Does a dog owners legal defenses hold up in court if their dog bite’s someone?
In California, when a dog bite’s any person, the dog owner is held liable for any damages sustained by the victim. The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith has handled hundreds of dog bite cases including cases in which the dog owner has attempted to avoid liability or decrease their share of liability using legal defense. In a dog bite case, a dog owner may be able to defend a claim or lawsuit by some of the following common legal defenses:
• Provoking the dog – A dog owner may be able to defend a lawsuit by showing the injured person provoked the dog. For example, hitting or teasing a dog. Simply, walking toward a dog does not constitute provocation.
• Knowingly risked being injured by the dog – For example, a person who saw a dog barking viciously behind a fenced gate and proceeded to go through the gate may be construed as assuming the risk of being bitten.
• Trespassing – the injured person was trespassing. Note, however, that a trespasser still can base a claim on strict liability for a dangerous propensity, or negligence.
• Breaking the law – the injured person was committing a crime on the owner’s property.
It is important to note, a child under 5 in California cannot be prevented from a recovery because of a provocation.
If you were bitten by a dog and were lawfully on private property and were not committing a crime, or tormenting the dog then the dog’s owner is liable for your injuries and damages under California’s dog bite laws. Even if a dog owner is defending it’s dog and liability appears to be in question, it is important to consult with an experienced dog bite attorney to help sort out the facts. Oftentimes, the dog owners defenses are not legitimate legal defenses at all.
Contact an experienced dog bite attorney at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith for a free consultation on your dog bite case. We can be reached at 916.921.6400. You can learn more about our office by visiting www.autoaccident.com. Reviews are on Yelp.