IWV Legal proudly serves clients throughout Kern County on Personal Injury cases.
California holds dog owners strictly liable for dog bite injuries. Our lawyers at IWV Legal can help you better understand how these laws apply to your dog bite injury and help you build a strong case for damages. There are some specific elements that your case must contain in order to be a successful claim. Our attorneys are innovative advocates who will explore a range of legal strategies that fit your unique case. We will work one-on-one with you to assess the details of your situation and how you can claim the damages you are due.
Schedule an initial consultation with IWV Legal to get started on your dog bite injury case.
California also implements a law that holds dog owners liable for not taking reasonable steps to remove any danger of future attacks when they know their dogs have bitten others before. If the dog that bit and injured a person has previously bitten a person in two separate incidents or is a trained attack dog that has seriously injured someone with a single bite in the past, the injured individual can sue the dog owner. In severe cases, the court may order the owner to take appropriate measures for preventing future attacks, such as removing the dog from the premises. This scenario does not apply to dogs who have bitten trespassers (individuals unlawfully treading on private property) or working police or military dogs.
Dogs deemed “dangerous” also render the dog owner liable under California’s dangerous dog laws. A dangerous dog is one that has:
- forced people to defend themselves from unprovoked, aggressive behavior in two or more separate incidents during the past three years;
- bitten a person unprovoked, resulting in an injury that isn't severe; or
- killed or injured a domestic animal without provocation twice in the last three years.
If the dog bite case alleges the dog to be dangerous, the court will arrange a hearing with animal control or law enforcement to confirm whether the dog is dangerous. Dangerous dogs are required to be kept indoors, in a fenced area, or on a secure leash. Failure to properly restrain the dangerous dog will render the dog owner liable for their negligence in taking the legally required precautions, and they may also face criminal penalties.
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Dog bite claims should be filed within two years of the date of the injury. A successful case may allow the injured plaintiff to recover civil damages for things like medical bills and pain and suffering if the injuries are severe. If the dog owner has violated California’s dangerous dog laws, or if they didn’t keep their dog under control despite knowing its danger or mischievous tendencies, they may be liable for the above civil penalties as well as “wobbler” (misdemeanor or felony) criminal penalties.
It is always best to act with caution when approaching dogs, especially when you do not know how they might react. However, dog owners may not always be aware or thoughtful enough to restrain a dog that might bite, in which case you may suffer serious injury. Whether you have been injured in a minor dog bite accident or a serious accident caused by a dangerous dog, you have the right to sue the dog owner for damages. Our attorneys at IWV Legal can guide you through the legal process and help you take the necessary steps to claim compensation for your injuries. Your case may very well make a difference in saving future pedestrians from a dangerous dog or negligent dog owner.
Who Is Liable in a Dog Bite Accident?
Under California injury law, a dog bite is when a dog grabs a person with its teeth, whether or not they tear into skin. When it comes to dog bite injuries, California operates under “strict liability” laws. This means dog owners are responsible in most cases for dog bites, whether or not they knew their dog to be dangerous or capable of hurting someone. However, this strict liability rule only applies if the injured person was bitten by the dog and was either in a public place or lawfully on private property.
A dog attack that does not involve an actual bite may not be handled according to the above strict liability laws, but an injured person may still make a damage claim based on the dog owner’s negligence.