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What Does "Strict Liability" Mean in California Dog Bite Cases?

Posted on in Premises Liability

Glendale dog bite injury lawyers Dog attacks - even a single bite - can cause serious bodily harm. The puncture wounds can easily get infected and send you to the hospital. Tendons, ligaments, nerves, and even bones can be severed or damaged, requiring surgery. It is important to seek urgent medical attention after any dog bite to help mitigate these risks. Of course, medical care and the time you spend seeking it are valuable. A dog’s owner can be held liable for injuries caused by the dog. In California, we have what is called the strict liability rule when it comes to dog and other animal bites. This term is easily misunderstood. In order to recover the compensation you deserve after being attacked or bitten by a dog, you may need to enlist a skilled attorney. 

Does “Strict Liability” Mean the Dog Owner is Liable No Matter What?

Not quite. What “strict liability” actually means is that the dog owner cannot defend themselves by arguing that they had no idea their dog was aggressive and would bite. Even if the dog that bit you had never so much as growled at anyone before, let alone bitten someone in the past, the owner can be held liable to a bite victim. 

Without the strict liability rule, a bite victim would have to prove that the owner knew their dog was dangerous. This would potentially give owners of aggressive dogs a “get out of liability free” card for their dog’s first attack. Not only would that leave innocent bite victims without compensation, it would also increase the risk that the dog could be put into a position where it might attack another victim. 

What Other Rules Apply to Dog Bite Cases?

The location where you were bitten is important. If the dog attack occurred in a public place, like a park, sidewalk, or even in a store, that is when the strict liability rule kicks in and makes the owner automatically liable. Dog owners are expected to prevent their pets from biting people when they are out and about. 

If the dog attack occurred in a private place, like a person’s home, the owner is still strictly liable so long as the victim was allowed to be in the private location where they got hurt. If a dog owner invites you over to their house and you are bitten there, the owner is liable. 

However, if you sneak into your neighbor’s backyard without permission and then get bitten, the owner is probably not going to be held liable. In that case, they had adequately contained their dog and the victim was only bitten because they chose to trespass. 

Call an L.A. County Dog Bite Lawyer

If you have been attacked by a dog, Tahmazian Law Firm, P.C. may be able to recover compensation on your behalf. Our skilled Los Angeles dog bite attorneys will assist you by investigating and striving to prove your case. Call 818-242-8201 for a free consultation. 




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