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What do you need to prove a dog bite claim in California?

by | Sep 2, 2021 | Personal Injury

When someone directly contributes to an injury that you suffer, you may be able to go to court to seek compensation or make a claim against their insurance coverage. Personal injury cases require different kinds of proof. One of the most shocking and distressing kinds of personal injury may be a dog bite attack.

An animal that you thought was cute and friendly suddenly turned vicious, causing you or your child severe injuries. Dog bites can leave disfiguring wounds that require expensive reconstructive surgery. If the animal is large, the attack could cause broken bones or damage to soft and connective tissues. Dog bites can leave lasting physical and psychological wounds.

You may need to take action against the animal’s owner to cover the costs that your family incurs because of the attack. What do you need to prove a claim about a dog bite in California?

California has a strict liability law for dog owners

In some states, there is a substantial burden of proof on the victim of a vicious dog attack. They have to either prove conclusively that the animal has bitten someone before or that the owner knew the animal to be dangerous and aggressive.

California has a law that better protects those attacked by animals. You don’t have to prove that the animal was a known threat or had a history of aggression. You only have to prove that the animal attacked you and that it caused significant injuries.

Can the dog’s owner try to deny you compensation?

Someone facing a big claim against their homeowner’s insurance policy or a civil lawsuit might try to defend themselves against your claim. They might try to convince the courts that their animal wasn’t the one that bit you or that you weren’t at their property. On the other hand, they may admit that their animal did bite you but argue it was your fault.

The only affirmative defenses available to the dog’s owner would be a claim that you had trespassed on their property or otherwise broken the law at the time of the attack. They could also potentially defend the dog’s behavior and limit their own liability if they can prove that you taunted or hurt the dog prior to the attack.

Reviewing the circumstances that led to your injury can help you hold an animal’s owner accountable when it has hurt you or someone you love.