Dog being walked by owner

Own a Dog? Learn About California Dog Bite Liability

California does not have a “one bite” rule that protects owners from liability if their dog had bitten someone before or the owner knew the dog was vicious. In California, the owner of a dog will be strictly liable when their animal bites or attacks someone.

If you got hurt because someone else’s dog attacked or bit you, a  California dog bite attorney can help you seek money damages from the animal’s owner for your injuries and other losses. You do not want to wait too long, because there is a deadline for taking legal action.

Are There Exceptions to a Dog Owner’s Liability?

Yes. One cannot go around tormenting dogs and then sue the owner if the animal responds physically. If a person provokes a dog, the owner is not liable for the individual’s injuries. 

One cannot sue the owner if the dog bite or attack happened while the injured person was trespassing. The California dog bite statute holds dog owners liable only if their animal injures someone who was in a public place or was lawfully on private property. 

If a police dog or military canine injures someone while performing its duties properly, the person injured cannot collect compensation from the military or law enforcement agency. Also, if a dog defends the owner or a third party from an attack, the owner is usually not liable.

Can the Dog Owner Be Liable if Their Dog Bites a Postal Worker or Meter Reader?

Yes, because under California law, people who are on the property of others while performing their duties legally are considered as being legally on the property. You do not have to invite them onto your property. Dog owners are expected to secure the areas where these workers need to go to perform their official duties to keep these individuals safe from the risk of attack by the owner’s animals.

Types of Money Damages in California Dog Bite Cases

California law does not limit the dollar amount that a person could recover for a successful dog bite case. The facts of your situation will control the kinds of losses for which you could seek compensation.

Here are some of the categories of losses in these injury claims include:

  • Medical expenses to treat the wounds, for example, the ambulance, emergency room, hospital doctors, surgeries, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.
  • Skin grafts and scar revision procedures.
  • Lost wages during the recuperation from the attack and medical interventions.
  • Lost future wages if the attack or injuries leave the plaintiff unable to earn as much money as before.
  • Pain and suffering for the physical discomfort, emotional distress, and inconvenience the injured person experiences.
  • Other intangible losses, like disfigurement from the physical scars or dismemberment, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and loss of enjoyment of life caused by the dog attack. 

Some homeowners’ insurance policies specifically exclude dog bite or animal attack claims from coverage. In this situation, the dog owner will have to pay the money damages out of his own pocket. You will want to talk to a California personal injury attorney if you were the victim of a dog bite or attack from someone else’s animal. For legal help, get in touch with our office today, we gladly offer a free consultation.