Like many people, you’ve probably experienced an incident where you were playing with a dog who started to get a little too aggressive. When a dog feels scared or threatened, they may exhibit their fears by reacting defensively. Some dogs will give you an adequate warning — by growling, snarling, or whimpering — that they would like to be left alone. However, some dogs can attack without warning, whether or not you do anything to provoke them.
A dog bite can cause serious injury and infection. A person who owns a dog who attacks someone else can be held liable for the damage their pet caused. If you were bitten by a dog and are thinking about pursuing legal action, you may be curious about whether your specific circumstances warrant a case.
The strength of your case will depend on the dog bite laws in your state. Most states follow a principle of strict liability or negligence in relation to dog attack cases. In states where a proof of negligence is required, a plaintiff must prove that the dog owner acted carelessly in some way, enabling the attack. This can include a lack of training, a failure to restrain the dog, or any indication that the owner was aware of the dog’s aggressive behavior (or potential to act aggressively) and did nothing to prevent the attack.
Strict liability laws, which are the type of dog bite laws that are established in California, state that the owner of a dog is responsible for all attacks, regardless of their level of negligence. In strict liability states, a dog owner may only be able to avoid paying damages if they were trespassing on the owner’s private property.
So, depending on the dog bite laws that are in place in the state where you reside, your justification for pursuing legal action may be as simple as this: You were attacked by a dog, and the attack resulted in financial and emotional damages. If the owner acted negligently, their actions can either justify, or simply strengthen your case.Contact Del Rio & Caraway, P.C. to see if you have a dog bite case and discover your options. Call (916) 229-6755 or send us a message to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.