If you have been attacked by a dog, you may be wondering how the California dog bite laws might have an affect on your case. Here is what you should know.
California Dog Bite Laws | Strict Liability
California is one of many states that impose strict liability on dog owners whose dogs bite others. Strict liability refers to a legal theory where someone can become legally liable for certain types of harm, no matter what actions they took (or didn’t take) to prevent the harm. Within the context of dog bites, this means a dog owner is legally responsible for the injuries resulting from its dog biting another person. This liability exists regardless of whether the owner knew the dog could engage in such behavior and any steps the owner took to prevent the bite from happening.
California Dog Bite Laws | Exceptions to the Rule
There are a few exceptions to this strict liability dog bite rule. First, if the victim was trespassing when they were bitten, the owner isn’t likely to be liable for the dog biting the trespasser. Second, if the victim was harassing or taunting the dog when they were bitten, they cannot sue for the dog bite injuries. Third, dog owners of police and military dogs who bite a victim during the course of their duties will not be legally liable.
California Dog Bite Laws | Vicious Propensity
California’s dog bite laws differ from earlier dog bite laws where the dog owner would only be legally responsible if they knew the dog had a propensity to bite others. In reality, this meant that the dog owner was only legally liable for the dog’s second bite (with the first bite serving as notice to the owner that their dog has a propensity to bite others). This led to a somewhat cynical saying among legal professionals that “the first bite is free.”
If you need to know more about California dog bite laws, please call our Ventura dog bite lawyer today for a free consultation.