What Should I Know About Dog Bites?

Southern California is a dog-friendly area. Many stores, cafés, restaurants, and bars specifically allow patrons to bring their furry friends along with them, and Southern California cities make it a point to keep and maintain dog parks for the convenience of pet owners. And for good reason: Dogs make for lovely companions. Unfortunately, dogs can also be dangerous. A vicious dog bite can severely injure an innocent victim, leading to broken bones, lacerations, permanent scars, loss of limb, and even death. If you were attacked by someone else’s dog in California, you have rights. Continue reading to learn about dog bite injury claims in California, and reach out to a knowledgeable Glendale dog bite and animal attack lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured by a dog in Southern California.

California’s Dog Bite Law

Different states have different laws addressing when and how dog bite claims may be brought against pet owners. Some states, for example, require that a dog already have a history of violent behavior for the owner to be liable for an attack. California law, however, imposes “strict liability” on dog owners. The owner of a dog who bites someone will be liable for the victim’s injuries even if the dog owner did not do anything wrong, and even if the dog has never before displayed violent tendencies.

To bring a claim for a dog bite injury against the dog’s owner, the plaintiff need only demonstrate the following:

● The victim was injured by the dog’s bite, and
● The victim was either in a public place or lawfully on private property when the attack occurred.

A trespasser, such as a burglar, cannot rely on California’s dog bite law to collect damages from the dog’s owner. There are a few other specific exceptions to the law as well, such as if the dog was carrying out lawful police or military work.

Additionally, for strict liability to apply, the victim must have been injured by a dog’s bite, rather than other actions of the dog. If, for example, a large dog tackles someone to the ground and they suffer head trauma, the victim can still bring a claim against the dog’s owner, but they will need to demonstrate that the owner was negligent in order to recover. The owner could dispute the claim by showing that they took reasonable precautions to prevent an attack, such as by restraining the dog with a proper leash.

Statute of Limitations

In California, the victim of a dog bite must file their legal claim within two years from the date of the dog bite. If the victim tries to file the claim after the two-year deadline, the case is likely to be thrown out.

Dog Bite Damages

If a dog attacked you or someone you care about, you could bring a civil claim seeking a variety of damages for your injuries. Dog bite victims can claim economic damages, which include medical bills (past and future) generated as a result of the injury and lost income as a result of time missed from work while recovering. Dog bite victims can also seek “non-economic” damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and psychological trauma caused by scarring, disfigurement, loss of limb, and other consequences of a dog bite.

Contact us for Help with a California Dog Bite Claim

If you were injured by someone else’s dog in California, get help seeking damages from a seasoned professional by contacting the dedicated and effective Glendale personal injury attorneys at McReynolds Vardanyan LLP for a free consultation at 818-855-2115.

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