California dog bite injuries and liability

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2023 | Personal Injury |

Dog ownership offers many things, such as companionship and protection, but it also comes with a certain level of personal responsibility and legal liability.

California holds owners responsible for any injuries their dogs cause to other people.

History does not matter

Dog owners bear all legal responsibility if their dogs bite someone else on public property. They are also liable if their dogs bite someone on private property who is on that property legally. It does not matter if a dog does not have a history of biting or other aggressive behavior. Even if there was no reason for the owner to believe the dog would bite someone, he or she is liable for any damages, even if the harm is not directly from the bite. For instance, if a dog grabs someone’s pants leg, causing him or her to fall and get hurt, the owner is responsible for the fall injury.

Reason does matter

There are only two exceptions to the state’s strict liability policy. If the bitten individual is a trespassor, the dog owner may not be responsible. Provocation is also a potential defense. This includes teasing or hurting the dog in a manner expected to invite attack.

According to Wisevoter, 40.1% of Californians own a dog. These dog owners are just as responsible for their dogs’ actions as they are for the dogs themselves. When their pets attack others going legally about their own way without provocation, they become liable. Individuals who sustain injuries as a result may be able to obtain compensation from them for medical costs, pain and suffering and other losses.