Drivon Turner & Waters,PLC

Dog bite liability in California

In the state of California, dog owners are liability for the actions of their pet. However, there are two exceptions to this rule.

The first exception is that if an individual is on private property unlawfully and receives a dog bite, then the owner is not responsible. For example, if a thief jumps a fence and goes into a backyard at night, he or she is on the property unlawfully and becomes subject to any injuries which may occur.

The second exception is for use of a dog in military or police work. In this instance, no charges may be brought against the governmental agency utilizing such animal for the purpose of apprehending a suspect, investigating a crime, executing a warrant, or protecting a peace officer.

Depending on the situation, dog owners may be charged civilly or criminally for bites, up to a felony charge. An owner is responsible to an injured party to provide contact information and vaccination records within 48 hours of a bite. If he or she refuses to do so, a civil fine of up to $100 can incur.

In situations where a dog known to be vicious, have a bite history, or trained to attack is improperly secured, an owner can face serious criminal charges. Injuries from this classification of dogs can be so severe that death occurs.

The statute of limitations in California for filing a dog bite claim in two years from the date an incident occurred. By speaking with an experienced attorney, a bite victim can obtain a reasonable estimate of compensation that could be awarded based on the specific circumstances of a particular case.

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