Anyone who keeps or owns a dog is liable for the animal’s actions as per the laws. If you are riding a bike, and a dog starts to aggressively chase you, bites you and/or leads to an accident with injuries, then the dog owner can be held liable. A dog chasing you might not have any bad intentions, but you will not be in a position to read its mind.
California Law on Dog Bite
As per the Section 3342 of the state Civil Code, the dog owner is responsible for the damages sustained by one who got bitten by the animal in a lawfully private place or public place. California is a strict liability state, meaning here the owner is strictly liable for it regardless of whether they had prior knowledge of the viciousness of the dog or whether it was vicious. The owner of the dog becomes automatically responsible for the cyclist’s damages with no regard to fault. The point that the plaintiff provoked the dog is the lone apparent defense for the dog keeper or owner.
Many different injuries can occur as a result of a dog attack which happened during the chase or after it. Some of the common injuries that can result in include the following.
- Skin punctures
- Permanent scarring
- Fractures and dislocations
- Nerve damage
Dog Chase Accidents
The bicycle rider might feel nervousness or fear as a dog chase him. He can lose his focus on the road conditions and his surroundings and thus, might crash without the animal even touching him. This fact situation is controlled by the California Civil Code Section 31642, which states that the owner must keep the dog either indoors or inside a securely fenced area. It is considered secure provided the dog cannot escape from it. If it is off of this area or the owner’s property, it has to be kept on an appropriately long leash and under a responsible adult’s control. If the dog brings any accident injuries by chasing a cyclist, and if it didn’t bite, then the negligence law would apply rather than strict liability.
What to Do After a Dog Bite or Dog Chase Injury
Time is an important element in any case, let alone one involving a dog. Here is what the rider should do as soon as they can.
- Identify the dog, the owner, and their living place;
- Seek emergency treatment;
- Report the matter to local authorities; and,
- Take photos of your injuries; if you are not in a condition to do that, have these taken by someone else.
After you have taken these measures, get in touch with a dog lawyer office. There is California dog bite attorneys who can evaluate the circumstances related to the incident, your injuries, and give you legal advice on this matter.