Every year in the United States, approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs. Some of these bites result in minor injuries, while others require serious medical attention. In any case, if a person is bitten by a dog in San Fernando Valley, they may be entitled to receive compensation for things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, so it is best to speak with an attorney after being bitten so they can determine if anything should be done.
California is a strict liability state, meaning that dog owners are ultimately liable for any damages caused by their pets, regardless of where the dog bite took place. Whether the dog bit someone on the owner's property, or in a public place in San Fernando Valley, the owner is still liable. The reasons for the dog's violent and aggressive behavior are also not important, only that they bit someone and the owner failed to take the proper measures to prevent the attack.
Per California law, an owner of a dog is to be held liable should their pet cause damages by biting another person either in public or when they are lawfully on private property. Unlike other states, this liability is not dependent on the previous behavior of the animal; even if the dog had never exhibited vicious behavior prior to the attack, even of the owner had no prior knowledge of the animal's behavior, they are still liable. So, for example, a completely peaceful pet could become frightened and bite a guest; even if the dog had never reacted in such a way, the owner should be liable.
An important section of this law centers on the phrase "lawfully in a private place." This means that should a person be trespassing and be bitten by a dog, the owner would not be held liable. That being said, the owner is liable in situations where they have to go onto private property while operating in the capacity of the United States government – for example, performing a duty imposed by state or federal law. It also means owners are liable should their dog bite guests which received expressed or implied invitation onto the land.
California Code §3342(b) also specifies that the liability of this law does not extend to cases where military or police dogs bit during the course of their official work when reacting to "annoying, harassing, or provoking act(s)." For example, should a police officer legally bring their dog onto private property, and should their dog react to harassment by biting – the police officer would not be liable.
Situations where this section does not affect liability for military or police dogs include the following:
Dog bites and animal attacks can leave victims not only physically scarred, but psychologically scarred as well. Victims of dog bites tend to be very skittish and weary around other dogs after being attacked and may have a difficult time when they encounter these types of animals for the rest of their life, especially in cases where children are bitten. Children account for a majority of dog bite victims, possibly due to their innocent nature and close proximity to dog's mouths. Children who are bitten by dogs tend to suffer injuries on their face and neck, leaving scars that can be disfiguring and will last a lifetime. In these cases, it is especially important to have representation from a San Fernando Valley personal injury lawyer.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from a dog bite, contact a San Fernando Valley personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus!