What Happens if You are Bitten By a Dog at Someone’s House?
Dog bites in California are an everyday occurrence and led to $675 million in liability claims in 2018 alone. In California, the burden is on dog owners when it comes to protecting the public bites and attacks. California is a state of strict liability when it comes to dog bites.
That means that in many cases, dog owners will be held liable if their pet bites someone. There are defenses to dog bites, however, and every dog bite case will be different.
If you have been bitten by a dog while visiting someone’s home, there is a good chance that you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, no matter how big or minor the bite is. At Arash Law, we have been representing dog bite victims for decades and know how to get our clients the compensation they deserve. Call us today at (888) 488-1391 for a review of your case.
When Will Homeowners Be Held Liable for a Dog Bite?
California Civil Code 3342 maintains strict liability for dog owners when a member of the public is bitten by a dog. Victims of dog bites can hold owners liable under certain circumstances:
- The dog bite must have occurred, but the skin does not need to have been broken.
- The bite must have happened in a public place or while the victim was lawfully in a private place.
Anybody that is bitten by your dog while legally in a private home or on private property may file a claim. That said, trespassers typically cannot recover compensation after a dog bite.
Dog Owner Have a Duty of Care
When you have a home, whether you are renting or owning, you have a duty to ensure a “standard of care” when others are on your property. It’s the same standard of care that applies to you when you visit someone else for any purpose. People on private property have the reasonable expectation that they will not be injured while there.
If someone is sincerely injured, that is a premises liability concern for you, and you could be held liable. It is your duty to keep dangerous animals away from people in your home. If they bring their own dog to your home, however, the liability is on them. If you are bitten by that dog, or someone else in your home is bitten by that dog, you could sue them.
This law only applies to people there legally and with cause. If a dog is there to assist in a government job, such as with the military or police, the dog owner cannot be sued if the bite occurred during the course of duties of the dog.
If the dog is provoked by the victim of the dog bite, there is no strict liability burden on you. When the dog is acting in defense, the dog owner is not liable. When the dog has had a history of biting, there are additional concerns to the dog owner.
Additional history of biting could mean problems for the owner beyond liability. A dog owner is required to take reasonable care to prevent future bites. If there is a failure of prevention and more bites occur, the owner may have to remove the dog from the home.
Potential Defenses in Dog-Bite Cases
There are often defenses available in dog bite cases. Trespassing and comparative negligence are common defenses in dog bite cases. California Penal Code Section 602 says that anyone guilty of trespassing is guilty of a misdemeanor. Trespassing is a common dog bite defense, as many people will trespass, provoke a dog, and then sue for a dog bite damages.
As mentioned above, people usually cannot file a claim if they are bitten by a dog while trespassing on private property. California’s comparative negligence law is also often used in dog bite cases. Where dog bites cause personal injury and compensable damages, comparative negligence could apply. Under California’s comparative negligence rule, when a personal injury was caused partially by two parties in the same dispute, the liabilities are shared.
In the event that a dog bite victim is partially at fault for their bite, their recovery would typically be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if you were 25 percent at fault for a dog bite and your damages totaled $10,000, you would only receive $7,500.
Should You Accept a Dog Bite Settlement?
Most dog bite cases are resolved when victims reach a settlement agreement with the dog’s owner or his or her homeowner’s insurer. Whether you should accept a settlement offer depends on whether it adequately compensates you for all of your losses. A California injury attorney at Arash Law can evaluate your claim and determine how much compensation you can expect to receive.
In addition, when you retain us to represent you, we will handle all settlement negotiations on your behalf. If the insurance company or dog owner refuses to make an adequate offer, we may file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your dog bite injuries.
Contact a California Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you have been bitten by a dog, there is a good chance that you are entitled to compensation under California law. We serve dog bite victims in San Francisco, Riverside, Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California. We have collected over 200 million dollars for clients across the state. To schedule your free case evaluation, call our office today at (888) 488-1391 or contact us online.