Under California’s dog bite law, a dog owner is strictly liable for injury compensation if his dog bites you if you were lawfully on public or private property.
However, depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack, other parties could also be responsible for paying for any losses resulting from your injuries.
Pursuing a Claim Against These Potentially Liable Parties
A dog's owner might not have sufficient insurance coverage for your claim, so in animal attack cases, it's crucial to identify all possible defendants. You're more likely to be fully compensated for your injuries if you also file claims with the insurance companies for these parties.
Other defendants could be responsible under California’s negligence laws or an ordinance in the municipality where you were bitten. They include:
- Dog caretaker. A person taking care of a dog for the owner may be held responsible if he or she knew of the dog’s dangerous tendencies or was negligent in caring for or controlling the dog.
- Property owner. If the attack occurred while you were at another person's home or on a commercial property, the property owner might be held liable in one of two ways: if a condition on the property—such as a hole in fencing—allowed the dog to escape; or if the property owner knew the dog was dangerous.
- Landlord. A property landlord who allows a tenant to keep a dog can be responsible for an attack if he knew of the animal's vicious characteristics and had the ability to remove it from the property. A landlord might also be at fault if he breached a duty to repair property damage that allowed the dog freedom to roam and cause harm.
- Animal shelter. If the dog bite occurred at an animal shelter or the dog escaped such a facility, it may be held responsible if its negligence is proven.
- Parents. If a child was taking care of a dog when it bit you, you may have a claim against his parents, since a minor can't be held legally responsible under California law.
Did you incur damaging injuries in a dog attack? You need an experienced dog bite lawyer to identify all the parties responsible for your compensation. Take advantage of my offer for a free consultation to learn about your legal options and how I can help you. Call my San Diego office or start a live chat today to schedule your appointment.