Many homeowners, and even some private business owners, keep dogs. Sometimes, the dogs are kept as pets and companions, and in some cases, a dog is kept as part of a security system. Regardless, however, if you’re bitten by a dog on the dog owner’s property, you may have questions about what your rights are, and whether or not you should file a lawsuit. Here’s a look into what you need to know–
Dog Owners in California Are Strictly Liable for Damages Caused by Their Animals
The statute regarding liability for damages caused by dog bites and attacks in California is clear: language states that “The owner of any dog is liable for damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog…lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog…”
This means that even if you were on the dog owner’s property, so long as you were there lawfully, which means that you were not trespassing at the time of the incident, you can hold the dog owner strictly liable for your injuries, meaning that you do not have to prove negligence.
What If I Was Trespassing at the Time of Dog Attack?
If you were trespassing at the time of the dog bite, you no longer have the right to hold the dog owner strictly liable for your damages. However, you could hold the property owner liable for their failure to use reasonable care to keep the property in a safe condition.
California Civil Jury Instructions, section 1001. Basic Duty of Care, reads that landowners are negligent if they fail to use reasonable care to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition, and that they must use reasonable care to discover unsafe conditions, repair and replace unsafe conditions, or/and give adequate warning of unsafe conditions. The instructions continue to read that duties are no longer imposed under rigid classifications of trespasser, licensee, and invitee.
If a dog is known to be dangerous or aggressive by the dog owner, yet the dog owner fails to restrain it or prevent it from causing harm to those who enter the property, the dog owner may be found negligent as such, and held liable for your harm.
Contact the Allen Law Firm Today to Learn More About Your Rights if Bitten by a Dog
Dogs can be loving and cuddly, but also dangerous and terrifying. What’s more, when a dog attacks, the potential for serious harm to the victim is great.
If you have been attacked by a dog in California, even if you were on the property of the dog’s owner at the time of attack, and even if you were trespassing, you may still have a cause of action. To learn more about your rights and how to recover compensation for your losses, call our law firm today. We will work hard for you.