Who Is Responsible for My Medical Costs if a Dog Bites Me?

California has strict liability laws that make dog owners responsible for dog-bite injuries. It doesn’t matter whether the owner knew the dog was aggressive before or not, the owner will be responsible for paying damages to the injured party. The law, of course, has limits. The owner of the dog is responsible if the injured party:

  • Was bitten, and
  • Was either in a public place or lawfully private place when the bite happened.

California’s strict liability laws won’t hold the owner liable if the victim was injured by a dog that didn’t bite them. An example of this could be if a dog attacked someone’s bicycle wheel and caused an accident. While the injured party cannot sue for being bitten by a dog, they still may be able to sue for compensation if they prove that their injuries were caused by the owner failing to exercise reasonable care to control his or her dog. Now, if the dog grabs someone with its teeth and doesn’t break skin, that could still count as a bite under California law and the victim could potentially sue.

There are instances where the injured party shares some liability when injured by a dog bite. Should this be the case, the victim may not receive as much compensation as they initially expected when filing the dog bite claim. If you’re filing a lawsuit against a dog owner, the following defenses might be used to argue against your case:

  • That the victim was trespassing at the time of the injury;
  • That the victim was partly at fault for the incident;
  • Or that the victim voluntarily took a risk of injury.

Bitten by a dog in California? Contact the personal injury attorneys at Needham Kepner & Fish, LLP. Let us work for you to get you the most compensation possible to pay for your pain and suffering.

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