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The Elements Needed to Prove a Dog Bite Claim in California

In the State of California, a person who has ownership of a canine can be held strictly accountable for the injury or harm caused by the dog, in spite of how much the animal has been trained and without regard to the dog’s history. The California Civil Code §3342 defines the state’s strict dog bite law. Under this statute, dog owners in California can be held accountable for any injuries and harms caused by their dog.

Elements Needed to Prove a Dog Bite Case

According to CACI No. 463, a plaintiff who claims to have been bitten by the defendant’s dog will need to prove the following elements in order to hold the defendant accountable for the injuries caused by the dog:

  • The accused party owned the dog
  • The canine bit the victim while in a public place, or otherwise lawfully on private property
  • The victim suffered injuries
  • The accused party’s dog was a significant factor in causing the victim’s injuries

Strict Liability in the State of California

Under California’s strict liability statute, a person can be held accountable for his or her actions, even when not acting in a negligent manner. For the most part, in order to prove a claim, the victim will need to show that the defendant’s conduct or actions were negligent. Under strict liability, however, the victim will not need to prove the defendant acted in a negligent manner. According to California’s strict liability statute, the owner can be held accountable for the damages even when the following factors apply:

  • The dog owner took all possible actions to prevent the incident from occurring,
  • The dog owner had prior knowledge of the animal’s history of vicious tendencies, and/or
  • The dog owner had reason to believe that the animal would act aggressively toward the person

The state’s statute imposes a strict liability only on the canine’s owner. Still, other people can be held accountable under this statute, such as the dog’s handler or keeper. Under the statute, these parties can be deemed as “owners” of the dog. In order for them to be held accountable for the injuries caused by the dog however, the handler or keeper must have had prior knowledge of the canine’s aggressive behavior.

Filing a Dog Bite Case As a Premises Liability Claim

When an individual enters the property of another, he or she can reasonably expect that he or she will not be injured or hurt while in the property. This is generally referred to as a standard of care, and property owners owe standard of care to those in the property. Consequently, it is the property owner’s obligation to ensure the property is safe for all individuals entering the property, and this will include keeping potentially dangerous animals away from people or warning them of the dangerous animal.

As a Victim of a Dog Bite, Obtain Experienced Legal Counsel

Dog bite cases are often thought of as insignificant cases that do not lead to serious injuries. The reality is that dog bite cases are very serious and they usually lead to infections, disfigurement, and oftentimes death. If you or someone you love has been mauled by a dog in the State of California, there may be an opportunity to recover financial compensation . Speak to an attorney who can help you defend your right to a fair compensation.

Attorney Scot T. Moga has dedicated his legal practice to the pursuit of helping victims obtain compensation following an accident. If you have suffered a dog bite, it is essential to act quickly. Consider contacting Attorney Moga today for a free case evaluation.

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