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Personal Injury Blog

Strict Liability and Dog Bites: What Does it Mean?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

 

California dog bite lawyer

Dog bite law throughout all states is typically very similar. However, where the legal rules for dog bites start to become a bit muddled is in the liability. In California, the state follows strict liability laws. This means that liability for a dog bite case cannot be disputed. If a dog bites someone, it is the owners fault and they are held liable except in some very small exceptions.

Strict Liability of Dog Bites

It used to be that California had a "first bite free" rule, as many called it. This rule basically stated that victims could not receive monetary compensation from a dog owner unless the dog has a history documenting a vicious nature. This otherwise means, they could not get compensation unless the dog had already bitten someone.

However, that rule has since been replaced by strict liability. Now, a victim of a dog bite who was bitten in a public place or a private residence where they were lawfully permitted (such as being invited over) can receive compensation for a bite regardless of previous viciousness or lack thereof. Furthermore, under strict liability, you do not have to prove any owner negligence as you may have to in other states outside of California.

This law was created in order to make sure that owners always abide by their duty of care to prevent a dog from biting. Since the victim has no need to prove negligence, but rather liability will always automatically be placed on the owner, it provides compensation for injuries and encourages more discretion to prevent bites on the part of the owner.

When Does Strict Liability Not Apply?

Section 3342 under the California Civil Code details the strict liability of dog bites. However, it also details the small exceptions in which strict liability does not apply. This means that if the victim was in breach of these small exceptions, then strict liability is not applied to the owner. In the case of these exceptions, the victim will be responsible for their own injuries.

Exceptions to Strict Liability include:

  • Trespassing - If you invite someone over, you as the owner are liable for your dog. However, if someone is on your property without your knowledge or invitation, then you are not responsible for the event of a dog attack as the owner. Of course, this does not apply to those that have reason to be there, such as postal workers.
  • Occupational Hazard - Also known as the veterinarian's rule, veterinarians, groomers, and everyone that works in a profession where they are around many dogs has a reasonable assumption of risk that they may get bitten. They are trained to take precautions against this, and as such, the owner surrenders their responsibility to them. If a veterinarian or other dog professional gets bit, it is an occupational hazard and not the owner's responsibility. However, it is still the owner's responsibility to warn the professional if the dog has been aggressive lately or has bitten in the past. By informing them, they know to take appropriate preventive action.

Been Bit in California?

Have you been the victim of a dog bite in California? Then it is extremely likely that the owner can be held liable for your injuries that were the result of their dog. However, while you have a strong case for compensation for your injury, you still need someone to represent you throughout the process. If you have been bite by a dog and you need compensation for you injuries, contact us today. Let the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman help walk you through the process so you can get compensation that your injuries require.

 

Is There Liability for Stray Dog Bite?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Often when a person is bitten by a dog, the owner of the dog is held liable for their pet's actions. As such, lawsuits can be pressed against them to cover the extent of medical bills. However, not every dog has an owner. If you were attacked by a stray dog, what happens then? Is anyone held liable?

Those bitten by a stray dog may first look to the city as liable. After all, they are responsible for animal control. However, it is very rare that if you were bitten by a stray dog that anyone will be held responsible for the attack. There is one clause that states if the dog was already picked up and put in animal control, and it for some reason escapes, then the city can be held responsible for any injuries that occur. Yet, those circumstances are very rare. This means that if you are attacked by a stray, you will need to cover your own medical bills.

If you were attacked by a stray dog, your first priority is to get to safety. Afterwards, call emergency services in order to seek help for your injuries, and, if the dog is still present, be sure to contact animal control right away so they can prevent any more injuries from occurring. This is particularly important so they can arrive with or before emergency services to prevent the paramedics from becoming injured as well.

While there is not much we can do for you in the event of a stray attack, if it does turn out that the dog belonged to someone, even if they abandoned it somewhere, that dog's owners can still be held liable for the attack. If you were attacked by a dog, contact us today to see what we can do for you.

