California Dog Law

California Dog Bite Statute

While dogs have long been considered to be man's best friend, times do arise where they bite the hand that feeds or attempts to pet them. Whether it is a large dog or even a small dog such as a chihuahua, a dog's bite can be very serious. In many cases, not only will puncture wounds and deep lacerations be present, but also damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. In the most severe cases, victims may be disfigured due to scarring and require extensive plastic surgery. Whatever the case may be, victims have legal options. If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog and need to know your legal possibilities contact Gutierrez Law. We will do everything possible to help clients gain the compensation they need and deserve for their injuries.

California Dog Bite Statute

Once you consult with an attorney for domestic animal disputes, much of the discussion about your case will focus on California's dog bite statute as it pertains to liability. Under this statute, whether a dog has shown itself to be vicious, the dog's owner is held liable for injuries sustained by the victim. Thus, the statute allows victims to seek compensation without having to prove the owner was at fault. To learn more and begin possible legal action speak immediately with Gutierrez Law, a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles with a track record of success winning such cases.

The Dog Owner's Defense

While state laws are tilted heavily in favor of dog bite victims, owners do have some legal defenses they can use. The most common is proving the victim assumed the risk of being bitten by the dog. However, unless eyewitnesses can corroborate the story or there is video evidence of the assumption of risk, this defense often falls flat in court. Should you be facing a situation where a dog owner is using such a defense against you, seek out advice from a trusted lawyer.

Potentially Dangerous Dog

When you are involved in a dog bite case, it will usually come down to having your dog attack lawyer in Los Angeles prove the dog should be classified as "potentially dangerous." Generally, this refers to any dog that when unprovoked and within a 36-month period has on at least two occasions caused serious injuries to other animals or people who were not on the owner's property at the time of the incident. It will require extensive work from your attorney.

Vicious Dog

Though the definitions are similar between a "potentially dangerous dog" and a "vicious dog," there are also key differences that could matter substantially in your case. When classifying a dog as "vicious," the state statute defines this as a dog that when unprovoked seriously injures or kills a person. Serious injuries may be muscle tears or disfiguring lacerations that require multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery to correct. In addition, a dog may be classified as "vicious" if it continues to exhibit dangerous behavior even after previously being classified as such. To ensure your case focuses on the correct classification of the dog that injured you or a loved one, put your trust in an attorney for domestic animal disputes.  

Legal Responsibilities of Owners

Once dogs are classified as either "potentially dangerous" or "vicious," owners have certain legal responsibilities. For example, they must confine them in an enclosure that prevents them from escaping as well as keep children from gaining access. Along with this, the dogs will be allowed off the owner's property only if they are supervised, under restraint of a leash, and controlled by a responsible adult. Due to the dangers these dogs may be to the public, cities and counties maintain the right to prohibit ownership of such dogs.

Owner Liability

When "potentially dangerous dogs'' injure people, the owner is liable for a $500 fine and other damages. Similarly, when a "vicious dog" injures or kills a person or animal, the owner can face a $1,000 fine and additional damages under the state dog statute.

If you or a loved one are dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite or attack, hold those responsible accountable for their negligence and carelessness. To do so, schedule a consultation today with Gutierrez Law. Our attorneys will fight to help obtain compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.