You were enjoying a day at a local park when a strange dog approached you. At first, it seemed from a distance that it was friendly, but as it approached, it became more agitated. While you tried to back away, you couldn’t put enough distance between you, and you ended up getting attacked.
This kind of situation is upsetting because it’s completely preventable. The owner of the dog should have kept it on a leash or contained within their vehicle, yard or home. Now, they could be held strictly liable for your injuries and need to cover your losses associated with medical care, missed days of work and other problems caused by the dog bite.
How do you know who’s responsible?
Initially, it’s important to try to keep the dog with you. For example, if you’re bitten but someone is able to subdue the animal until animal control can come to get it, then that will help keep the dog present for identification purposes. If the dog has a collar or microchip, then either of those should provide information on who the owner of the dog is and help you hold them liable for their dog’s actions.
If the dog does not have any identifying information, animal control may hold it for several days to see if an owner steps forward.
Will the owner always be responsible for their dog’s actions?
California holds the owners of dogs strictly liable for any damage or injuries that they cause. Even if the owner isn’t technically at fault, the dog bite will be their responsibility. There are some rare exceptions to the rule, such as if you were to provoke the dog intentionally, but in the majority of cases, the owner will be responsible for covering your financial losses.
Some of the expenses you could run into include:
- Needing cosmetic surgery for scars
- Needing psychological counseling
- Expenses related to missing work
- Medical expenses
It’s important that the appropriate party is held liable for those expenses. You were injured at no fault of your own, so you should be able to get the support you need to cover your losses.