Dog Bite Laws In California

Dog Bite Laws in California help deal with the effects of a dog attack. They aim to protect victims and make sure they get fair compensation. However, dog bites can lead to complicated issues. Victims often deal with urgent medical needs like the risk of infections and expensive treatments such as rabies shots. They also need to understand complex legal procedures. Additionally, they must prove who is liable, deal with insurance issues, and negotiate for fair compensation.

This blog will provide you with guidelines on California’s dog bite laws, how to file a dog bite claim, and the potential challenges with insurance.

CA Dog Bite Laws

Your rights and owner's responsibilities

As a victim, you have the right to seek fair compensation for any injuries sustained due to a dog bite. California’s strict liability law ensures you receive the support and justice you deserve after an incident.

On the other hand, owners must ensure their dogs do not threaten others. This means controlling them in public spaces and ensuring they’re well-trained to act safely around people. They must leash their dog in public spaces. The owners must exercise reasonable care to prevent their dogs from biting others. This means keeping an aggressive dog away from strangers or ensuring the dog can’t leave the owner’s property.

The owners must also vaccinate their dogs against rabies when they reach the age of four months. They must obtain a license that typically requires proof of rabies vaccination, which must be renewed annually.

In case their dog bites, the owners must immediately report the authorities.

Strict liability laws

Strict liability laws make the owners responsible if their dog bites someone on public or private property. This means that the dog bite victim does not need to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent or that they knew the dog could be dangerous. Under strict liability laws, the main concern is that the dog bite occurred, not whether the owner tried to stop it or knew it could happen. There are, however, some exceptions in how strict liability laws are applied across different areas. Common exceptions include:

  1. Trespassing: The owner will not face strict liability if the individual bitten by the dog was trespassing unlawfully at the time of the incident.
  2. Provocation: The owner will not bear strict liability if the victim’s actions provoked the dog to bite.
  3. Working Dogs: Strict liability does not cover owners of working dogs. For example, it does not cover police or military dogs when these dogs are performing their duties.
  4. Posted Warnings: Displaying clear warnings about the dog, such as “Beware of Dog” signs, reduces the owner’s liability in some places.

Filing a dog bite claim in California

Filing a dog bite claim in California

Filing a dog bite claim in California involves several steps to ensure you maintain your safety and follow the proper legal procedures. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Immediately wash the wound with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection. Then, apply an antibiotic cream.
  • Seek urgent medical care, as dog bites can lead to serious infections like rabies, tetanus, or bacterial infections.
  • Report the dog bite incident to the relevant authorities for further guidance and to document the event. The authorities might include local animal control, the police, or other relevant agencies.
  • Take photographs of the injuries, accident location and any evidence of the dog’s ownership, such as tags or collars. Also, gather the contact information of the witnesses.
  • If possible, try to identify the dog’s owner. Their information is essential to file a claim, as owners are typically responsible for the dog’s actions.
  • Consider consulting with a personal injury attorney with experience in dog bite cases. They can guide you on your legal options.

Each case is unique, so we suggest you consult a legal expert who can provide personalized advice based on your situation. Contact us at (888) 254-3222 to evaluate your case for FREE!

What You need to know about compensation?

Compensation for dog bite cases in California operates under strict liability laws outlined in California Civil Code Section 3342.

Compensation sought in dog bite cases includes economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages, covering medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and more.

Challenges in securing compensation

Getting compensated for a dog bite can be tricky due to multiple factors, which include:

Proving Ownership: One of the primary challenges is establishing the dog’s ownership. The victim must prove that the defendant owns the dog that bit them. However, this can sometimes be difficult, especially if the dog is a stray or the owner denies ownership.

Insurance Issues: Sometimes, the dog owner’s homeowners’ or renters’ insurance covers dog bite liabilities. However, dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, as they may attempt to minimize the payout or deny the claim based on various policy exclusions.

Dog’s Behavioral History: Proving a dog’s history of aggression can strengthen a victim’s case, but it can also be challenging if there are no documented incidents or witnesses are unwilling to testify.

Statute of Limitations: Victims have a limited time frame to file a lawsuit for a dog bite injury in California, typically two years from the date of the incident. Failing to file within this period can result in losing the right to sue for damages.

Emotional and Psychological Injuries: While physical injuries might be easier to document and quantify, emotional impacts can be just as debilitating. Proving these impacts can be more complex and requires expert testimony.

