dog bite attacks in California, there are laws that address these situations. Please also note that there are protections for dog owners and that not all bites are considered equal under the law. California courts have ruled that owners are generally exempt from liability if their dogs bite veterinarians or veterinary assistants during treatment.If the person who has been injured in a dog bite case demonstrates all of those elements, they may recover monetary damages. These civil procedures cannot be based on a dog's history of biting intruders or on bites from working police or military dogs.
Strict liability means that unlike other types of personal injury cases, there is no need to prove that the dog owner was negligent or knew that the dog was likely to bite and injure someone in order for their claim to be successful.Because states can change their laws at any time, it's always a good idea to review current California statutes with this search tool. Dog sitters (police or military) cannot be sued either if the animals in question bit someone while executing a court order or if they were protecting the people they were with.But remember, you will need to take these extra steps to prove your case if you were injured by a dog, but not by a bite (i.e., if you were injured by being knocked down by a large animal).