While some dog bites cause only minor injury, other bite injuries can result in serious physical damage, mental health repercussions and even inability to work. Sometimes, the dog’s owner may have legal responsibility for the expenses associated with the dog bite.
Review California’s stance on this issue if you or a family member has suffered significant injury from a dog bite.
California goes by the strict liability standard for dog bites. Under this type of law, the dog’s owner has legal liability for a bite that caused injury resulting in monetary damages if the bite occurred in public. This also applies if the animal bit you when you were legally at the plaintiff’s residence or business (by invitation or on official duty, for example). You do not have to prove that the dog owner should have known that the dog was aggressive or that the dog bit someone before.
Liability does not apply to injuries that occurred while trespassing on private property.
Types of injuries
The dog bite law in California does not apply to general dog attacks. For example, if you broke your arm when a dog knocked you over on the sidewalk, the strict liability standard would not apply. However, you could argue that the dog owner’s negligence contributed to the incident in a personal injury complaint.
You have two years to file a lawsuit after a dog bite or related personal injury in California. Seek immediate medical attention and keep a detailed record of the costs for care associated with your injuries.