August 8

Who is Liable for a Dog Bite Injury? Understanding Legal Responsibility

Experiencing a dog bite injury can be frightening and life-changing; therefore, it’s important to understand who is legally responsible for such events. Knowing the precise dog bite laws that apply to Pasadena, California is crucial for defending the rights of injured parties and ensuring fair compensation. In this blog post, we’ll examine California’s dog bite laws, pinpoint the parties at fault, go over the variables affecting liability, and look at your alternatives for pursuing damages. To preserve your rights and seek justice after suffering a dog bite injury, you must consult with a knowledgeable California dog bite lawyer.

I. Understanding Dog Bite Laws in California:

While there are different dog bite laws in every state, there is a strict liability statute for dog bites in California. This law holds dog owners accountable for dog bites, regardless of whether the dog had previously bitten a person or had harmful tendencies.  California adheres to the “one-bite” rule, which means the dog owner is responsible for the first bite itself, unlike some other states. This offers great protection to those who have been bitten by dogs because they do not need to show that the dog has a history of biting or hostility.

In some circumstances, specific exceptions and defenses might be applicable. The dog owner might not be found at fault, for instance, if the injured party provoked the dog or was trespassing on private property. Both parties involved in a dog bite incident must be aware of these subtleties.

II. Identifying the Responsible Party

In most cases, the primary party held responsible for a dog bite injury is the dog owner. It is the responsibility of the dog owner to ensure that their pet is under control and does not pose a risk to others. However, in some instances, other parties might also be liable.

For example, if the dog bite occurred on someone else’s property, such as a rental property, the property owner or landlord might be held liable if they were aware of the dog’s presence and potential danger. Additionally, if a dog bite occurs while the dog is under the care of a dog walker or caregiver, they could share liability as well.

III. Defenses and Mitigating Factors:

Dog owners might use several defenses to argue against liability:

  1. Actual Bite:  California law specifically refers to dog bites.  So if I dog runs into a victim, or knocks them over, strict liability does not apply, even if the person was injured.  
  2. Victim provocation: If the victim provoked the dog, it could reduce the dog owner’s liability. Even unintentional provocation like stepping on its tail, or invading its space. 
  3. Trespassing: If the dog bite occurred while the victim was unlawfully on private property, the dog owner’s liability might be mitigated.

IV. Seeking Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries:

If you’ve suffered a dog bite injury, you may be entitled to various forms of compensation, such as:

  1. Medical expenses: This includes the cost of emergency care, surgeries, rehabilitation, and ongoing treatment.
  2. Lost wages: If the injury caused you to miss work or affected your earning capacity, you may seek compensation for lost wages.
  3. Pain and suffering: The dog bite compensation can take into account both the physical and emotional pain.
  4. Scarring or disfigurement: Compensation may also cover any permanent physical scarring or disfigurement resulting from the dog bite.

Understanding legal responsibility in dog bite injury cases is essential for residents of Pasadena, CA. California’s strict liability statute makes it clear that dog owners are accountable for their pets’ actions. However, other factors can also influence liability, and there might be potential defenses. If you’ve been a victim of a dog bite injury, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Law GBG, experienced Pasadena injury attorneys specializing in personal injury cases. Seeking legal advice promptly can help you protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Click here for a complete guide to hiring a personal injury attorney.


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Pasadena, CA 91103
United States