California is known for being the harshest state when it comes to penalizing dog owners for causing injury to other persons, but what happens when another dog attacks your dog and causes it injury?
This is the question we asked our Los Angeles dog attack attorney at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg. Under California’s dog bite statute, dog owners have a right to sue other dog owners when another dog attacks their own dog. But the process of suing for damages caused to a dog is very different from the process of recovering damages caused to humans.
Dog biting a human vs dog: Does it make any difference in California?
While California’s dog bite statute protects persons from dog bites and makes dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog’s injury, these protections do not apply to dogs the same way.
Our experienced dog attack attorney in Los Angeles explains that California law classifies dogs as “personal property,” which is why any injury caused to your dog will be classified as “property damage.” And under California law, you are entitled to compensation for property damages.
Therefore, in order to receive compensation for medical expenses and sue another dog owner for injuries caused to your dog or other pet, you must file a property damage claim against the negligent dog owner (if you were injured in a dog attack, you would be bringing a personal injury claim).
How the owner can be held liable when his dog bites another dog?
Now that we have established that you do have a right sue dog owners when their dog bites yours, in what situations can dog owners be held liable for their dog biting another dog under California law?
Liability occurs when a dog owner damages another dog owner’s property as a result of negligence, carelessness or recklessness. In that case, we are talking about dogs as the property.
There are a few exceptions to the general rule. You cannot file a property damage claim against the owner of a dog that injured your dog unless:
- The dog owner had notice of the dog’s vicious tendencies, aggressive behavior or otherwise knew that his/her dog was dangerous;
- The dog owner was negligent per se because he or she violated a state or local law (such as failing to keep his/her dog on leash) that is intended to protect other humans and animals.
What damages can be recovered when your dog was bitten by another dog?
If you are suing another dog owner over a dog attack that left your own dog injured, you may be able to recover the following damages:
- The reduction of the dog’s market value caused by the injury (this one applies if your dog attends dog shows or is a valuable breed);
- The cost of medical treatment associated with your dog’s recovery after the injury;
- Damages for the intentional infliction of emotional distress (if the dog attack was a result of the defendant’s recklessness or it was an intentional attack); and
- Punitive damages (if the injury was caused by recklessness or an intentional attack).
Our Los Angeles dog attack attorney explains that in order to succeed in your efforts to sue another dog owner for causing injury to your dog, you will have to find proof that the dog owner had notice of his/her dog’s aggressiveness or vicious tendencies. Our lawyers at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg can help you with that. Call our offices at 310-997-0904 or fill out this contact form to schedule a free consultation.