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How do I prove fault in a dog bite case in California?

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2021 | Dog Bite Injury |

Dog attacks are very common throughout the nation. This is quite unfortunate given that most of these attacks are preventable if dog owners act responsibly. 

If you’re bitten or a loved one is a victim of a dog attack, it is important that you seek medical help as soon as possible. Next, you need to explore your legal options so you can receive the compensation you are entitled to for your damages. Towards this, you need to know what California law says about liability in a dog attack case. 

California is a strict liability state

The legal doctrine that governs personal injury claims that arise from dog attacks in the state of California is known as the “strict liability” doctrine. This doctrine presumes that the dog owner is liable for any injury caused by their pet unless proven otherwise. 

It does not matter whether the dog owner had no knowledge of their pet’s aggressive nature or history of aggression and biting. A dog owner remains strictly liable for injuries caused when their dog attacks someone in California. 

Strict liability also means that a dog bite victim does have to prove that the dog owner was negligent or careless. Basically, the law will largely be on your side if you are attacked and injured by a dog in California. 

Limits to the strict liability doctrine

There are, however, instances when you may not be eligible for compensation following a dog attack in California. Here are some of these instances:

  • If the attack happened while you were trespassing on the dog owner’s private property
  • If you provoked the animal
  • If the dog attacked you while assaulting its owner or another person in accordance with the state’s self-defense laws.
  • If the animal was a police or military dog being used appropriately in accordance with the agency’s policies.

Dogs, it is said, are man’s best friends. They can bring endless joy, adventure and companionship. However, these flurry canines can also cause damage to human and personal property. The first step in proving liability in a dog attack is to examine the circumstances surrounding the incident. Sometimes, liability can simply be established by looking at the how and where the attack took place.

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