California Dog Bite Laws
Were You or a Loved One Bit by a Dog? You May Be Entitled to Compensation
Whether a dog is large or somewhat small, almost any dog can inflict a serious bite. From instances where dogs bite total strangers to situations where you may be bitten by a friend’s pet, laws in California are very strict regarding the liability of owners. If you have been bitten by one, or are an owner facing a lawsuit and possibly criminal charges, here are some important tips you will want to remember when meeting with your Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
Dog Bites Laws in California
Unlike some other states, California has strict liability laws on the books for these situations. Because of this, owners are almost always held responsible for any injuries caused by their dog biting someone. Even if your companion had never bitten anyone before or you took necessary precautions to create a safe environment, these defenses will rarely hold up in court. However, the laws will only apply to situations where the victim was actually bitten or was in a public place or lawfully on private property at the time of the attack. Since questions could arise in these situations, meet immediately with a dog attack lawyer in Los Angeles accident victims rely on for help with these cases, such as attorney David Grey of Grey Law.
When is a Bite a Bite?
While you may only think of a bite as one where a person’s skin is broken, the court may view things differently. In some cases, a court may rule a dog bit someone even if they simply grabbed their clothes. For example, if you feel a tear of your pants leg while on a ladder, the dog’s owner could be held liable for any injuries. Thus, whether you are a person who was injured by bites that did not break the skin or an owner who is now being blamed for letting your dog bite someone, speak to an attorney to learn how your case could proceed.
Careless Dog Owners
If you like to take your dog on walks or to a local park, being careless for only a moment could turn out to be very expensive. Under California law, careless dog owners may not be held to the strict liability standards if their pet chases someone on a bicycle or motorcycle that ultimately results in an accident. However, this does not exempt dog owners from being recipients of a personal injury lawsuit for injuries that resulted due to their negligence in failing to control their dog’s actions. If you are an owner who is now being sued in this manner, consult at once with a lawyer.
What is a Dangerous Dog?
While it is conceivable any dog could supposedly be considered dangerous to some degree, California law has certain standards in place allowing courts to legally rule a dog to be dangerous. One of these is a prior history of attacks against others, which is usually defined as there having been at least two separate incidents within a three-year period. For a dog to be classified as vicious, it will have killed or injured someone without being provoked. Since these situations are very serious and can lead to numerous criminal charges being filed against you, don’t take any chances and assume everything will work itself out. Instead, meet with a lawyer to discuss your case and decide on the best strategy for your situation.
Criminal and Civil Liability
When a dog bites a person, the dog’s owner will almost certainly face criminal and civil charges from the incident. If the victim wants to pursue a civil lawsuit, it must be filed within two years from the date of the attack, although in some situations the court has the authority to extend this deadline. If you are facing these circumstances as an owner, you could not only be expected to pay thousands of dollars to cover the victim’s medical bills and lost income, but also find yourself facing large fines and possibly jail time. Since you will need experienced legal counsel throughout this process, turn to a lawyer that will fight hard for them in court, such as David Grey of Grey Law.
Legal Defenses for Dog Owners
When facing a civil lawsuit due to your dog biting someone, you as the owner will have a variety of legal defenses you can use in your case. For example, if you can prove the person bitten was trespassing on your property when the bite took place, you could walk out of court a winner. Also, if it can be shown the victim voluntarily took a risk of being injured or were partly to blame for what happened, the amount of compensation you may be required to pay could be greatly reduced. Since having as much evidence as possible in these cases is often the key to victory, don’t work with an attorney who has little or no experience representing clients in these cases. For the best results, hire an attorney with knowledge of cases involving domestic pets.
Giving Up Your Dog
Depending on the severity of the puncture wound, the court may try to rule that your dog is vicious and thus should be taken away from you or even destroyed to protect others. However, you should do everything possible to not let this happen. Since your dog is a member of the family, work with a dedicated lawyer who understands this and will use every legal option available to win your case.
Should you be involved in a dog bite incident either as a victim or owner, schedule a consultation today with David Grey of Grey Law. By doing so, you will have a lawyer who will fight hard for you from start to finish.
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