Legal Issues Faced In Dog Bite Injury Cases in California
Most animals, especially dogs, make pretty good pets. However, you can never predict an animal’s behavior which is why dog bites and animal attacks are a common cause of injuries. In more serious cases, an animal attack can leave a person seriously or permanently injured, and can even lead to death. Victims of dog and animal attacks also have to face other issues like lost wages, expensive medical bills and so on. In case if someone has been attacked by a domestic animal, the liability in such cases usually depends on whether the animal’s owner knew that the animal had an inclination towards violence or not. In most states, the dog owner is held liable for the injuries caused by their animal, whether or not the owner was aware of the dangerous nature of their pet. Read on to understand the legal issues related to dog bite injury cases in California.
Statute of Limitations in California Dog Bite Cases
The statute of limitations is a deadline placed on personal injury lawsuits that are filed in the state’s civil court system. The statute of limitations in California dog bite cases is two years. This means that the injured person has two years after the bite occurs to file their personal injury case in court in order to preserve their rights. If the case is filed after the two-year deadline is over, the court will simply throw it out.
California’s Dog Bite Statute
Section 3342 of the Civil Code defines California’s dog bite law. It states that the dog owner is liable for any damages if the damages were caused by a dog bite and if the person bitten by the dog was in a public place, or was in a private place lawfully. The state of California also enacted dog bite statutes under which a dog owner can be found strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog. The state also passed a statute that eliminated the “one-free bite rule.” Based on this statute, the dog owner is held liable even if the dog has never bitten anyone before or shown a tendency to bite.
What has to be proven?
In California, the dog bite victim has to show that the dog was owned by the defendant and that the bite took place on public property or when the victim was on private property lawfully. The victim also has to prove that they were actually bitten or were injured by the dog.
Getting compensation in dog bite cases
Dig bite victims in California can recover compensation under a special statute and the doctrines of negligence which are as follows:
- Liability based on the dog bite statute
- Liability based on the common law doctrine of scienter
- Liability based on negligence and negligence per se
- Liability based on other grounds
Who is held liable?
Liability in dog bite cases is imposed on the dog’s owner only under California’s statute. However, persons other than the dog’s documented owner may also be deemed an “owner” under the statute such as the dog’s keeper or handler. However, in case of the handler or keeper, they need to be aware of the dog’s violent behavior in order to be held liable. Whatever the case, if you or a loved one has been a victim of an animal attack, get in touch with a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney.
Adele Drumlevitch, a Sierra Vista Criminal Defense attorney, has dedicated his life to the law and will stand by your side throughout the entire case, should you have any questions or concerns about the process.