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Seeking compensation for dog attack injuries, P.2

Last time, we began looking at the topic of negligence as it relates to dog bite litigation. As we noted, negligence in such cases refers to a dog owner’s failure to exercise reasonable care with his or her dog and thereby causing harm to the accident victim. Negligence can occur any number of ways, including failure to properly restrain a dog, failure to keep a dog under control, providing an occasion for a dog to harm others, and so on.

Another possible legal theory in dog bite litigation is strict liability, which refers to California’s strict liability statute. Under this law, dog owners are liable for damages suffered by those who are bitten by their dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the dog owner’s property. The owner is liable regardless of whether or not he or she had knowledge, or not, of the former viciousness of the dog. 

According to the California Civil Jury Instructions, which are used to prepare juries to make decisions, dog owners can be held liable for harm from a dog bite no matter how carefully they guard or restrain their animal, so it isn’t a question of taking reasonable care. A dog bite victim who is attacked while on the dog owner’s property may hold the owner strictly liable as long as the victim can prove that the victim was lawfully on the owner’s property, that the victim performing any duty required by law, or that the victim was on the owner’s property by the owner’s invitation, whether express or implied.

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this topic, particularly the importance of working with an experienced attorney when seeking compensation for dog bite injuries.


California Civil Code, Article 3342

Justia, California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI), 463. Dog Bite Statute (Civ. Code, § 3342)—Essential Factual Elements, Accessed Nov. 15, 2016. 

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