Dog Bites

DOG BITES AND THE CALIFORNIA LAW

The law in California creates a liability when the victim is harmed without the usual necessity of proving a previous vicious act of the dog, or the knowledge of its dangerous habits on the owner’s part. Dog bites often result in significant, and sometimes permanent, scarring, and those personal injuries generally require evaluation by expert, plastic surgeons.

In Orange County California, as the injured party, you need to prove that the Defendant’s dog bit them and that the Defendant is responsible for that harm. People who own dogs can be held responsible for the harm from a dog bite, no matter how carefully they guard or restrain their dogs. To establish a claim, the injured party must prove all of the following: (1) That the Defendant owned a dog; (2) That the dog bit the injured party while he/she was in a public place or lawfully on private property; (3) That injured party was harmed; and (4) That Defendant’s dog was a substantial factor in causing the injured party’s harm. A bite through the skin is not necessary for these rules to apply. It should be noted the injured party must have been lawfully on private property of the owner if he/she was performing any duty required by law or was on the property at the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.

A keeper of a dog, in contrast to an owner, is not an insurer of the good behavior of a dog, but must have knowledge of the vicious propensities of the animal before liability for injuries inflicted by such animal shall attach to him. Certain defenses may apply to any particular situation and this includes what is known as assumption of the risk or comparative negligence. These are rarely an issue in typical dog bite cases.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE A VICTIM

When you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog attack, it is important to get the medical and legal help you need.  While some of these cases may seem straightforward, they are often defended vigorously by insurance carriers who may try to blame the victim or at least discount the severity of the injuries and damages sustained.