Dog bites


California is a “strict liability” State when it comes to dog bites. This means, that unlike Nevada and other “one bite” States, a dog owner need not be on notice of their dog’s dangerous propensities in order to be liable for injuries their dog causes in California.

California Civil Code Section 3342 reads:

“The owner of any 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, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.”

However, there are some important exceptions to this rule. Since California is a “comparative fault” State, the victim of a dog bite can expect to have their damages reduced if their negligence or wrongdoing somehow contributed to the bite. For instance, if someone trespasses and is bitten, or provokes the dog, their award will be reduced by their percentage of fault in the incident.

Dog bites are unique in that they typically require very little treatment outside of the initial visit to the doctor. Despite the low medical bills, dog bites usually fetch significant monetary damages. In other words, the ratio of medical bills to winnings is typically very high in the context of a dog bite case.

Children are often the victims of dog bites. When a child gets a scar on their face, it is a lifelong injury. An adept personal injury attorney can capitalize on this, and get the child compensated significantly. The money is then put into a blocked account that the child can only access after their eighteenth birthday. Another option is an annuity that gains value over time. Give us a call today if you or someone you know was bitten by a dog!

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