Speak To An Attorney Today 323-524-8994


California Dog Bite Law – Perspective from Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney

Posted by Alan Fassonaki | Jun 11, 2023

Picture of dog biting leg.
Dog Bite

Pet ownership comes with responsibility. California law takes a firm stance when it comes to dog bites, implementing what is known as "strict liability." This means that a dog owner is held strictly responsible for any damages caused by their dog biting someone in public or while the person is lawfully present in a private place, regardless of whether the dog has shown prior aggression or if the owner was aware of such behavior (Civ. Code, § 3342A). Los Angeles dog bite attorneys don't focus on liability borne by the owner because that is provided by law. While this California law may appear straightforward, understanding the California dog-bite statute will help you navigate finding legal representation in the event you need representations by a dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles.

When to Consult with a Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney

Injury resulting from a dog bite doesn't necessarily have to involve a broken skin or tissue damage to be legally actionable under California law. California courts have made rulings that injuries resulting from a dog attack are actionable personal injury cases even in the absence of broken skin or tissue. For example, if a dog attacks you and you suffer injuries because the incident caused you to fall, liability still remains with the dog owner. The dog-bite statute also holds the owner responsible regardless of the dog's physical state when the incident occurs. When in doubt about your rights after a dog-attack injury in Los Angeles, always consult with a Los Angeles dog bite attorney.

Liability Limitations to be Addressed by Dog Bite Attorneys in Los Angeles

While strict liability is generally applied, there are exceptions for certain working dogs. The dog-bite statute sets limitations on the liability of government agencies that employ dogs in military or police work. The statute doesn't apply if the dog bites someone while defending itself against an annoying, harassing, or provoking act or while assisting a public employee in specific police activities, such as apprehending a suspect or executing a warrant. To qualify for this immunity, the governmental agency must have established a written policy outlining the "necessary and appropriate use of a dog" for such work (Civ. Code, § 3342(d)). Thus, when consulting with a dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles, it is important to provide all the facts, including whether the attack was by a dog working for a government agency. In such circumstances, your Los Angeles dog bite lawyer may need to further examine Civ. Code, § 3342 to determine liability.

How Dog Bite Attorneys in Los Angeles May Examine Your Case

Since liability is not generally the issue in dog attack, unless the owner cannot be identified or a government agency, a Los Angeles dog bite attorney may place greater emphasis on determining the extent of injuries and damages and how they were connected to the offending act (the dog attack). A Los Angeles dog bite attorney will still need to establish how your injuries are related to the conduct of the dog. This can be performed by examining witness statements and consulting with experts such as the victim's treating doctors.

A Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney Should Inform You That Auto Insurance Does NOT Apply

A dog owner's automobile liability insurance policy usually doesn't provide coverage if their dog escapes from a parked vehicle and bites a pedestrian because the policy generally provides coverage for automobile-related accidents and covers the negligence of the driver while operating their vehicle.

Dog Bite Lawyers in Los Angeles Should Tell You About Assumption of Risk if You Were Working

Individuals working with animals, such as kennel workers or veterinarians, may not be able to recover damages for a dog bite under the legal concept of primary assumption of risk. This defense has been applied when a kennel worker is bitten while exercising a boarded dog or when a veterinarian is injured while professionally examining or treating an animal. Unless the dog owner conceals or misrepresents the dog's behavior or acts in an extremely reckless manner outside of what is expected in veterinary or boarding kennel services, the owner is not considered to owe a duty of care to the veterinarian or kennel worker. Makes sense that if you are working with dogs and animals you are exposing yourself to the dangers that are inherent when doing that type of work. Thus, those that work with animals are assuming the risks that are common (e.g., dog bites) while doing that kind of working. Thus, dog bite attorneys in Los Angeles that accept a case from an employee that was injured in the course of their professional pursuits working with animals may be faced with the defense of primary assumption of risk.

How Los Angeles Dog Bite Lawyers Generally Recover Compensation

Homeowner's insurance policies typically cover dog bite claims. However, this is contingent on availability. In most cases, an animal owner's homeowner's insurance policy will provide liability coverage for dog bites that occur on the owner's property, unless the animal is otherwise excluded from the policy. Certain types of dogs with vicious tendencies may be excluded from an owner's policy. It is also important to understand that not all dog owners maintain a homeowner's insurance policy. If you were injured by a dog attack in Los Angeles, your dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles should be able to advise you further about the methods of recovery.

In light of the complexities surrounding dog bite cases and the potential legal implications, it is crucial for individuals involved in such incidents to seek professional guidance. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a dog bite, it is advisable to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced dog bite attorney. Fassonaki Law Firm, P.C., and Alan Fassonaki, a dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles, can provide you with the necessary legal advice, advocate for your rights, and help you navigate the legal process. Remember, taking prompt action and seeking legal assistance can make a significant difference in achieving a just resolution. If you have been injured in a dog attack, contact us today using our contact form, or call us at 323-524-8994

About the Author

Alan Fassonaki

What inspired me to practice personal injury law? I was 9 and imagining the win. My mother was driving me to my basketball game. My older sister came along to support me. While on the road, I thought about practice and replayed our team's game-plan in my mind. Suddenly, I hea...

Contact Us Today

Fassonaki Law Firm, P.C. is committed to answering your questions about Personal Injury law issues in Los Angeles, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Woodland Hills, West Hills, and the San Fernando Valley.

We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact Us today to schedule an appointment.