The State of California is very favorable towards dog bite victims. California law establishes “strict liability” against dog owners whose dogs have bitten another person in San Diego. Strict liability means that a person is liable for harm caused by a dog bite even if the person was not negligent in causing the dog bite, advised a San Diego dog bite attorney. There are exceptions to this strict liability rule, such as when a dog has been provoked.
Many times, dogs that inflict bite wounds have not previously bitten any person. In states that require a showing that the owner was negligent, this could present a problem for dog bite victims in San Diego. However, because in San Diego dog owners are strictly liable for bites, a victim of a dog bite can still recover money even if it is the dog’s first time biting someone. If you have been bitten by a dog in San Diego, contact a injury law attorney in San Diego.
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The vast majority of dog bite victims are children. Obviously, children do not exercise the same caution that adults do in dangerous situations. They don’t have the same amount of experience in the world to understand that their idea of playing with a dog might actually cause the dog to become aggressive. So there may be cases where a child provokes a dog, and then the dog owner could invoke the provocation exception to the strict liability rule.
Even if a dog owner can invoke that exception, it does not mean that there is no way to recover compensation from the dog owner. The reason is because strict liability is not the only legal theory under which it is possible to obtain a recovery. For example negligence is another legal theory under which any possible to obtain a recovery for damages caused by a dog bite. A person acts negligently when he fails to exercise due care. It is possible to show that a person fails to exercise due care by showing that a person has knowledge that their dog is dangerous or vicious, advised a Dog bite lawyer in San Diego.
Dangerousness and viciousness are two different traits under the law. A dog is vicious if it can be shown that the owner knew that the dog had a history of biting people, snapping at them, or jumping up on them aggressively. So, if a child provokes a dog – say, by pulling on its tail, it may not be possible to recover from the dog owner on a theory of strict liability, which has the exception for provocation. However, if the owner knew that the dog was vicious, then it may be possible to establish liability on the part of the owner even if the dog was provoked.
In contrast to viciousness, which requires a showing that a dog is aggressive toward humans, a dog is dangerous if the owner knows that it engages in certain activities that put people on an unreasonable risk, even if the dog is not aggressive. For example, running alongside passing bicycles and barking at them is probably dangerous because it creates the possibility that a dog will cause an accident by either frightening the bicycle rider or tripping him up by running into or biting at the wheels or the spokes. Remember, strict liability exists only for dog bites, but not for other types of injury caused by a dog. So, if a dog causes a bicycle rider to fall over and hurt himself, but there is no previous history of the dog chasing bicycles, then it may be difficult to prove liability on the part of the dog owner. However, if the dog does have a history of chasing bicycles, then it may be possible to show that the owner knew that the dog was dangerous and therefore establish liability. On the other hand, even if the owner knows that the dog is dangerous because it chases bicycles, if the dog has not shown aggressiveness or viciousness, then it might not be possible to establish liability for injuries caused by a dog playfully leaping on a pedestrian and causing a fall. If you are in a auto accident please contact a San Diego car accident lawyer or here for a motorcycle accident attorney.
By Douglas Gilliland