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Potential Liable Parties Following a Dog Bite Injury

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are nearly 77 million dogs in the nation, with more than 48 million households owning dogs as pets. For centuries, dogs have been considered man’s best friend, but unfortunately, these pets can cause serious injuries when they attack and bite a person.

Although dog bites can vary by severity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about one in five dog bites will require medical care. When a person suffers a dog bite, compensation for the damages sustained can be pursued.

A Dog Owner’s Responsibility

Every state has its own laws regarding dog bite laws, but in California, when a dog bites a person, the dog’s owner will be held responsible for the injury. Based on California’s Civil Code §3342, strict liability is imposed on every dog owner. Whether or not the dog owner was negligent will not be considered, since dog owners are held legally responsible for the bite providing that: The attack occurred in a public place; The attack occurred while the victim was legally in a private place; and The victim did not provoke the dog prior to the attack.

Other Potentially Liable Parties

While California’s strict dog bite law holds dog owners strictly responsible for the damages caused when their dog bites a person, the following parties may also face accountability:

  1. The Dog’s Caretaker or Keeper

When the dog is not under its owner’s control at the time of the attack, the keeper or caretaker can face liability for the attack. Although they will not face strict liability, they can still be held responsible. Unlike dog owners, caretakers and keepers must have prior knowledge of the dog’s aggressiveness and vicious propensities to face accountability for the mauling.

  1. Residential Property Owners

In order for property owners to be held accountable, it is necessary to demonstrate that the residential property owner knew of the presence of the animal in his or her property.

  1. Landlords

Under certain conditions, landlords can face accountability for the injuries caused by a dog bite. To establish liability, the landlord must: Have the legal right to remove the animal from the property; and Have had known of the tenant’s dog’s aggressive propensities.

  1. Commercial Property Owners

Commercial property owners have a duty to inspect their property and ensure the property is reasonably safe from conditions that could cause harm to others.

  1. Other Potentially Liable Parties

Depending on the facts of the case, other parties can also face responsibility for a victim’s damages, including: Child care centers, Homeowner associations (HOAs), or School districts.

Consult a Knowledgeable Attorney After a Dog Bite Injury

Depending on the facts of the case, establishing fault after a dog bite case may require extensive investigations. As a result, it is necessary to contact the legal guidance of a knowledgeable attorney who is well-versed in dog bite injury cases.

Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP has helped many dog bite injury victims obtain the financial compensation they were owed. Whether or not you know who is at-fault for your case, consider contacting the support of the law firm for support. The attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP can help you investigate the case and advocate on your behalf so that you recover the highest amount of compensation available.

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Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.