Personal Injury - Don't Live With Regrets

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Whether you suffered a personal injury from an auto accident that wasn't your fault or being attacked by your neighbor's dog, you are aware of the stress it causes and how it can complicate your life. How many of you were like me and thought you could handle everything on your own? Are you too like me and living with the regret of not seeking out the help of a personal injury lawyer.

About 22 years ago, I was in an auto accident that was not my fault. I suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, a broken nose, and some facial scars. Approximately 10 months after the accident, I received a call from the person's insurance company wanting to talk about how much they were willing to pay for my personal injuries. I accepted their offer after they gave me a little more for my broken nose. Looking back, I now realize that I made a huge mistake of not talking to a personal injury lawyer before signing off on the amount the insurance company agreed to pay.

I didn't realize at the time that it takes a year for the swelling to go completely down in a broken nose. Shortly after the year mark, I started getting pain in my nose that sometimes lasts for several days and still periodically get the pain.

Do you think that the insurance company knew this when they called 10 months after the accident? I suspect they did. If they knew, I am willing to bet a personal injury lawyer would too or would have at least been able to tell me what to consider when making my decision.

My advice to everyone is, don't be like me and think that you can handle everything on your own. There are people who want to help you and have experience dealing with the games that these companies play to get out of paying you what you deserve. For my injuries, I should have received 10 times the amount that I did; I was young and naive. I now have to live with the regret of not seeking out the help of a personal injury law firm such as Freeman & Freeman in Los Angeles. So don't live with regret, contact Freeman & Freeman on the contact us page of their website.

Will a Dog Be Euthanized After a Dog Bite Incident?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dog attacks are traumatic incidents, but even so, many victims after a dog attack don't want the dog to be euthanized. They are animals, after all, and likely it is the conduct of their owner that resulted in the attack and not an issue of the dog or dog breed itself. While owners are held liable for the financial burden of the attack, does the dog have to be euthanized after it bites someone?

The quick answer is no. There are some cases, usually in particularly vicious dog attacks, where the dog will be labeled by the court as "potentially dangerous" or "vicious" and it will need to be detained and potentially euthanized. However, not only does the owner have some recourse, but a few words from the victim can go a long way to saving a dog's life.

In court, the victim can advise their attorney that they want to save the dog, which will prevent their attorney from contacting animal control. Victims can also say a few words to the judge stating that they don't want the dog to be destroyed, and that is taken heavily into consideration. Even in vicious dog attacks, if the dog has displayed no other signs of aggression, the victim may be able to see that it lives, but is forced to go into dog training or taken away from its owner to ensure that a dog attack never happens again.

If you are a dog lover, a dog attack can be especially hurtful since the myth that dogs will be euthanized after just one bite is a widespread one. However, you shouldn't just shoulder the medical bills yourself in order to try and save the dog. If you have been attacked, contact us today to see what the Law Offices of Freeman & Freeman can do for you.

Don't Let Irresponsible Dog Owner off the Hook for Dog Bites

Thursday, July 13, 2017

There are no bad dog breeds, merely bad dog owners - That is what you should keep in mind after a dog bite incident. After you are attacked by a dog, you can be left with a considerable injury as well as psychological trauma. This means you not only have to deal with the physical burden of medical bills but the pain and suffering that can come after a traumatic incident with a dog.

However, while the attack may seem like the dog's fault, in the state of California, dog owners are automatically liable for any injuries caused by the dog, even if they weren't around when it happened. Even if their dog has never exhibited any signs of aggressiveness, they are still responsible for their pet's actions. What this means is that dog owners have a responsibility to prevent any attacks, and they should be held accountable for that.

If you were injured by a dog attack, you may not be willing to press charges, perhaps for the safety of the dog in question, but just because you are a dog lover doesn't mean you should be stuck with those medical bills. Don't suffer in silence, you are entitled to compensation from the owner.

In the event of a dog attack, you are entitled to seek coverage for not only the medical damages but treatment of psychological damages as well. If you have been attacked by a dog in the Los Angeles area, contact us today. The Law Offices of Freeman & Freeman love dogs, but only when owners have undertaken every precaution to make sure they are happy and friendly. If you have been bit, don't get stuck with the bill.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.