Dogs can make the best of companions to their owners and families. For strangers, on the other hand, there is very little guarantee that these animals will not turn hostile and attack them. In California, we see plenty of cases where dogs bite or attack strangers and leave them injured and traumatized for long periods. They even call California the “dog bite capital” of the country, going by the sheer number of insurance claims filed in relation to such incidents.
Dog owners living in California are subject to strict liability when it comes to injuries caused by their canine companions. However, that is not to say that all bite victims have compensation as a foregone conclusion if they chose to sue.
The Meaning of “Strict Liability”
Some states only hold dog owners responsible in cases where they knew of, or had reason to know of, destructive or vicious tendencies of the dog. These states essentially give a “one free bite” provision, which means that a formerly friendly dog could bite someone for the first time, and its owner would not face heavy charges.
In this regard, things are different in California. The dog owner is seen as legally responsible for any injury or harm his or her dog may cause, and this holds even when the animal has no history of viciousness. Even if the owner has no reason to suspect their pet could turn violent, and it does, they would be liable to compensate anyone injured as a result.
Strict Liability and Compensation Recovery
As any dog attack lawyer could tell you that the above setup ensures the courts would place fault on the dog owner if they failed to adequately restrain their animal. It does not, however, guarantee that the victim will automatically receive compensation. On their side, they need to prove the ownership of the dog; the injury they suffered as well as consequent losses; that they did not antagonize the dog before it attacked; and that they had the legal right to be present at the place where they were attacked. Failing any of these, the plaintiff could lose out on part of all of the achievable compensation.
Any dog bite victim could benefit from the expertise of a dog attack injury attorney who knows their business. A certified and well-known professional would have what it takes to win the maximum compensation allowed under California law.