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What You Should Know About California Dog Bite Law

Unintentional bites from our dogs raise doubts about our degree of guilt in the incident, but California dog bite law is specific in what a victim may and may not claim. Unfortunately, possession of a dog and its behavior could have legal repercussions, so it is important to be informed about the legal aspects surrounding this type of case.

Time Limit For Filing a Dog Bite Claim

First of all, it is good to know that regulations regarding dog bites can vary depending on the state. Therefore, it cannot be generalized and it is necessary to examine the laws of each state individually.

Now, in the case of California, when we talk about the time limit for filing a dog bite claim, the regulation states that it is two years. So, if a person who has been attacked by a dog decides to complain two years later, his complaint will not be valid.

Owner’s Liability Under California Law

owner's liability under california law

Once we are clear about this, we will proceed to evaluate the conditions established by California law for the owner of a dog to be found guilty in case his pet has injured a person.

California law stipulates three conditions for declaring the owner’s liability:

1) That the dog has bitten a person; and that, furthermore

2) The act of the dog was performed in a public place; or

3) The act of the dog has been carried out on private property and the person attacked was present on that property legally.

However, the regulations establish an exception: The owner will not be found guilty or liable for the incident if the dog in question was doing military or police work. However, dog attacks on military and/or law enforcement duties are not just bites; therefore, the California statutes only become effective as long as the injury was caused by a specific bite.

These situations are delicate and carry many nuances, which is why it’s important to listen to the advice of an experienced Los Angeles dog bite attorney who is familiar with dog bite law, California specifically. For example, a dog can hurt a person without the need to bite him or her through scratches. And in this scenario, the dog owner can be found guilty for not having taken the necessary precautions to prevent the dog from committing such an act.

We have previously pointed out that possession of a dog and its behavior may have legal repercussions. In most cases, the owners of a dog that has bitten another person are found responsible for the incident, but on light charges. However, these lenient charges can turn into severe and criminal charges in certain scenarios.

Dog lying in cage after provoked to attack

Strict Liability

Each of the United States has a specific and special regulation on the degree of guilt of a dog owner in bite cases. However, the regulations have been classified in two ways: States that handle a “negligence only” regulation and States that have strict liability law. A lawyer for dog bites will be well-versed on this information.

California has strict liability regulations. This regulation provides that the owner of a dog who has injured another person shall be liable for the accident whether or not he knew that the dog was going to do so. The regulations also stipulate that the owner’s guilt cannot be exempted even if it is the first time the animal has acted in this way.

In short, strict liability is a legal concept that does not allow exceptions or justification in determining the guilt of a dog owner. Working with a skilled California dog bite attorney will greatly improved the chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit.

Possible Defenses

Although in most cases the dog owner is found legally liable, there are exceptions. In other words, there have been cases in which the dog owner has been able to absolve himself of guilt.

These cases can be classified in two categories. First, those in which the person who was attacked by the canine was on private property without the landlord’s consent, and second, those in which the canine was part of a military and/or police operation.

As it is obvious to intuit, these are the only possible defenses that can be used by the owner of a dog who has bitten another person. The owner is not found guilty if the injured person was illegally on private property because he must abide by the consequences of “self-defense.”

On the other hand, guilt does not apply either if the dog did military and/or police work for the simple reason that the animal was carrying out a function according to the law. But in these cases, the military and police forces have also resorted to an argument that has been proved valid: that the person attacked provoked the act of the dog. But we must stress that these arguments only apply to canines involved in military and police operations.

California Dog Bite Law Recommendations

If you are going to have a dog, be cautious and responsible. Make sure you take the necessary measures to prevent the dog from acting aggressively. If the dog is going to be surrounded by people, warn them about the dog and tell them not to get too close or play with it. Otherwise, you have to keep in mind that there’s no chance of excusing yourself on a jury.

Bite cases are on the rise, so it is necessary to start taking measures that can reduce them. Whether you own a dog that has bitten another person, or you are the victim of an animal attack, Avrek Law is ready to help settle your claim. With more than 50 years combined experience representing cases in several states, Avrek Law are experts when it comes to personal injury. The consultation is free and you’ll get advice from a law firm with more than $1 billion recovered in more than 45,000 cases. View one of our locations or contact us for a free consultation.

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