Who is Liable in a Dog Bite Case?

California’s Dog Bite Law

California imposes stringent laws against the owners of dogs who act viciously. If you were the victim of a dog bite accident, you might be eligible for compensation. The following information details such incidents and how you can approach an attorney or legal specialist for a possible settlement.

There is no gray area in California’s dog bite law. Section 3342 of the civil code assigns responsibility to the dog owner in certain circumstances. They are typically accountable for intentional or accidental bites that occur on public property or private property. The state created the code to protect people victimized by dogs whose owners knew they were capable of causing harm. The “one bite” rule is an additional safety measure. It means that the court can hold the owner liable the very first time the pet attacks an individual or animal.

Exceptions to 3342

A few situations may exclude the pet owner from taking responsibility for the bite.

  • The first instance is when the victim was trespassing on private property. In other words, the law will not protect those who were engaged in criminal or mischievous behavior.
  • Police officers and military personnel are exempt from the statute as well if their dog bites someone while performing its duties. For example, the court will not hold the police precinct responsible for puncture wounds during a chase or arrest involving criminal activity.
  • The code does not protect victims who’ve provoked animals prompting their attack outside of petting or engaging in friendly behavior. Your Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will have to review the case extensively to tell if you can receive compensation for your injuries.

The statute only covers dog bites, not scratches or any other types of injuries. A dog attack lawyer will review the events leading up to the attack and then decide whether you can proceed with the case and obtain a monetary award.

The Logic of Negligence

Experienced attorneys can help you get a monetary reward for your claim based on the defendant’s negligence. The law sees the owner as the sole responsible party for any actions that his or her pet does as they spend the most time learning its tendencies. Owners are also responsible for ensuring that the dog stays well-mannered in social activities free from risk. Failing to train their furry companion, use a leash, or monitor them outside are signs of negligence. These factors can affect the outcome of a personal injury case with the help of an experienced Los Angeles attorney for dog attack disputes.

Monetary Rewards for Dog Bites

The money you receive for your dog bite injury can cover many expenses. The compensation can pay for:

  • Hospital/medical bills
  • Medication/treatments
  • Physical therapy
  • Loss of income from time off work

The first set of damages we evaluate are called compensatory damages. It primarily rewards you for what you lost. The second type of damages that your lawyer can help you get is called punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the offender for extremely negligent behavior. If you have strong evidence that shows extraordinarily negligent conduct, it will be easier to enforce this ruling. For example, you have a strong case if the dog owner intentionally and willfully ordered their dog to bite you.

Contact an Attorney to Discuss the Case

Don’t allow a dog bite to affect your life. Contact a legal expert if someone’s pet has victimized you. At Gutierrez Law we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t pay a penny unless our attorney wins the case for you. That takes the stress out of the matter and gives you the motivation to move forward. If you’re ready to begin your claim, give our law offices a call to schedule a free consultation.