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What does “strict liability” mean in a dog bite lawsuit?

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2023 | Serious Injuries |

Dogs can be great companions. But these friendly canines can also become aggressive and cause severe personal injuries. If this happens, you may need to hold the dog owner accountable through an injury claim.

Thankfully, if you are attacked and hurt by someone’s dog, there are specific statutes in place to guide how liability will be determined. Unlike other states, California dog bite laws do not give dog owners free rides when it comes to the animal’s first biting incident. Rather, the state applies what is known as strict liability. But what exactly does this mean?

Understanding strict liability statute in dog bite claims

Basically, strict liability means that the dog owner may be held liable for any resulting injuries if the dog bites you. You do not need to prove that the dog owner failed to exercise reasonable care in ownership and control of the animal to prevent the attack. If you can show that the owner may also face criminal charges.

Whereas strict liability exonerates you from having to prove that the dog owner was negligent, you still need to prove that you have a legitimate claim against them. Here are some of the elements you need to prove in your dog bite claim:

  • That the defendant owned the animal
  • That the dog in question attacked and hurt you
  • That you incurred specific injuries and, thus, damages as a result of the attack

One thing that might prove your claim invalid is if the incident occurred on private property you did not have the right to be on.

A dog bite can be traumatic and painful and can leave you with life-long injuries. Claims are not always straightforward, so, if someone’s dog bites you, consider help to examine your right to seek compensation for the resulting medical bills and other damages.