California’s dog bite laws are laid out in California Civil Code Section 3342, which states:
“The owner of any dog is liable 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 property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
California law ensures that dog owners are liable for their dog’s bite in most situations. However, there are some circumstances in which an owner would not be liable. For example, California’s dog bite statute does not apply to bites from dogs that were engaged in military or police work when the victim was bitten. Dog bite victims are also usually not entitled to damages if they were trespassing on private property, if they deliberately provoked the dog, or if the dog was protecting their owner or another individual in a self-defense situation. Additionally, it’s important to note that California’s dog bite laws are also only related to dog bites, not dog attacks or accidents that don’t involve a bite.
To summarize, a dog’s owner will generally be 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 for their dog’s bite if:
The damages that are available in a dog bite accident case will depend on the specific damages a dog bite victim sustains due to their injury. A dog bite victim may be entitled to a variety of compensatory damages, such as compensation for:
In rare cases, the victim of a dog bite may be also able to recover punitive damages on top of compensatory damages. Punitive damages are monetary damages that are meant to punish a defendant who has engaged in particularly malicious or egregious behavior. Punitive damages can only be awarded by a judge. To recover punitive damages, a dog bite victim will have to prove in court that the defendant willfully and consciously disregarded their rights or safety.
In cases where a dog bite leads to a person’s death, the injury victim’s family may be able to recover damages on their loved one’s behalf. This particular type of dog bite case would fall under California’s wrongful death law, so the decedent’s family would be able to file a wrongful death claim.
A Los Angeles dog bite attorney can help a dog bite victim pursue justice and fight for their legal right to receive an appropriate amount of compensation for their losses. Every dog bite injury case is different, so exactly how an attorney may help a dog bite victim will depend on their specific case. A dog bite attorney may:
Typically, a dog bite case is settled with insurance companies. While a dog bite victim certainly can file an insurance claim on their own, we recommend using a lawyer to communicate with insurance companies, especially in the case of more serious injuries.
Having a lawyer as your advocate can significantly improve the outcome of an injury case. Insurance companies count on the fact that injury victims don’t fully understand the type of compensation they may be entitled to. Accordingly, insurance companies frequently provide injury victims with lowball settlement offers. However, a lawyer that has experience negotiating dog bite settlements will understand the exact type of compensation their client may be entitled to. A dog bite lawyer can aggressively negotiate with insurance companies in order to ensure that their client receives fair compensation.
While most dog bite injury cases are settled with insurance companies, sometimes an insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith. In this case, a dog bite lawyer can file a lawsuit in order to pursue appropriate compensation.
If your dog was attacked by another dog, this doesn’t fall under California’s dog bite laws. However, because California classifies dogs as personal property, you may be able to pursue compensation for property damage if your dog is attacked by another dog. If your dog was hurt by another dog, one of our personal injury lawyers may be able to assist you in pursuing compensation for your property damage.
California’s strict liability dog bite laws only apply in cases where a person is bitten during a dog attack. However, if you are injured in a dog attack that didn’t involve biting, you may still be able to pursue damages in cases of negligence. If you can prove that a dog owner’s negligence led to the animal attack or failed to prevent an attack, you may be able to hold them liable for your damages under personal injury law.
If you’ve been injured in a dog attack in Los Angeles that did not involve biting, contact LA Lawyers Group for a free case evaluation. Our personal injury attorneys can help you understand the options that are available to you according to the circumstances of your injuries and the attack.
In California, dog bites must be reported to local health officials, who will begin a mandatory quarantine process. This 10 day quarantine is designed to make sure a dog does not have rabies. Dogs that are considered low risk for rabies can sometimes be quarantined at home, while dogs that are considered high risk must be quarantined and monitored in confinement. Once it’s determined that a dog is healthy at the end of their quarantine, their quarantine can be lifted and they can return safely home if they were confined.
Typically, dogs that bite people are not euthanized. However, in certain cases a euthenasia hearing can be initiated, which can end with a dog being put down. A euthenasia hearing can be called if:
Essentially, a euthenasia hearing is held to determine whether or not a dog is a danger to the public. Anyone can initiate a euthenasia hearing, since it’s a matter of public health and safety. Most commonly, a euthenasia hearing will be initiated by either the dog bite victim, a member of law enforcement, an animal control officer, or a concerned neighbor. At a euthenaisa hearing, the person who initiated the hearing must prove that the dog is a danger to the public. A dog owner will have an opportunity to argue that their pet is not a danger to the public.
Every state has a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time a victim has to file a personal injury claim, such as a dog bite claim. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years. So, if you’ve sustained injuries from a dog bite in California, you have two years from the time you were bitten to file a claim or a case.