Whether a person keeps a dog at home, takes it for walks or jogging with them or takes it over to Camarillo Grove Dog Park once a week or so, he or she needs to be advised that California is what’s known as a strict liability dog bite state. What that means is if a dog’s owner never even dreamed that his or her dog would ever bite somebody, the owner can still be held liable for the injuries and damages that that are suffered by the victim of a bite.
California’s Strict Liability Statute
California Civil Code 3342 makes strict liability for dog bites clear. It states as follows: “The owner of a dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person bitten by the dog 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.”
What Might Cause Dogs to Bite?
It doesn’t really matter where you’re at. There are certain human behaviors that might prompt a dog to bite. Here are a few of them:
- You may have entered its space, so it’s biting to defend it.
- There might be puppies around, and the dog is defending them.
- The dog may have been napping, and you startled it. Let a sleeping dog lie.
- Maybe the dog has been injured, or it’s ill.
- The dog might be defending its bone, chewy or even a toy.
Assumption of Risk Signs at Dog Parks
You’ll encounter assumption of risk language in dog park user agreements and signs on the premises. By virtue of such language, you’re likely holding the dog park harmless for any bites or attacks. You’re not holding another dog’s owner harmless though. If you’re bitten by another dog, it’s unlikely that you’ll be determined to have held its owner harmless. You’re not in privity of contract with that individual, so strict liability of section 3342 would likely still apply.
What About Delivery People Who are Attacked?
Delivery drivers often pull up to homes and businesses without knowing whether there’s a dog on the premises. Far too often, the owners of those dogs don’t take necessary protective measures. The U.S. Postal Services requires homeowners with vicious dogs to pick their mail up at the post offices. Some delivery services permit their drivers to skip delivery at a residence when a vicious dog is present. Delivery drivers aren’t trespassers. They’re lawfully on a premises when making deliveries and returning to their vehicles. Most delivery drivers are well-versed in California dog bite law. People who are expecting a delivery on a certain day need to be sure that their dog is properly restrained.
What if I Broke My Ankle When a Dog Knocked Me Down?
Read section 3342 again. Strict liability only applies to bites. You can still proceed against the dog’s owner pursuant to the law of negligence though.
Contact a Camarillo Dog Bite Lawyer Today.
The general rule is that you have a compensable case for a dog bite so long as you weren’t antagonizing the dog or trespassing. Contact the Camarillo CA dog bite lawyers at Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, APC if you suffered injuries and damages from being attacked and bitten by a dog anywhere in Camarillo or Ventura County. We offer free confidential case consultations and case reviews, and there’s no initial cost to retain us to represent you.