Experiencing a dog bite can be physically, mentally, and emotionally traumatic. The memories of the event can linger long after scars have formed and wounds have healed. California state law makes it clear that owning a dog comes with inherent dangers. State law reflects that owners need to take these dangers seriously or it is even more likely they will be held responsible for damages incurred by others. The seriousness with which the state considers dog bites is very much reflected in its strict liability dog bite law. Dog owners and dog bite victims need to be aware of this law.
California’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Law
In some states, there is a “one bite rule” in effect for dog bite cases. This means that a dog owner will only be held liable for damages incurred due to their animal attacking someone else if the animal has previously bitten someone or otherwise displayed dangerously aggressive and violent tendencies. California law makes no such allowances. California state law imposes strict liability on dog owners. In other words, if a dog bites someone else, the owner can be held liable in a civil lawsuit for the damages incurred by the bite victim regardless of whether or not the dog has ever bitten someone in the past or previously displayed any behavioral indications that it may be dangerous or violent.
If you have been the victim of a dog bite, you will not be required to file a police report in order to pursue a lawsuit against the owner. California law does, however, require both the dog owner and the dog bite victim to report the dog bit to the local county health officer. Doctors in the State of California also have an obligation to report dog bites for which they provide medical treatment. Filing the report with the county health officer is more of a precautionary measure to help ensure that the dog does not carry rabies. Filing the report does not mean that the owner of the animal will be prosecuted pursuant to California’s criminal laws.
Under California’s statute of limitations, you have two years from the date of the dog bite or attack to file a lawsuit. California law states that a dog owner will be held liability for injuries sustained in a dog attack if the attack victim did not provoke the animal and the person was bitten while on public property or while lawfully present on private property. This means that trespassers who sustain dog bites in California will usually be unable to recover damages for their injuries due to the fact that they were not lawfully present on the property of another.
Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been the victim of a dog bite or dog attack, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for the harm you have suffered. Consult with the team of trusted attorneys at SoCal Injury Lawyers to explore your options for recovery. Contact us today.