Dog bites can cause severe injury, infection, and even death. Every year, 4.5 million dog bites occur around the country, and 1 in 5 of them need medical care.
California leads the nation in the number of dog bites reported each year, according to a recent survey by State Farm, based on its insurance claims. With 488 claims in 2017, we lead the nation, with almost 14% of the total dog bite injuries in the U.S.
Not only was California #1, it was number one by a wide margin. The state with the second most dog bites, Illinois, had just 318 claims versus California’s 488.
One-half of all dog bite injuries occur in children, who are particularly vulnerable. Many dog bite injuries are also sustained by senior citizens. Certain occupations, such as mail carriers, are also vulnerable.
What California Law Says About Dog Bites: Strict Liability
Dog bites can be injurious and even terrifying. Fortunately, California has strong laws against dog bites.
Our state has a law with strict liability. What that means is that people injured by a dog bite do not have to prove that owners were aware that their dogs had been violent before, that they were unaware that the dog could be dangerous, or that they were careful to prevent the possibility that the dog could attack. These things are sometimes necessary to prove negligence and receive compensation in a legal case. But in the case of a dog bite in California, they are not necessary for an injured party to prove.
It’s important to know, though, that in general this strict liability exists only if you were bitten. A person chased by a dog who does not bite them, then, is generally not able to bring a case under the strict liability law.
If a dog injures someone and does not bite them, however, it may be possible to bring a case. Because it is not covered by the strict liability law, though, the injured party would have to prove in court that the owner failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent the dog from attacking someone.
Strict liability law also requires that the injured person be in a public place or in a private place legally. So a person injured by a dog bite who was illegally in someone’s home would not necessarily be protected under the strict liability dog bite law.
People who are carrying out a public duty under the law, like mail carriers, are considered lawfully on private property.
Need a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer in L.A.?
Dog bites are, unfortunately, frequent in the Los Angeles area. Fortunately, the law gives recourse.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite in southern California, please call experienced Los Angeles dog bite injury lawyer Sean Salamati today. Our seasoned professionals will review your case for free, without any obligation on your part. There is no charge to you for an initial consultation, and we charge no fees unless we win your case.
- Clark, Lucas and Abbie Bennett. “California is the No. 1 state for dog-bite injuries, State Farm says.” The Tribune. May 11, 2018. https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/state/california/article210823979.html
- “When your dog bites.” State Farm. https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/family/when-your-dog-bites