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Dog Bites And Legal Rights In California
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The Rights and Responsibilities Under California Dog Bite Laws
Persons who have been attacked by dogs are due legal redress and compensation. But dog owners (and dogs) have rights, too. Lawyers for both sides make their case.
When man bites dog it’s news, they say. But when dog bites man, it is a case for a dog bite lawyer.
Why? Simply, a dog bite – legally defined as any incident where the bite breaks the skin of the victim – can be costly in terms of medical care. It also can leave disfiguring marks and psychological trauma in its wake. In the most serious cases of dog attacks, the victims die.
Dog bites can lead to civil lawsuits and criminal charges. In the case of the former, a personal injury lawyer representing the victim will outline the behaviors of the dog and the victim to the court. Under criminal charges, a prosecutor will need to demonstrate guilt on the part of the dog owner for creating a public hazard (a case the owner’s dog bite attorney will work to disprove). The rights of each party are summarized as follows:
The legal rights of the dog owner
Because almost all dogs may uncharacteristically bite under certain circumstances, the degree of culpability is less if there is no more than one prior bite incident in the preceding 36 months.
If you know your dog is potentially dangerous, you may keep it in protected confines where it will not hurt others.
If someone enters this confined area against your warnings, they bear responsibility for adverse outcomes. This includes invited guests in your home as well as intruders.
If someone provokes your dog into a bite attack, you are not responsible.
The legal rights of the dog bite victim
If you are attacked in a public or private place (to which you have been invited) with no warning and no provocation, you can sue for medical costs, property loss, lost wages, cosmetic repair measures and psychological trauma.
When a dog bites you, the dog owner must supply you with their name, phone number, address, the dog’s name and license tag numbers within 48 hours.
If you have been the victim of a dog bite attack, a personal injury attorney will work to help you receive compensation for your losses. If your dog is unduly held responsible for an attack that is due to the negligence or provocation by the victim, a defense lawyer with dog bite experience will be necessary.
R. Klettke is a freelance writer. He writes about personal injury and medical malpractice law and other matters of jurisprudence.
Important Advisory: This article is not intended to provide legal advice upon which you or anyone else should rely in making any decisions regarding the instituting or prosecuting of a legal claim. Laws and rules relating to the bringing of a claim vary widely from state to state. You should always contact a personal injury attorney to obtain information as to the rules and the laws pertaining to any claim you might have.
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