California is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites—– Part 2

Posted by on Jul 4, 2019 in Questions and Answers | 0 comments

California is a strict liability state as related to dog bite injury claims. This means that the owner is liable for the damages caused by their dog biting another person, whether it’s the dog’s first time injuring someone or not.

California Dog Bite Law: Civil Code § 3342

According to California Law, Section 3342, the dog owner is liable for the damages it causes a victim who is bitten by the dog. The dog bite can occur in a public or private place, including the dog owner’s property.

The dog owner is liable for such damage regardless of the fact that the dog never displayed such viciousness in the past. This applies to victims who are on the dog owner’s property legally. This includes those conducting business on the property—such as postal workers—or those invited onto the property by the owner, such as guests.

Also, if any dog bites another person while defending itself from a provoking, annoying or harassing act, then the dog owner likely will not be held liable.

In addition, the law applies to situations where an actual dog bite has occurred. If a person is injured by a dog’s jumping or scratching, then they are not covered under this law. However, they do they have the legal right to file a negligence claim against the dog owner.

California also has laws that place extra responsibility on the dog owner if a previous attack has occurred. Under California Law, Section 3342.5, an owner of a dog who has previously bitten a person must take reasonable care to prevent future bites from occurring. Once a dog has bitten a person on two separate occasions, the district attorney will assess the situation and look at the circumstances to see if the dog owner took the appropriate steps to keep the dog away from others and prevent a dangerous situation from occurring.

Depending on the facts involved, the district attorney may take the appropriate steps to prevent such a situation in the future. This may include removing the dog from the home, or in extreme cases, euthanizing the dog.

If a dog caused injury to a person with no biting involved, then the victim can file a negligence claim. The victim has the burden of proving that the dog’s owner did not use reasonable care, and that this lack of care caused an injury to occur.

For example, a dog could have jumped up on a child and scratched his or her face. A dog could have knocked over an elderly person, causing broken bones or head trauma. In these cases, the victim must show that the dog owner did not properly restrain the dog with a leash or fenced-in area and this lack of restraint caused the injuries.

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