Understanding Dog Bite Laws in California

August 28, 2023 by in Uncategorized

 California’s regulations regarding dog bite incidents are outlined in California Civil Code Section 3342, which states the following:

“The owner of any dog is responsible for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the owner’s property, regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s awareness of such behavior.”

California law ensures that dog owners are accountable for their dogs’ bites in most scenarios. However, there are exceptions where an owner may not be held liable. For instance, California’s dog bite statute does not apply to bites from dogs involved in military or police work when the bite occurs. Additionally, victims may not be entitled to damages if they were trespassing on private property, deliberately provoked the dog, or if the dog was protecting its owner or another individual in a self-defense situation. It is important to note that California’s dog bite laws only pertain to bites specifically, and not to dog attacks or accidents that do not involve a bite.

Understanding When to Pursue Legal Action for a Dog Bite in California

To summarize, a dog owner is generally liable for injuries caused by their dog’s bite if:

A dog bite victim will usually not be able to hold a dog owner liable if:

Compensatory Damages Available in Dog Bite Cases

The damages available in a dog bite case depend on the specific injuries sustained by the victim. A dog bite victim may be entitled to various compensatory damages, including:

In rare cases, punitive damages may be awarded as well. These damages are meant to punish a defendant who has engaged in particularly malicious or egregious behavior. To recover punitive damages, a dog bite victim must prove in court that the defendant willfully and consciously disregarded their rights or safety.

In situations where a dog bite leads to a person’s death, the victim’s family may be able to seek damages through a wrongful death claim under California’s wrongful death law.

How Can a Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney Assist a Victim?

A Los Angeles dog bite attorney can help a dog bite victim seek justice and secure the compensation they deserve for their losses. The specific assistance provided by an attorney will vary depending on the details of the case. A dog bite attorney may:

While it is possible for a dog bite victim to file an insurance claim independently, it is recommended to have a lawyer communicate with insurance companies, especially in cases involving more serious injuries. Insurance companies often offer low settlement amounts, taking advantage of the fact that victims may not fully understand the compensation they are entitled to. A dog bite lawyer with negotiation experience can advocate for fair compensation on behalf of their client.

While most dog bite cases are settled with insurance companies, there are instances where an insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith. In such situations, a dog bite lawyer can file a lawsuit to pursue rightful compensation.

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