La Mesa Personal Injury Lawyers
- October 8, 2016
In California, dog attacks lead to serious and sometimes disfiguring injuries. Under state statutes, the dog owner is liable for any medical expenses associated with these injuries. The court may also enforce tort rulings to extend compensation for pain and suffering. The El Dabe Law Firm helps victims of these occurrences hold the dog owner accountable.
What is the Law Under Section 3342 of the California Civil Code?
The law states that the dog owner is liable regardless of whether or not the dog attack occurs in a private or public location. The owner is liable whether or not they are aware of any aggressive nature exhibited by the dog. The temperament of the dog doesn’t excuse this liability. However, knowledge of previous attacks plays a role in increasing the severity of the liability.
What Circumstances Apply to These Cases?
The victim must prove that they were inside or around the property for a lawful reason. For example, if the dog owner invited the victim into their home, they entered the property legally. Circumstances such as entering the property to perform a service for the owner or as a part of their job identifies a legal right to visit the property. Trespassing, on the other hand, is a criminal act and forfeits the right to a claim.
Next, the attack cannot be the result of provoking or abusing the animal. If the victim is guilty of these actions, the owner isn’t liable. These circumstances shift the blame toward the victim.
How Do These Laws Apply to Service Animals?
Under Section 3342, a victim is prohibited from filing a claim against service men or women who use dogs in the line of duty under specific conditions. If the dog attacked as a defense tactic, the officer nor their dog is at fault. Any act of harassment on the victim’s part also forfeits a right to a claim. Dog attacks that occur as a result of an arrest or apprehension, the execution of serving a warrant, or while defending the officer are not actionable.
What are the Responsibilities of the Owner?
The dog owner must follow specific measures to prevent an attack according to the statute. These measures include following leash laws and using kennels or enclosures to prevent access to possible victims.
They must provide compensation for all injuries and property damage that occurred as a result of the dog attack. The monetary award is calculated based on the total value of these expenses. Any tort-based awards are based on the severity of the injuries and their impact on the victim’s life.
An Assessment of Vaccination Laws
Under California’s state laws, all dog owner must have their dog vaccinated each year for rabies. These vaccinations prevent the transmission of the virus to humans or other animals. Any dog owner who fails to acquire these vaccinations is liable if a victim contracts the virus.
The Quarantine Process
When the victim seeks medical attention, their doctor reports the animal to the county’s animal control officer. The officer orders the dog owner to place the animal into quarantine for at least twelve days. A licensed vet assesses the animal’s temperament and determines if the dog is aggressive. The findings of the quarantine are released to animal control. Any dog with obvious signs of rabies is euthanized.
How Can an Attorney Help the Victim?
The attorney collects the victim’s medical records and expenses. They conduct discovery to identify any previous injury report against the dog. They acquire the findings of the vet’s assessment and evaluation. They take the information and present their claim to the court.
Securing a Medical Witness
The doctors that provide immediate or ongoing treatment offer testimony about the victim’s injuries. They explain how the victim’s injuries occurred and how they are conclusive with a dog bite. The doctors demonstrate how these injuries impact the victim’s life. For example, the loss of limb or the use of the limb presents a permanent disability. This condition prevents the victim from supporting themselves financially. Their testimony is used to provide evidentiary support for this claim.
In California, victims of dog attacks retain legal rights under Section 3342 of the California Civil Code. Dog owners are held accountable for any failure to secure the animal and prevent injuries. Any owner who fails to vaccinate their dog or doesn’t take proper precautions with a dog who has attacked previously is held at a strict liability. Victims of these events that need legal representation contact the El Dabe Law Firm today.