Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years to be friendly creatures. Most dog owners would never suspect their usually mild-mannered pooch would bite someone. Still, dogs are animals, and animals who feel threatened or provoked may lash out and bite. With this in mind, how are dog owners in California held accountable for the actions of their pets?
Dog bite liability
There is no “one-bite” rule in California. Under California law, dog owners are responsible for their dog’s actions if their animal bites someone in a public setting or if the victim is lawfully on someone’s private property. A dog owner can be held liable even if the incident was the first time their dog bit someone, and if the owner had no reason to suspect their animal might be vicious. There are no second chances for the dog or the owner.
What is a ‘vicious’ dog?
California law also states when a dog is considered vicious. If a dog, who is unprovoked, bites or otherwise causes a victim to suffer severe injury or death, that dog is deemed to be vicious. A dog who has already been determined to be a “potentially dangerous dog” and continues to act as one is also considered a vicious dog.
Dog bites can inflict serious injury
Dog bites can cause serious injuries, disfigurement and emotional trauma. Sometimes dog bites are deadly. For these reasons, it is important for dog bite victims to hold the dog owner responsible for the harms their pet caused. For some, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is one way to recover the compensation they are entitled to following a dog bite.