How A California Dog Bite Injury Case Works

A dog bite injury case in California requires an understanding of California law. Here are 7 things you need to be aware of in order to obtain fair and reasonable money compensation for the child or adult person who suffered the dog bite injury.

1.  Can you prove that the dog actually bit the injured child or adult?
2.  Did the bitten child or adult receive medical care for the bite?
3.  Can you identify who was the dog owner?
4.  Does the owner of the dog own a home with a homeowners insurance policy which will provide a source of money  compensation for the harms caused?
5.  If the dog bite was not to the skin, did the dog bite anything attached to the injured person’s body which caused the person to fall and be injured?
6.  Did the dog bite occur on the property of the dog owner, such as the dog owner’s home, or in a public place such as a street, park or playground?
7.  Does the dog owner say that the bitten child or adult  was trespassing on the owner’s property?

In California, a dog owner is responsible for any harm caused by his or her dog if the dog bit a person and the person was injured.  It is only necessary to show that 1) the dog actually did bite the child or adult and 2) that the bitten person received injury and needed medical care due to that bite.

This is also called “responsibility without having to prove the owner was negligent”. All that is necessary is for the bite to cause injury in some foreseeable way. This applies regardless of whether or not the dog had shown precious viscous tendencies or if the owner had prior knowledge of those tendencies.

It is necessary to identify exactly who was the dog owner. This is because in order to impose responsibility on the dog owner California law  requires the following to be shown: 1) dog ownership and 2) dog bite injuries to another.  California dog bite law does not cover responsibility for injuries by runaway and other non-owned dogs.

If the dog owner owns his or her home, they will usually have a homeowners’ policy on the home. That policy usually provides a source of funds to pay claims from persons who have suffered a dog bite injury.

The law in California states that the dog bite has to have caused injury to the person bitten, it does not say that the bite has to be on the skin.  As long as the dog bit the injured person’s body or something worn on or attached to the injured person’s body, then the owner is responsible. for all foreseeable harm.

The location where the dog bite occurred may become important.  California law indicates that the injury had to have happened in a public place or a private place, including the property of the dog owner.  When the bite happens on the property of the dog owner, the dog owner may agree that the bite victim was on the property with the owner’s permission. If the dog owner says that the dog bite victim did not have permission to be on the property, problems may begin.

The dog owner may say that since the dog bite victim did not have permission to be there then the victim was trespassing and thus not lawfully in a private place as the law requires for dog owner responsibility.  If this occurs, you will need to speak to an attorney knowledgable about dog bite cases..

Attorney John P. Burns also gives you a check list of things to do after a dog bite in order to handle the case properly in his article 7 Things To Do Right After A Dog Bite Causes Injury.


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