Solving the challenges of dog bite cases often requires legal guidance and persistence to ensure fair compensation for your damages.

Measures to prevent dog bites

Preventive measures require a multifaceted approach that prioritizes training animals and informing humans about safe interaction with pets.

The importance of training and socializing pets

Training and socializing pets are important; the owners should teach appropriate obedience commands to the dogs. Here are a few steps the owner can take to socialize the dogs:

  • Use rewards to promote good behavior and reduce aggression. Reward-based training helps build a positive relationship between you and your dog based on trust, respect, and cooperation.
  • Make sure dogs meet different people and animals and explore various places so they’re calm in any situation. Regular exposure to diverse individuals and locations promotes positive behavior and confidence in the dog.
  • Like humans, dogs require regular physical activity to maintain their health and well-being. So, give them plenty of exercise to help them stay physically and mentally healthy.
  • Dogs are intelligent creatures that thrive on mental stimulation. In addition to physical exercise, it’s essential to challenge their minds with activities that engage their problem-solving skills and cognitive abilities. Mental stimulation keeps dogs entertained and prevents boredom-related behaviors such as excessive barking, digging, or chewing.

Encouraging humans to do safe interactions with dogs

Adopting these preventive steps can lower dog bite risks and encourage safer dog-human relationships in our community.

  • Understand Dog Body Language: Reading dog body language can help you understand their feelings. For example, A relaxed posture, wagging tail, and relaxed ears are generally good signs. However, a tucked tail, bared teeth, or raised hackles indicate that you should give the dog space.
  • Don’t Disturb Eating or Sleeping Dogs: Dogs react negatively if startled while eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies. We need to always give them space during these times.
    Teach Children How to Interact: Ensure children understand how to approach dogs safely and know that they should never tease or invade their space without supervision.
  • Be Mindful of Stray or Unfamiliar Dogs: Maintain a safe distance from stray or unfamiliar dogs. If a dog appears aggressive or scared, do not attempt to interact; instead, slowly back away while facing the dog.

How can Nordean Law help to take legal action after a dog bite?

california personal injury lawyer

If you’ve become a victim of dog bite injury, taking prompt action is crucial to protect your rights and seek compensation for your injuries. Here’s how we can assist you to help you receive lawful compensation on time:

  • Legal Guidance: Our experienced team will provide you with personalized legal guidance. Working with us, you will clearly understand your rights, options, and potential outcomes.
  • Investigation: We’ll conduct a thorough investigation to strengthen your case and enhance your chances of securing fair compensation. From comprehending the circumstances surrounding the dog bite and gathering evidence to calculating your compensation, we’ll make meticulous investigations to ensure you receive justice.
  • Negotiation: We’ll handle negotiations with the dog owner’s insurance company for a favorable settlement covering your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
  • Litigation: If negotiations fail, we’ll take your claim to court and advocate for your rights in the courtroom to achieve the best possible outcome.
  • Compassionate Support: With us, you will experience consistent updates, unwavering support, and a sense of empowerment.

At Nordean Law, we’re dedicated to helping dog bite victims obtain the justice and compensation they deserve.

Get started on your path to justice with a FREE consulting session. Our legal team operates on a contingency basis, meaning you pay NOTHING until we win your case. Learn how we can help you take action after a dog bite.

Contact us now at (888) 254-3222.

Picture of Author Bio
Author Bio

Samuel ‘Sam’ Nordean is a founding partner of Nordean Law, APC. He is passionate about standing up for people who struggle with accidental injuries and mistreatment from insurance companies. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degrees in Biochemistry from Portland State University. He then earned his Juris Doctor degree from Chapman University School of Law. Sam started Nordean Law to commit to helping people who cannot fight for themselves. His strengths are in representing victims in car accidents, fatal accidents, negligence cases and liability accidents.

Picture of Author Bio
Author Bio

Samuel ‘Sam’ Nordean is a founding partner of Nordean Law, APC. He is passionate about standing up for people who struggle with accidental injuries and mistreatment from insurance companies. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degrees in Biochemistry from Portland State University. He then earned his Juris Doctor degree from Chapman University School of Law. Sam started Nordean Law to commit to helping people who cannot fight for themselves. His strengths are in representing victims in car accidents, fatal accidents, negligence cases and liability accidents.

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