Since dog bites result from an animal’s—rather than a human’s—behavior, determining liability is tricky. Moreover, a dog bite can result in serious injuries, from soft tissue lesions to broken bones and long-term deformities. Fortunately, basic guidelines within California law and assistance from a professional dog bite lawyer can help you navigate the ambiguity of dog bite litigation.
For such legal guidance in Los Angeles, CA, look for help from Davana Law Firm. We’ll assist from start to finish, offering sound legal advice and representation along the way. Furthermore, our experience and confidence allow us to delay all fees until your case resolves successfully. For more information and a free case evaluation, call (818) 501-1055 or visit our website.
Below, we discuss how legal professionals determine liability in California dog bite cases:
California Dog Bite Laws
According to California’s dog bite statute, liability depends upon whether a claim meets the following criteria:
- The injuries sustained were directly caused by a dog bite
- The incident occurred in a public place or lawfully on private property (including the dog owner’s property)
- The injuries did not result from a police or military dog fulfilling its legal role
Let’s clarify a few details. First, California’s dog bite statute only applies to bites, as opposed to other dog behaviors. For instance, if the dog scratches or pushes you down, the dog bite statute does not apply. That said, California’s negligence laws may apply to a scratch or push if you argue that the owner failed to take reasonable care of their dog.
California law characterizes it as a “strict liability” state for dog bites, meaning that owners cannot escape liability by claiming negligence or that they didn’t expect the dog to harm someone. Even if the dog has never before been aggressive, the owner cannot relinquish responsibility for the damages.
If you’re a dog bite victim, you need only show the bite occurred while in public or lawfully on private property. You need not prove the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s propensity to bite or failure to take reasonable action to secure the dog.
California’s Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Victims
The statute of limitations—or deadline to file a lawsuit—for dog bites in California is 2 years. In other words, dog bite victims have 2 years after the incident to file a personal injury complaint in California’s civil court system. It’s more than likely the court will dismiss your case if you fail to file within the 2-year deadline.
A California Dog Owner’s Defenses to Liability
Despite its “strict liability” status, California law does afford dog owners opportunities to defend against liability claims. For instance, a defendant could claim the plaintiff was unlawfully trespassing on private property when the incident occurred.
In instances concerning a police or military dog, a defense could claim the dog was carrying out its lawful duties or provoked by the victim. These claims, of course, only apply if the dog was in service at the time and the enforcement agency was abiding by its explicit policy for canine management.
Consult an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer in Los Angeles, CA
If you find yourself a victim or defendant of a dog bite injury claim in Los Angeles, CA, consider discussing your situation with the expert dog bite lawyers at Davana Law Firm. If we take on your case, we guarantee to charge no fees until we win. Learn more about a free case evaluation at (818) 501-1055 and start taking steps toward receiving the compensation you deserve.