Dog bite personal injury cases are a lose-lose situation. Even if the person who was injured gets money, the other person loses their dog. This is especially true due to the strict nature of California dog bite laws and the ways they put the liability on the owner.
California Is A “Strict Liability” State
When a state bases their personal injury lawsuits on “strict liability,” the dog owner is liable for any bite that occurs by their dog when the person who was bitten was in a public place or lawfully visiting the owners home or another private place.
This is a very strict type of liability that makes it hard to defend against these cases. The statute of limitations is typically two years on this case – meaning the bitten person has those two years to bring the case to court.
Defenses Against These Claims
The only ways to really defend against this type of claim includes illustrating that the injures were not caused by a dog bite. For example, a medical examiner could state that the injury is not congruent with that caused by a bite and was caused by another injury. Typically this is hard if the dog clearly bit the person and there were witnesses.
Another defense is to claim that the person was trespassing unlawfully on the property. Again this is hard if the person who was bitten was a friend or family member who was visiting. But robbers bitten by a dog cannot sue, nor can anyone who was being thrown off of property or whom the owner did not want on the property.
The strict rules that dictate dog bite cases in California make it important to hire a professional attorney to defend you. Please contact us if you are involved in one of these cases and feel you are being unfairly persecuted.