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Attorney Jared Pursley

Who has to prove fault in a dog bite case?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2021 | Dog Bites

If you are the victim of a dog bite incident, something you should know is how to determine fault in the situation. By proving fault, it’s possible to determine who is to blame and who should be held legally liable for the damage and financial losses.

In the majority of cases, there is no need to prove fault in a dog bite incident. Why? California has strict liability laws.

Understanding strict liability laws

Strict liability laws are created to make it so that the owner of a vicious animal, in this case, a dog, is held responsible in the case of an attack. Often, there is no need to prove that the owner knew that the dog posed a risk to others or that it was aggressive. Instead, owners are automatically held liable for any damage that their pets do to others.

Generally speaking, California dog owners will need to compensate others if their dogs bite them, even if there was no history of violence or aggression.

Are there times when others may be at fault for a dog bite incident?

There could be. For example, imagine walking onto a property and being greeted by a friendly dog. If you go out of your way to kick or threaten the dog, then it may not be at fault if it attacks you.

Usually, if there is proof that the attack only occurred after someone intentionally harmed or abused the animal, the owner won’t be responsible. This can be hard for owners to prove, in most cases, but they may try to do so if they have a video of what happened or witnesses are willing to step forward.

Who pays for a dog bite?

If you are on someone else’s property when you’re bitten, then they will most likely have homeowner’s insurance, car insurance or other kinds of insurance that could cover your injuries. For example, if you’re bitten while delivering mail, you may be able to seek compensation from the dog’s owner or your own workers’ compensation coverage. If you are injured while in a car, then car insurance may cover it. This is something to keep in mind as you consider making a dog bite claim.

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