Are Careful Dog Owners Liable If Their Dog Bites Someone?
California Civil Code section 3342 says that people who own dogs can be held responsible for the harm from their dog's dog bite, no matter how carefully they guard or restrain their dogs. This means that negligence (carelessness) on the part of the dog owner is not required.
To prove a dog bite claim, the dog bite victim must prove all of the following:
1. The dog owner actually owned the dog;
2. The dog bit the person who got bitten while that person was in a public place or lawfully on private property;
If you were on private property, you must prove that you were there lawfully there for strict liability to apply. For example, suppose you were at the dog owner's house. Your lawful presence can be proven by text messages, phone records, emails or witnesses. However, some dog owners try to get around strict liability by painting you as a trespasser, or that you somehow provoked the bite.
3. The person who got bitten was harmed; and
4. The biting dog was a substantial factor in causing the bitten person harm.
What Is Dog Bite "Strict Liability"?
Strict liability means responsibility regardless of fault - - you don't have to prove that the dog owner was negligent. California Civil Code § 3342 makes an exception to the general rule that an owner is not "strictly liable" for harm caused by a domestic animal absent knowledge of the animal's vicious propensity. 2
In order to overcome efforts of a dog owner to get around strict liability, by trying to pin the injury on something else, I will carefully gather up the evidence. I'll fight to prove your case and pursue fair and full compensation.
Are California Dog Bites On The Rise?
California has the most dog bite claims of the 50 United States, and the numbers are rising. The Insurance Information Institute wrote that in 2019, California had 2,396 dog bite insurance claims, up from 2,166 claims in 2018. 1
Is A Dog Owner Strictly Liable Even If Their Dog Does Not Break The Skin?
Yes. A dog owner is on the hook even if the victim's skin was not broken. 4
What Are Dog Bite Related Injuries?
Besides the dog bite itself, if the dog attacks the victim and pushes them down, there can be other serious problems, such as.
- Back injuries
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Infection after an accident
- Internal injuries (organ damage)
- Knee injuries
- Loss of a limb
- Neck injuries
- Silent injuries
- Wrongful Death
How Do Dog Bites Cause Infection?
When a dog's teeth break or puncture the skin, millions of bacteria in a dog's mouth enter the bite wound. Some bacteria can enter your bloodstream, which can cause sepsis. Sepsis is when your own immune response to an infection damages your tissues, leading to amputation, organ failure, and even death.
Can Dog Bites Cause The Loss of a Limb?
The jaws of a dog can be so powerful that can result in the loss of a nose, fingers, or the loss of a limb. Depending on the type of bite, it may not be possible to reattach the bitten off limb or extremity (fingers).
Can Dog Bites Cause Neurological Problems To The Victim?
Can A Dog Bite Cause A Brain Injury (TBI)?
When it comes to dog bites, traumatic brain injury (TBI) can happen if a dog bites someone's head or knocks them down.
Should I File A Claim For My Dog Bite?
Even if your dog bite injury is not severe, the owner of the dog is still liable for the harm the bite caused to you. Only by making a claim for the dog bite can you recover your damages. An owner of a dog who bit and gets held to account for the harm done may be more careful with their dog, making it less likely that another person will suffer from a bite from the same dog.
Do I Really Need A Dog Bite Attorney?
You can handle your dog bite case on your own but it's not wise. If you want to maximize your recovery, you should talk to an attorney before you do anything besides: calling 911 and seek medical care. I'm Gardner Law's dog bite attorney Renée Yvonne Gardner. I speak Spanish - hablo español.
I have experience with dog bites, personal injury and wrongful death accident. If you were bitten by a dog, please contact me at (408) 214-5555 or fill out the below form for a free consultation. If your loved one passed away due to a dog bite, please call me about your wrongful death case.
None of the information on this website of Attorney Renée Yvonne Gardner is offered as medical advice. If you have been injured in any type of accident, please seek immediate medical attention and follow the advice of your doctor.