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California Dog Bite Law on Provocation

What if a Dog Bite Was Provoked by the Victim?

For the most part, if a dog was provoked into biting someone, the aggrieved individual will not be entitled to any damages. Below, our experienced dog bite attorneys will discuss dog bites that were provoked, as well as the special circumstances behind these claims. If you have suffered a dog bite injury, West Coast Trial Lawyers is always here to answer any questions you may have about dog bite claims and available damages.

To schedule a free consultation, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (213) 927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

The Role of Provocation 

Provocation can mean many things. Most people assume it automatically means poking or teasing a dog in an overt way, such as by taunting it from behind the safety of a fence. Of course, taunting a dog from behind a fence is a valid example of a behavior that is intended to provoke a dog. But there are many other actions that can easily trigger a dog to attack. 

For the most part, any behavior or action that makes a dog act aggressively can count as provocation. If it can be proven that you provoked a dog, you will not likely be entitled to any damages and the dog owner will not be subject to liability. 

An aggrieved individual needs to show proof that the dog bite occurred without the dog being teased or taunted at. This person must be truthful and convince a court that it was more than 50 percent likely that the dog’s reaction was brought on by itself rather than having it caused by the aggrieved individual. On the other hand, the dog owner would have to argue the inverse, that the dog was indeed provoked. 

Special Circumstances

Let’s consider a few unique circumstances. For example, an unstable dog reacts very aggressively after a minor provocation. In that case, the dog owner can be held liable since they should have already known that their dog was overly sensitive and would react aggressively. 

Unintentional provocation may also occur. The court could potentially relieve owners of liability, depending on the situation. The victim is expected to show proof that they did not harm the dog on purpose. Some common dog bite cases that have been claimed to be unintentional include: 

  • Petting the dog while it was eating food
  • Spraying pepper spray on a dog for self-defensive purposes
  • Accidentally stepping on the dog’s paw or tail
  • Breaking up a dog fight

The court will have to analyze evidence and statements given by both parties in order to determine who should be held liable for injuries based on the severity of the injury, what caused the dog bite, and the dog’s history. 

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help 

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a dog bite, our expert dog bite attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

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

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