Dog attacks have caused death, disfigurement, disability and psychological impairment.
If the dog actually bites a person, the dog owner is responsible under Civil Code Section 3342(a) known as the Dog Bite Statute. If the dog causes an injury by knocking a person down, then Negligence Law applies.
People who own dogs can be held responsible for the harm from a dog attacking another person, no matter how carefully they guard or restrain their dogs. To prove liability, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owned the dog; that the dog bit the plaintiff while he or she was in a public place or lawfully on private property; that the plaintiff was harmed; and that the dog was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm. CACI 463
Dog Attacks Where the Animal Does Not Bite
Do I need to hire an attorney?
A lawsuit will need to be filed if the dog-owner’s insurance company refuses to pay you reasonable compensation for your dog attack related injuries. Ordinarily, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to demonstrate that the defendant was negligent. This can be difficult to manage on your own as you work to heal both physically and emotional from the attack. You need experienced attorneys who are not afraid to go after the insurance company, including going to trial if necessary.
Typical Defenses in a Dog Attack Case
- Dog was provoked by plaintiff;
- Dog didn’t bite the plaintiff;
- Plaintiff was not lawfully on private property;
- It wasn’t the defendant’s dog;
- Plaintiff was contributorily negligent.