California is a strict liability dog bite state. That means owners are responsible for their dog’s actions, even if they bite a delivery driver. If you were injured by someone’s dog while delivering a package or the mail, contact Thousand Oaks Dog Bite Lawyer Logan Quirk today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Dogs that attack delivery drivers in and around Thousand Oaks are a serious health and safety problem. Given the nature of their work, dogs are an occupational hazard to delivery people whether they are working for the USPS, Amazon, UPS or FedEx. They always need to be on the lookout for them.
According to the U.S. Postal Service, more than 5,800 of its employees were bitten by dogs while on the job in 2020. California leads the nation in dog attacks on Postal Service personnel. Then, there are the private delivery personnel who work with companies like FedEx, UPS, the local appliance store or even the kid who delivers pizzas. Dogs don’t discriminate. Those delivery people get attacked and bitten too.
California’s Dog Bite Law
Thousand Oaks doesn’t have a dog bite ordinance. Neither does Ventura County, but California has its own dog bite statute, and it’s a strict liability statute too. It’s not an “every dog gets one free bite” law like some states have either. Section 3342 of the California Civil Code states in part, as follows: “The owner of any dog is liable for 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, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.” It doesn’t matter whether the dog’s owner knew or should have known that their dog was vicious, and it doesn’t even matter if the dog and its owner were in public, and the dog was on a leash.
As part of their job, delivery personnel are required to go onto the private property of both home and business owners. An invitation might be express or implied. When a delivery driver goes onto the property of somebody else, it operates as an acceptance of an implied invitation. Under the circumstances, serious injuries from a dog attack on a delivery person can expose a dog’s owner to civil liability.
What Constitutes a Dog Bite?
In California, it’s not necessary that a dog’s bite break the skin of a victim. In a pivotal appellate case, a repairman was on a ladder at the defendants’ home when their dog jumped up and pulled on his pants, causing him to fall to the ground and injure himself. The trial court found that no bite occurred as the repairman’s skin wasn’t broken. The appellate court reversed that decision and held that no actual wound was required, so long as the repairman’s clothing was in the grasp of the jaws and teeth of the dog. A reading of CACI 463 would confirm that no actual physical damage to the body from a dog’s jaws and teeth is required. The instruction only requires that the dog be a “substantial factor in causing harm.” That would be any kind of harm from its jaws and teeth. If the repairman had come off of the ladder and tripped over the dog standing behind him, strict liability wouldn’t apply as there was no harm caused by its jaws and teeth. He might still prevail on a negligence case though.
Who Pays in a Thousand Oaks Dog Bite Case?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding a meritorious dog bite case, a victim can be compensated for their injuries and damages from any of the following sources:
- Homeowners Insurance: Most homeowners insurance companies will cover dog bites that occur on the interior and exterior premises that is occupied by the homeowner.
- Renters Insurance: If a tenant purchased renters insurance, that insurance is likely to cover dog attacks.
- Car Insurance: An auto insurance company is likely to cover injuries and damages to a person when a dog is left in a car with an open window, or when the dog is exiting the car with its owner.
- When There’s No Insurance: A dog’s owner can be held personally liable if he or she had no insurance.
Contact a Thousand Oaks Dog Bite Lawyer
After being bitten by a dog in or around Thousand Oaks while on a delivery, clean the wound and get to an emergency room or urgent care center right away if your skin has been broken. Take photos of the wound and report the bite to 911 or your local animal control office. Then, contact our Thousand Oaks dog bite lawyer here at Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, APC, and we’ll arrange for a free consultation and case review with an experienced and aggressive Thousand Oaks dog bite lawyer.
Remember that California’s dog bite law is a strict liability statute. In all likelihood, you qualify for the compensation that you deserve. The problem is getting it, and we know how to do that for you.