If you’ve been bitten by a dog and suffered serious injuries, you may be wondering if you can sue for compensation to cover medical bills and provide you with money to cover lost wages if you have to take time off of work. As a dog attack attorney in Los Angeles, we can tell you that according to California law, when a dog bites someone, the animal’s owner is liable for damages.
Liability Laws in California
If a dog bites someone in California, laws state that the owner is specifically liable for all civil damages. Even if the dog normally had a friendly demeanor, giving the owner no clue that they would bite someone, the owner remains responsible for the injury. As long as you had a legal reason to be on the owner’s property or were on public land at the time of the attack, you have a right to make a civil claim against the dog’s owner.
There are other parties who may be liable for a dog bite as well. Take, for example, a property owner who knowingly allows a vicious dog on their property. This puts them at fault, even if they don’t own the dog. Every case will vary based on the facts, leading to different determinations of who is responsible for each individual dog bite claim.
Defense Against Liability
Although the dog owner is usually liable for any injuries you sustain in an attack, our dog attack attorney in Los Angeles can confirm that there are two defenses that will get them off the hook. They include claims of provocation and trespassing. According to California state law, an owner is only liable for the bite if you were bitten at a public location or when legally on someone’s property. If you were illegally trespassing, you’re not entitled to compensation.
An owner is also not liable when a dog is provoked into biting someone. Provocation does not mean taunting or yelling at the dog but instead requires physical violence or a similar hostile condition taken against the animal.
Another rule in California is that the military and law enforcement officers cannot be held liable when service dogs bite someone while performing their duties. For example, if you’re bitten by a police dog during an arrest, you can’t file a claim against local or state police for the injuries. You may still be able to sue by showing that the police overreacted and using the dog was unnecessary, but that situation is not considered to fall under dog bite laws.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog through no fault of your own, contact a dog attack attorney in Los Angeles at Compass Law Group, LLP, to discuss your options. We can help you obtain the money you deserve for your physical and emotional injuries, putting you back on the track to good health.