In the best of cases, a dog bite results in only very minor injuries. In the worst cases, victims suffer severe lacerations that often come with complications, permanent scarring, and more. When accident victims suffer from these injuries, they can file a claim against the dog owner to secure compensation that can help with their recovery. California is a strict liability state. This means that victims do not have to prove that the dog owner was negligent or knew of a dog’s violent history. However, there are still certain elements of proof that are required in dog bite cases. These are outlined below.
You Were Legally Located
To have a valid dog bite claim, you must have legally been on the property where you were bitten. If you were in a public space, such as a park, you likely have a valid claim. If you were legally on private property, such as at a friend’s house, you also likely have a valid claim. However, if you were illegally on property, you are considered a trespasser and you may not have a valid dog bite claim.
You Were Bitten by the Dog
California is different from other states. The dog bite statute only outlines the law regarding dog bites. It does not include other injuries a dog may have caused, such as if the dog jumped on you and knocked you down, causing you to hit your head on the ground. In these instances, you may have to prove that the dog owner was negligent and did not properly leash or otherwise restrain the dog. To have a valid dog bite claim, you must prove that the dog actually bit you.
You Did Not Provoke the Dog
According to California law, a provoked dog is not a dangerous dog. If you taunted or tormented the dog before they bit you, the insurance company and the court will consider that provocation, which is a reasonable cause for the dog to bite you. You must prove that you did not provoke the dog into violent behavior.
The Dog was Not Working in an Official Capacity
Government entities are often protected by sovereign immunity, a law which states that government officials are protected from liability when they are performing official duties. When dogs are working in an official capacity, such as police dogs that have a duty to search vehicles and other property, they too are considered a government entity and are also protected by sovereign immunity.
Were You Bitten by a Dog? Call Our California Dog Bite Lawyers
If you have been bitten by a dog, you likely need compensation to help with your medical bills, lost income, and more. Even though California is a strict liability state, however, these claims are not easy to prove. At Willoughby Brod, LLP, our San Francisco dog bite lawyers can help. We know how to help victims of dog bites prove these claims so they can secure the compensation they need. If you have been hurt, call us at (800) 427-7020 to arrange a free case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys and to learn more about how we can help.