Who is Liable for a Dog Bite in Salinas CA

by Martin Vanik Gasparian on Apr. 26, 2021

Accident & Injury Animal Bite 

Summary: California leads the nation in dog bites. Some of these aren’t just teeth marks that go away in a day or two either. When large dogs attack, the injuries that they inflict can be permanent or even fatal, especially when a child is the victim.

California leads the nation in dog bites. Some of these aren’t just teeth marks that go away in a day or two either. When large dogs attack, the injuries that they inflict can be permanent or even fatal, especially when a child is the victim. If you or a family member has suffered serious dog bite injuries, contact us for a free consultation and case review. We can answer your questions and help you determine whether there is a compensable case.

Common Dog Bite Injuries

When a dog bites, it might not be a short nip. The dog might hold on and shake its head or tug. That causes more damage. Here are some common dog bite injuries:

  • Puncture wounds.
  • Facial and neck bites.
  • Torn muscles, nerves and blood veins.
  • Crushed bones.
  • Infection.

California Dog Bite Law

 The California dog bite statute is found at California Civil Code section 3342. It’s a strict liability statute. What that means is that if you’re the victim of a dog attack, you need only prove the following three things: Those follow:

  • That the person who your claim is against owned the dog.
  • The attack occurred on public property or on private property that the claimant was legally present on.
  • The claimant was bitten and injuries resulted.

Two Common Defenses to Dog Bite Claims in California

Given the fact that California is a strict liability dog bite state, there are very few defenses available to the owner of a dog that bites and injures somebody. The two most common defenses are trespass and provocation. As section 3342 only protects dog bite victims who are lawfully on private property, a damages recovery for a trespasser who was attacked by a dog is prohibited. As per provocation, examples of provoking a dog would be making threatening gestures toward a dog or its owner. Merely reaching to pet a dog or speaking with its owner doesn’t warrant a provocation defense.

Non-Bite Injuries

A person might be started by a dog and fall, trip and fall over a dog or even get knocked over by a dog that is simply happy to see him or her. Injuries caused by dog behavior that doesn’t involve bites isn’t compensable under section 3342. The language in the statute is clear that it only contemplates bites. An injury victim might still be able to seek compensation through the law of negligence though.

What to Do After a Serious Dog Bite

Time is critical in dog bite cases. First and foremost, medical attention should be sought immediately. Get to an emergency room or urgent care center right away. Save any torn or bloody clothing. It’s evidence. Hopefully, you can identify the dog and the owner of the dog that bit you. Report the attack to city or county animal control officials along with ownership information. Then, take photos of your injuries and call us and ask for a free consultation and case review. Along with other damages, you’re eligible be compensated for permanent scarring or disability.

Contact a Salinas California Personal Injury Lawyer

After suffering a dog bite, don’t give any information about your condition or how the bite occurred to the insurer of the dog’s owner. California law doesn’t require you to do that, and it’s only going to use any information it obtains to try and devalue or deny your claim in its entirety. Contact our Salinas office instead for that free consultation and case review. We’ll listen to you carefully and answer your questions too. After that, you’ll be advised of how we believe your dog bite claim should be addressed.

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