In California, the statute governing incidents of dog bites is known as the “strict liability” statute. This simply means that no matter the dog’s history of aggressiveness, the dog’s owner can be held financially responsible for any injuries resulting from a dog bite.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a dog attack, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer—someone who can walk you through and handle the difficulties that may arise in a dog bite claim. The Santa Barbara dog bite attorneys at the Law Offices of John B. Richards are here to help.
Certain states operate under a “one bite rule” which holds dog owners liable for dog-bite injuries if they were aware of a dog’s tendency to be dangerous. If a dog has bitten someone or shown aggression before, the owner is put on notice of the dog’s dangerous predispositions. Once on notice, the owners will be held liable if the dog bites someone, claiming the owner should take precautions to assure people’s safety around the dog.
In 1931, California replaced the one bite rule by enacting the state civil code 3342, or the strict liability law for dog bites. This law makes dog owners strictly liable for bites that happen either:
Some important exceptions to the strict liability rule, including:
If these exemptions apply, dog bite victims cannot hold the owner strictly liable, but they can still file for compensation if there is proof the owner was negligent.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 800,000 people receive medical care for dog bite injuries each year, nationwide. These injuries may seem minor at the time and get worse over time, or they can be severe from the outset.
Some injuries most common with dog bites include:
Strict liability only covers bite injuries, but other injuries happen when dogs knock people down or trample them. Scratches, bruises, cuts, broken limbs, head trauma, and other injuries occurring when a dog overpowers a person are not applicable under strict liability law. In these cases, victims will need to file a personal injury claim, holding owners accountable for negligence.
California law says the dog owner is liable if the victim was bitten in a public place or while lawfully in a private location, and if the victim did not provoke the dog, even if the dog had never shown aggressive tendencies.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a dog bite, contact the Santa Barbara dog bite attorneys at the Law Offices of John B. Richards for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 805-683-2736.