If you own a dog in California, you have a legal responsibility to keep your dog under control at all times, including ensuring it is securely enclosed within your property while at home, and carefully controlled on a leash whilst in public. Being attacked by a dog is no laughing matter, and can potentially result in devastating injuries. When the victim is a small child, the physical injuries and emotional after-effects can be even more severe and long-lasting. To ensure that the people of Los Angeles are safe from your dog, and to avoid your dog becoming involved in a tragic accident, there are some points you should be familiar with, relating to California law.
What Does “Strict Liability” Mean in California Dog Bite Law?
The term “strict liability” manages to be both self-explanatory and vague at the same time. What it means, when it comes to California dog bite law is that any victim who files a suit against a dog owner after being bitten will be compensated for their damages, once they can prove that specific dog inflicted their injuries. This applies even where you, as the owner, had no knowledge of the dog’s aggression, or where the dog has no history of being aggressive in the past.
To file a suit under strict liability, the victim must also prove that:
- They were bitten by a dog
- When the bite was inflicted, the victim was either in a public place, or in a private place with permission
Those who have been bitten by military or police dogs, or while trespassing, cannot claim under strict liability.
Dangerous Dog Laws, and Why a Bite Is Not a Prerequisite for a Lawsuit
If you have been attacked by a dog, you may be interested to learn that you do not necessarily have to be bitten to have a valid claim against a dangerous dog. While you cannot file under strict liability without a bite occurring, a Los Angeles dog attack attorney could assist you with claiming under dangerous dog laws. For example, this could apply where a dog bites your bicycle tire, causing you to fall and injure yourself.
To successfully claim in these circumstances, you, and your Los Angeles dog attack attorney, must prove the following:
- The owner of the dog was negligent, perhaps by failing to keep the dog on a leash in public, or to keep proper control over a retractable leash
A dog may be considered dangerous, under California law, where:
- The dog has bitten without being provoked, perhaps resulting in serious injury
- The dog has been allowed off the owner’s property, and has forced people to defend themselves against its behavior, at least twice in the past three years
- Or the dog has killed or injured another animal while unleashed and away from its owner’s property at least twice during the past three years
Attacked by a Dog in Los Angeles? Speak to an Experienced Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog in or around Los Angeles, and you feel you may have either a strict liability or dangerous dog claim, you should consult an expert attorney as soon as possible.