Posted on Thursday, May 14th, 2020 at 5:03 pm    

During the COVID-19 shut down, many people decided it would be a great time to add a new dog to their family because they were home and had time to devote to a new pet. However, new dog owners need to understand their responsibilities and liability under California dog bite laws.

Three Important Things All New Dog Owners in California Need to Know

1.  You are responsible for your dog’s actions.

California Civil Code Section 3342 is the dog bite statute in California. In California, dog owners are strictly liable for dog bites and dog attacks. In other words, you can be held personally liable if your dog bites another person. You can be responsible for compensating that person for a variety of damages, including:

  • Medical expense
  • Loss of income
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Permanent disabilities, impairments, scarring, and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Travel expenses for medical treatment
  • Cost of personal care

The only facts that a person needs to prove to hold you personally liable for damages are that you owned the dog; the dog bit the person in a public place or when the person was on property lawfully; the person was injured; and, the dog bite was the source of the injury.

2.  There are some exceptions to strict liability for dog bite claims.

There may be an exception to strict liability for a dog bite claim. If the person was trespassing on private property, you might not be liable. This exception generally does not apply to children.

Also, you may not be liable if the victim assumed the risk or was partially at fault for the injuries. For instance, the person intentionally provoked the dog or was warned to stay away from the dog, but chose to come close enough to be bitten by the dog.

It is your responsibility to raise these defenses to a dog bite claim. It could be challenging to overcome the strict liability laws for dog bites in California.

3.  Dog bites can cause severe complications and long-term impairments.

Dog bites can cause severe injuries. Common dog attack injuries include:

  • Deep puncture wounds
  • Broken bones
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Secondary infections
  • Soft tissue damage, including muscle, tendon, and nerve damage
  • Injuries to the face and hands

However, even minor dog bite injuries can cause severe problems. A dog bite that barely breaks the skin can cause serious infections that could become life-threatening.

The more serious the injury, the higher the value of a dog bite injury claim. As the dog owner, you could be responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

Contact a Sacramento Dog Bite Injury Attorney for Help

If you or your child has been bitten by a dog or injured in a dog attack, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. The dog owner, property owner, landlord, and other parties may be liable for your injuries and damages.

Contact The Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 or by visiting our website to schedule a free consultation with one of our Sacramento dog bite lawyers.

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