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Liability of Homeowners for Dog Bites on Their Premises

What Homeowners Need to Know About Dog Bites on Their Property

Companionship, responsibility, and stress relief. There are so many reasons to get a dog. However, for some homeowners, their pets provide a special service: protection. Many California residents keep their furry protectors in fenced-in yards or driveways to ward off intruders and alert the family of potential dangers. 

However, what happens if man’s best friend gets a little overzealous and bites the mailman or a passing pedestrian? Would you be liable if your dog attacks an intruder? West Coast Trial Lawyers handles dog bite cases in California.

Our premises liability attorneys are available 24/7 to offer legal assistance. We will assess your case to determine what necessary courses of action should be taken to get you the compensation you deserve. 

To schedule a free consultation at our Los Angeles personal injury law firm, please contact us by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

California's Dog Bite Law 

According to California’s dog bite law, the owner of the dog is held liable for damages if:

  • The injury was caused by the dog’s bite or
  • The victim was lawfully in a private place or bitten in a public area.

Though exceptions to these rules exist, such as for police and military dogs, generally the owner will be held liable and must compensate an injured person for their dog’s bad behavior. It is also important to understand that an injury must occur from the bite in order to be considered covered under California Civil Code Section 3342. Scratches and general injuries caused by the dog are not covered by this law, but an injured victim could claim that the owner was negligent in not securing the dog.

California’s Strict Liability With Dog Bites

Being that California is a “strict liability” state, the dog owner would be found liable even if they were not aware of the dog having aggressive behavior or if it was the first time the dog had bitten someone.

If you’re a victim of a dog bite, all you need to do is prove that you were injured in a public place or lawfully in a private area.

Does My Dog Have to Be Fenced? 

California law has taken a stance against tethering. This means that no one can tie, chain, or fasten a dog to any gate, house, or stationary object for more than a short period of time. Furthermore, whenever your dog is outside it must be on a leash, unless in a dog park or fenced yard.

Does a Dog Bite Protect Trespassers?

California dog bite law does not cover trespassers. Therefore, if a person is trespassing on a homeowner’s property and is bitten, that person may not collect any damages. This applies on a case by case basis because children trespassers are treated differently.

In some cases, the dog’s history might be taken into consideration as particularly violent dogs must be kept under stricter conditions.

California’s Dog Bite Statute of Limitation 

In California, the statute of limitation for a personal injury case is two years. So if someone is bitten and sustains an injury, they have up to two years to bring the case to the court or it will likely be thrown out if it exceeds the deadline.

Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a premises liability accident, our skilled premises liability attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Contact us today by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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