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Dog Bite Lawyer

California has strict laws regarding dog bites and holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their pets. This means that if a person is bitten by a dog in California, the owner of the dog is automatically responsible for the victim’s injuries, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. This is established under California Civil Code Section 3342(a), which states that the owner of a dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog. In addition to being strictly liable for dog bite injuries, California law also requires dog owners to take all reasonable steps to prevent their dogs from biting any person or animal, as outlined in California Health and Safety Code Section 121775. This article will provide an overview of California dog bite laws and the process for filing a lawsuit in the event of a dog bite injury.

Relevant Laws

Under California Civil Code Section 3342(a), the owner of a dog is strictly liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog. This means that if a person is bitten by a dog in California, the owner of the dog is automatically responsible for the victim’s injuries, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. In addition to this strict liability, California law also requires dog owners to take all reasonable steps to prevent their dogs from biting any person or animal, as outlined in California Health and Safety Code Section 121775. This means that even if a dog has never shown any signs of aggression or viciousness, the owner can still be held liable if the dog bites someone and the owner did not take reasonable steps to prevent the bite from occurring. It is important for dog owners to be aware of these laws and to take appropriate precautions to prevent their dogs from biting others.

Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit in California:

If you have been bitten by a dog in California and wish to file a lawsuit against the owner, you will need to file a personal injury claim. The first step in the process is to gather evidence of the bite, including medical records and witness statements. It is important to document the bite and your injuries as thoroughly as possible, as this evidence will be crucial to your case. In addition to gathering evidence, it is also important to determine the extent of your injuries and any resulting damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This will help you to determine the value of your claim and the amount of compensation that you may be entitled to.

Once you have gathered all necessary evidence, you can file a complaint with the court and serve it on the defendant (the dog owner). The defendant will then have the opportunity to respond to the complaint and the case will proceed through the legal process, which may include negotiations for a settlement or a trial. It is important to note that the legal process can be complex and time-consuming, so it is important to be patient and to seek the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney if necessary.

Defenses to Dog Bite Lawsuits in California:

Despite California’s strict liability laws for dog bite injuries, there are several defenses that a dog owner may raise in a dog bite lawsuit. One common defense is that the victim was trespassing or otherwise unlawfully on the property of the dog owner at the time of the bite. If the victim was trespassing or committing some other illegal act, the dog owner may be able to argue that the victim was partially or fully responsible for the bite. Another defense is that the victim provoked the dog or was otherwise responsible for the bite. For example, if the victim was teasing or harassing the dog, the dog owner may be able to argue that the victim’s actions contributed to the bite.

It is important to note, however, that these defenses may not be successful if the victim can show that they were acting peacefully and lawfully at the time of the bite. California’s strict liability laws for dog bite injuries are intended to protect victims and hold dog owners accountable for their pets’ actions. If the victim can demonstrate that they were not at fault for the bite, the dog owner may still be held liable for the victim’s injuries. It is important for dog owners to be aware of these defenses and to understand that they may not be able to use them in every case.