Parents teach young children to always ask before petting a strange dog for a very good reason. Animals that look friendly can turn vicious with very little warning.
Whether you were bitten or your child suffered severe injuries, a dog bite attack can lead to major expenses for your family. As someone living in California, what rights do you have when a dog hurts you or someone you love?
Owners are usually responsible for the behavior of their animals
California has a strict liability statute for dog bites. The owner of an animal has an obligation to restrain or train the animal so that it does not pose a threat to other people.
The animal’s owner is responsible in most cases. Only when someone was in the act of committing a crime or illegally on a property does the owner potentially have a defense against the strict liability standard for pet owners in California.
Insurance or a civil claim can compensate you
The dog’s owner may have a homeowner’s insurance policy that protects them. Those hurt by an animal can sometimes file a claim against an insurance policy to seek repayment of their lost wages, medical expenses and property damage losses.
Unfortunately, some people don’t have insurance. Others didn’t tell their insurance company that they had a dog or lied about the animal’s breed. If there isn’t insurance or if the injuries are severe and exceed the available coverage, a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner could help your family. Knowing your rights after a dog bite attack will protect you and the people you love.