Are you aware that California leads the nation in dog bites and bite-related insurance claims? While not a very flattering state statistic, it does encourage residents to practice caution around unfamiliar animals.
That said, you shouldn’t have to worry about dogs. Pet owners shoulder the responsibility of preventing their animals from harming others. Unfortunately, you cannot count on all animal owners to care about their responsibilities.
Are dog owners strictly liable for dog bite injuries?
They are in California except in limited circumstances. For example, those who trespass onto private property might not be eligible for compensation if the trespass ends in a dog attack.
Still, in most situations, owners remain “strictly liable” for injuries sustained through dog bites. In injury law, strict liability means dog bite victims generally do not need to prove fault on the part of the animal owner.
Memorize these key points
Some victims believe they have no claim unless the dog has already bitten at least one other person. Here in Orange County, you can claim even if you are the first or only person the animal ever attacked. Three more points to learn include:
- Owners are liable for bites if the victim was lawfully present on public and private property.
- You could have grounds to file a dog bite claim even if the animal was leashed or otherwise restricted.
- Strict liability covers dog bites but might not apply to other harm caused by the animal (clawing, mauling, etc.).
In answer to the title question, the dog owner is responsible for your injury-related medical bills because they must compensate you for your harm. You can find additional answers to your questions by learning more about California dog bite laws.