Dog Bites in California
The state of California follows the strict liability rule when it comes to dog bites. This means that the owner will be held strictly liable for any injury that their dog may cause starting from the moment the ownership begun. Exemptions may be given when the attack was (1) provoked, (2) during a trespassing situation, (3) during a compensated service involving the dog, and (4) while on the job and bitten by their employer. In an event of a dog bite, the victim has no duty to show negligence or other factors in order to file a personal injury claim.
The dog bite law is generally known as the California Civil Code Section 3342. This law makes the pet owner liable when their dog bites another person, and it occurred in a public place or legally in a private place. However, in order for the law to be effective, the injury has to specifically be from a dog bite, and not from other dog behaviors such as scratching. A severe bit injury is defined by the law as any physical injury that caused muscle tears or disfiguring cuts or those that require sutures or corrective cosmetic surgery.
Because California follows the “strict liability” rule regarding dog bites, regardless of whether the dog has bit before or the owner’s awareness of their dog’s tendencies to bite, they will have to take responsibility for the damages that their pet has caused. Although evidence of negligence is not necessarily required, the victim should still prove that the injury was from a bite and not from other factors. There are defenses that the dog owner can use, the most common being “trespassing.” The website of Williams Kherkher says that anyone who commits trespassing does not have rights for compensation, along with those who have been bitten by on-the-job police or military dogs or when provoked.
The main role of the law is to avoid dogs being a danger to the community. Through the law, the burden of responsibility for the dog is put upon those who choose to take care of dogs. It is therefore place upon the dog owner to be vigilant regarding their dog’s tendencies to bite people. Furthermore, the law helps reduce any conflicts that could follow a dog attack.