If you’ve been bitten by a dog in California, you may be wondering what your legal options are. In this article, we’ll discuss the laws surrounding dog bite cases in California and the elements that you’ll need to prove in order to succeed in your claim. We’ll also touch on some of the defenses that may be raised in these types of cases, and provide some tips on how to protect yourself from future dog bites.
Overview of Strict Liability for Dog Bites in California:
California is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bite cases (Cal. Civ. Code § 3342). This means that if you’re bitten by a dog in California, the owner of the dog is automatically liable for your injuries, regardless of whether or not they were negligent. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you were trespassing on the dog owner’s property at the time of the bite, or if you were tormenting or teasing the dog, the owner may not be held liable.
Elements of a Successful Dog Bite Claim in California:
In order to succeed in a dog bite claim in California, you’ll need to prove several elements. First and foremost, you’ll need to show that you were bitten by a dog. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to have documentation of the bite, such as photographs or witness statements.
Next, you’ll need to show that the dog was owned by the defendant. If the dog was a stray, you’ll need to show that the defendant had control over the dog at the time of the bite.
Finally, you’ll need to show that you sustained injuries as a result of the bite. This will typically involve presenting medical bills and other documentation of your injuries.
Proving Damages in a California Dog Bite Case:
In addition to proving the elements outlined above, you’ll also need to show that you suffered damages as a result of the bite. These damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You’ll need to provide documentation of these damages, such as medical bills, pay stubs, and documentation of any time you had to take off work due to your injuries.
Defenses to a California Dog Bite Claim:
As mentioned earlier, there are some defenses that may be raised in a California dog bite case. For example, the dog owner may argue that you were trespassing on their property at the time of the bite, or that you were tormenting or teasing the dog. They may also argue that the bite was the result of your own negligent actions, such as approaching the dog in an aggressive manner. Whether the defense succeeds depends on the specific facts of the case.
Understanding Liability and Damages in California Dog Bite Lawsuits:
If you’ve been bitten by a dog in California, it’s important to understand your legal options. Under California law, dog owners are strictly liable for bites that occur on public property or while the victim is lawfully on private property. In order to succeed in a dog bite claim, you’ll need to prove that you were bitten by a dog owned by the defendant, and that you sustained injuries as a result of the bite. You’ll also need to provide documentation of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you’re facing a defense such as trespassing or tormenting the dog, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney to understand your options.
Our office represents victims of dog bite injuries throughout California. If you have been injured, reach out to our office for a free consultation.