In August 2011, a thirty-two year-old woman in Pacifica, California died tragically after being attacked by her pit bull. The woman’s husband came home to find the woman lying on the floor, severely injured. He called for medical assistance and the emergency responders who arrived pronounced her dead on the scene. Police officers had to shoot and kill the dog because it approached the emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who were trying to revive the woman. This unfortunate incident emphasizes the importance of knowing California’s laws regarding dog bites and what remedies are available to those who suffer injuries as a result of an attack by a dog.
California Dog Bite Laws
In many states, dog owners are not held liable for dog bites until after their dogs bite others one time. After that, the law considers owners to be “on notice” that their dogs have the tendency to bite and they should take steps to prevent it.
Unlike other states, California imposes strict liability on dog owners if their dogs bite people when the victims are in public or lawfully on private property. This means that California dog owners are liable for any injuries that their dogs cause even if their dogs have never bitten anyone before and they had no idea that their dogs had the propensity to bite.
Dog bite victims can recover for the medical bills they incur to treat the bite, as well as for pain and suffering, permanent scarring, and lost wages for time missed from work. If you have been bitten by a dog, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you about your situation.