The short answer to this question is yes. California law does provide for this. The longer answer is, it depends on the circumstances of the dog bite in question. At least one insurance company reports that California is home to more dog bites than any state in the nation.
In 2017, California accounted for 488 of 3,600 dog bite claims. These claims settled for a total of $18.7 million, 14 percent of all dog bite claims in America for that year. Dog bites happen all the time in California. You can sue, even if the bite seems minor.
The state of California is home to strict liability laws when it comes to dog bites. Under this law, dog owners are liable when someone is bitten by their dog. There are some exceptions to this, but in most cases, strict liability means the dog owner pays for damages caused by a dog bite.
If you have been bitten by a dog and suffer damages as a result of the bite, you have the legal grounds to sue the dog owner for compensation for those damages. It will be for the court to determine if the dog bite is minor. At Arash Law, we have been helping dog bite victims for decades and know what the court is looking for to make those determinations.
Call our California dog bite victim attorneys at (888) 488-1391 to book a free consultation, and we’ll review your case for free.
Exceptions to California Dog Bite Law
There are always going to be exceptions in civil matters, and dog bites are no different. Whether you can sue in a dog bite depends on the circumstances of the bite. California’s strict liability laws stipulate that dog owners are liable for dog bites; however, there are some exceptions:
- The dog is provoked by the victim
- Veterinarians receiving dog bites
- If you are a victim of a crime and bitten by a dog during the course of the investigation, you can sue for damages.
What Caused the Dog Bite?
Provocation is defined by California law as an act someone takes to instigate a dog for any reason. Sometimes this can be for fun, but sometimes it isn’t. If the act immediately results in a dog bite of any kind, the bite victim will not be successful in a civil claim. The behavior of the dog will need to be a change from the behavior of the dog just prior to the dog bite.
For example, if the dog was sleeping, and a passerby poked it with a stick and was bitten, the bite victim could not sue. If the dog was acting erratically and not sleeping, and the passerby got bitten while poking it with a stick to stop it, the bite victim would likely have compensable damages.
If there is a question, it never hurts to leave it up to the law to determine who provoked who. Many dog owners know this law. If you have been bitten by a dog and there is a dispute over who provoked who, document every detail of the incident before talking to a lawyer.
Where Was the Dog Bite?
Where the dog bite occurred is an important element in the case. California Civil Code 3342 stipulates that “The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog.” This law says that if you are in a public place, or anywhere else lawfully, and become a dog bite victim, you can sue.
When you have been a victim of a dog bite, keep all documentation on the location of the dog bite. If you received an invitation to go to someone’s house or business, keep it. Take pictures of the location where the dog bite occurred if you have nothing else to document where the incident happened.
There will be situations where it could be difficult to determine if you should or should not have been there. California Civil Code 3342 has provisions for some of these situations, such as during the course of police or military work.
If a dog is defending someone or doing its job, and a bite occurs, the dog bite victims can sometimes sue the agency or city in question. Where there would be an exception here is if the dog bite victim was under investigation and the dog’s job was to locate and secure that individual.
In cases where it could be difficult to determine if you should or should not have been there, or provocation is in question, we leave it to a court to decide. This is a dispute that you don’t have to fight alone.
When you have been a victim of a dog bite and want to sue for damages, there is going to be a dispute with the dog owner. You don’t have to fight this alone. At Arash Law, we will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve after the trauma of being bitten by a dog. Call Arash Law at (888) 488-1391 to book a free consultation of your case.
When It’s a Minor Bite
Dog bite law is very broad for a purpose. That is because every bite and every human reaction to a bite will be different. When a dog bites, someone pays; that is the law. It could be impossible for you to determine if your bite is a minor one. There have been settlements in dog bite cases where the dog bite did not even break the skin.
Yes, you can sue for minor dog bites; you can sue for any dog bites when you suffer damages. Minor dog bites can result in injuries or losses that may not even appear for a day or two. A dog’s teeth are very different than that of a human’s, and its jaws possess the strength that can kill other animals. You could sustain serious tissue damage from a dog wrapping its teeth around your arm, even if you don’t see broken skin at all.
Even minor dog bites are scary experiences. You may be a dog lover that never wants to have a dog again. This bite could lead to medical costs, lost wages, emotional trauma, and more. You should be compensated for anything that happens after a dog bite, and the law allows for it.
Contact a Reputable California Dog BitesPersonal Injury Attorney Today
When you have been bitten by a dog, you have been through trauma. If it is a dog bite that is leading you to think about a lawsuit, the pain and suffering has already begun. You don’t have to go through this.
The law says you should be compensated for any damages after a bite, regardless of how minor or major the bite is. At Arash Law, our California personal injury attorneys can help you sue for compensation after a dog bite. We have been winning dog bite cases for decades and can help you if you’ve been a victim. Call (888) 488-1391.