Picture this: You’ve been attacked and seriously hurt by someone’s dog. And you have witnesses and medical reports to corroborate your claim. The animal owner doesn’t refute your claim either, but they won’t pay for damages. And the courts agree with them. Why might this be?
Per California law, a dog owner is generally liable for any injuries caused by their animal. Thus, if you are attacked and hurt by someone’s dog, you may be entitled to compensation through a premises liability claim. However, not all premises liability claims end in compensation. If your dog bite claim is denied, you might be curious to know what led to the denial. Here are a few questions that can help you understand why your claim could have been denied:
Did you provoke the dog?
Whereas dogs are generally friendly animals, they can become aggressive when threatened. For instance, if you tease or hit a strange dog, it will look for room to flee. If they can’t, however, they may become agitated.
A dog owner will almost certainly get off the hook if they have evidence that you provoked an otherwise harmless animal. If you intentionally step on or pull the dog’s tail, try to take its food or intervene in their fight, then your resulting premises liability claim may be denied.
Were you trespassing on the dog owner’s property when the attack happened?
A dog owner owes you a duty of care as long as you are on their property lawfully. Of course, the dog owner is duty-bound to act reasonably and restrain their animal at all times. However, if you clearly saw a label like “Do not trespass. Dog’s on property” but still went ahead and unlawfully gained entry into the property, then you may have a hard time winning your dog bite claim.
Protecting your rights after a dog bite
A dog attack can be a very frightening experience. Knowing your legal rights and options can help you hold the dog owner accountable for their animal’s actions.