When someone owns an animal, there is always a slight chance that it will attack or bite someone. In the United States, it is estimated that nearly 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog each year. However, of the 4.5 million people bitten annually, there are, on average, 38 fatalities. Some dog bite injuries don’t require medical attention, but there is a substantial number of injuries that do.
If your dog has bitten someone, you are likely confused about the legalities surrounding dog bite laws in California. It can be an incredibly nerve-wracking experience, especially if you are not sure if you will be sued and if you have a valid defense. An experienced dog bite attorney can help you navigate this challenging event.
When Does A Dog Bite Lawsuit Have To Be Filed
There is a statute of limitations in every state that places a specific deadline on when you can file a lawsuit. In California, a person can file a claim for a dog bit under a personal injury claim. That means that according to the California statute of limitations, the person suing you would need to file the personal injury claim within two years. If they have waited more than two years to file a claim, the court will likely dismiss the case.
Are You Liable If Your Dog Bites Someone In California?
Unlike other states, California follows a strict liability dog bite law. This law makes pet owners responsible for dog bite injuries even if they were not aware that their dog had bitten the person claiming compensation. Essentially, if your dog has bitten someone, you won’t be able to use the defense that you did not know that the animal could be dangerous. You also won’t be able to state that you took precautions to ensure the animal would not harm someone.
However, you should note that a dog owner is only strictly liable if your dog has undoubtedly bitten someone and the person bitten was bit somewhere public or in a lawfully private place. Additionally, there are some unique circumstances that can be difficult to navigate without the help of an attorney, like if your dog bites a veterinarian or if a military dog bites an innocent person.
Do You Have A Defense Against Dog Bites in California?
Fortunately, there are a few defenses against those suing for damages in a dog bite lawsuit. We have listed a few of the defenses you can utilize if your dog has bitten someone in California, either in a public place or a lawfully private place.
- The person who was bitten voluntarily accepted taking the risk when your dog bit them.
- The dog bit the person when they were trespassing on private property.
- The person is partly at fault for why the dog bit them.
Contact A Lawyer Soon To Discuss The Legalities Surrounding Dog Bites In California
Dog bite claims can be incredibly costly. A lawyer can help you reach a settlement if your dog has bitten someone or if someone else’s dog in California has bitten you. Get in touch with a Pomona dog bite lawyer at The JLF Firm to discuss your case or the case against you today before it is too late.