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What to Know About Dog Bite Injury Claims in California

Steven R. Andrade Dec. 31, 2021

Dogs are among the most popular pets in the country. Nearly 40% of U.S. households have at least one dog. Yet, if proper safety precautions are not taken, dogs also have the potential to be quite dangerous. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), around 800,000 people seek professional medical care for dog bite injuries nationwide each year.

Were you or was your loved one injured by a dog in California? If so, it is imperative that you know your rights. Your family deserves justice and compensation, including for medical bills and other damages. Here, our Santa Barbara dog bite lawyer highlights the key things you should understand about dog bite injury claims in California.

California Is a Strict Liability State for Dog Bites Claims

Most personal injury claims are based on negligence. To hold a defendant legally liable for your damages, you must prove that they caused you harm through carelessness, recklessness, or other improper conduct. That is not necessarily the case with dog bite injury claims in California. A dog owner can be held strictly liable for physical injuries caused by a dog bite. Under California Civil Code § 3342, a dog owner can be held liable “regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.” To bring a strict liability claim, a dog bite victim:

  • Must have been in a public place or lawfully in a private place when the attack occurred. Trespassers cannot hold dog owners strictly liable in California.

  • Must not have provoked the animal to attack. A dog owner can attempt to defend a strict liability claim on the grounds that the bite was provoked by the victim.

Additional Compensation May Be Available Through a Negligence Claim

Through a strict liability claim, a dog bite victim can seek compensation for their medical bills. As long as you were not trespassing and did not provoke the attack, a dog owner is liable for your medical bills without a finding of negligence. You can also claim compensation for lost wages. Dog bite victims also have the right to file negligence claims in California—either against the dog owner or a landlord/property owner. In a negligence claim, you must prove that the defendant's failure to take adequate care contributed to the attack. Depending on the circumstances, additional financial compensation may be available through a negligence lawsuit.

Get Help from A Dog Bite Injury Attorney in Santa Barbara, California

At Andrade Law Offices, our Santa Barbara personal injury lawyer has the skills, knowledge, and experience to represent dog bite victims. If you or your child was injured by a canine, we are here to help. Get in touch with us by phone or connect with us directly online to set up your no cost, no obligation initial consultation. With a law office in Santa Barbara, we provide dog bite injury representation throughout the wider area, including in Goleta, Santa Maria, and Carpinteria.