Dog Bite Compensation Under California Law

Dog Bite Compensation Under California Law

Sustaining a dog bite injury can be a harrowing experience. Enlisting the help of experienced attorneys who are well-versed in California’s dog bite law can make a stressful situation easier and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

When a dog bite happens, it is essential seek medical attention and track down the owner to find out if it is up-to-date on vaccinations. Under California law, the dog owner is strictly liable for the injuries caused by their dog, which means that the law does not allow for a dog owner to dispute who was at fault. Regardless of the circumstances the dog owner is automatically responsible for your damages.

There are exceptions— if the victim trespassed upon property where the bite occurred, the dog owner may be released from liability. The strict liability rule concerning dog bites is outlined in California Civil Code section 3342. Liability under Civil Code section 3342 applies only to dog owners.

There are two essential elements that are necessary to prove to a dog bite claim: Proof that the defendant is the owner of the dog that attacked; and that a dog bite occurred.

A skilled attorney can help you retrieve compensation for the following:

  • All past and future medical, psychiatric, surgery and physical therapy bills.
  • Lost wages and past and future loss of earning capabilities
  • Loss of enjoyment and quality of life.
  • Pain, suffering, emotional distress and inconvenience.
  • If a pet is injured or killed by the attacking dog, recovery of all veterinarian bills and/or compensation for the loss of your pet.
  • Property damage
  • Punitive damages (damages meant to punish the dog’s owner for misconduct)
  • Any and all other appropriate damages permitted under California law.

In addition to Civil Code section 3342, the owner or keeper of a dog can be held strictly liable under traditional legal principles (common law) if he or she has a knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities and knows that the dog has a proclivity to bite humans. The strict liability rule under common law not only applies to owners but anyone who has custody, care or control of the dog.

While California’s dog bite law is fairly straightforward, it is always wise to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer who can help you or your loved one get compensation for the damages you have suffered, support you through the process, and allow you to tend to the business of healing.

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