Overview of Dog Bite Law in California
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), dog bites and dog-related injury claims increased by 18 percent in 2016 and accounted for almost one-third of the total homeowner’s liability claims. California not only had the highest number of claims, but also the highest amount of total claims paid out of any state in the nation.
A dog bite in California can be a wildly disorienting and challenging experience for a victim. Many people can be reluctant to take actions they believe could cause struggles for dog owners—people who, oftentimes, may be close friends or family members. In some cases, victims have concerns about the welfare of the actual animal itself.
In truth, dogs are rarely euthanized in California for bite incidents. Some may be quarantined to ensure they do not have rabies. Dog attack victims may be entitled to compensation for damages that have resulted from the incident, such as medical expenses and lost wages.
California Dog Bite Laws
California Civil Code § 3342(a) states that a dog owner is liable for damages suffered by a person bitten by their dog in a public place or when the victim was lawfully in a private location. Unlike the “one bite rule,” many other states use when dog owners claim to have never seen canines exhibit aggressive behavior, California uses strict liability.
In addition to the state dog bite law, several municipalities have enacted their own measures that may allow for other possible liable parties in some cases. The distinction is important because while state law applies to dog owners, other local laws could make other parties such as dog handlers liable for failure to adequately control dogs in some cases.
California Dog Bite Damages
Certain people are unable to pursue compensation for dog bites in California. For example, trespassers cannot sue property owners for dog attacks.
Dogs used in police or military work are also exempt from state law. Victims may be accused of provoking the animals or having done something to make the dogs act out.
Provocation may be a valid defense in some cases, but it cannot be used against victims who are younger than five years of age. Children under the age of 5 are presumed to be incapable of negligence.
Dog bite victims can frequently be entitled to such compensation as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Find a Dog Bite Attorney in Los Angeles
If you or a loved one sustain severe injuries because of a dog bite or dog attack in Southern California, do not make any statement to an insurance company without legal representation. Contact the Los Angeles Injury Group right away.
Our Los Angeles personal injury attorney will fight to make sure that you receive every last cent of compensation you are entitled to. You can receive a complete evaluation of your case when you call (310) 954-7248 or contact us online today.