Personal Injury: California Dog Owners Strictly Liable for Bites

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 4.5 million reports of dog bites are filed nationwide each year, and an insurance provider reports that most dog bites occur in California. Not all dog bites are cause severe personal injury, but authorities say about one in five bites requires medical care. Victims can seek recovery of damages.

The insurance provider says about half of all dog-bite victims are children, followed by the elderly who are also more vulnerable to attacks by dogs. Although many of the victims are not strangers to the dogs that attack them, mail carriers are at an elevated risk, and they are high on the list of dog-bite victims. Certain breeds of dogs, such as pit bulls, are said to be more likely to attack somebody, but then so are Chihuahuas, but because they are so much smaller, their bites seldom cause severe wounds.

In many cases, dogs attack because they feel threatened or find themselves in unfamiliar situations that cause anxiety. Dog owners are fully responsible for the behavior of their dogs, and they should train puppies from a young age. Dog owners should also learn to recognize signs of stress in their dogs, such as in the presence of children or around other dogs. It is then their responsibility to avoid such situations, and it might be a good idea to take the dog for socialization training.

Under California law, dog owners are strictly liable for dog bites to other people. Victims can pursue claims for financial relief without having to prove negligence by the dog owner or that the dog was vicious. This may not be the case if a dog jumps up and knocks a person down without biting him or her. An experienced personal injury attorney can explain the rights of a dog attack victim and provide valuable support and guidance throughout the legal proceedings of a civil lawsuit.