Guidelines For Dog Bite Lawsuits In California

If you were recently bitten by a dog, then you might have looked into the possibility of filing a lawsuit. However, you want to make sure that you are as prepared as possible before you make any serious commitments. Laws can vary dramatically from state to state, which means that you need to have all the facts in your own state before you dive in. To help out with that, here are some of the laws that you will encounter when filing in California:

Strict Liability

If you have read up on dog bite lawsuits, then you might have read about the one-bite rule. It is extremely important that you understand that the one-bite rule does not apply in California, which subscribes to a strict liability policy.

Under the one-bite rule, the owner of a dog might not actually be legally responsible for damage caused by a dog bite. If the owner didn't have a valid reason to expect their dog to act aggressively, then they shouldn't have to pay for any damages because they couldn't have foreseen the injury. However, once the dog has committed an act of aggression, then all future injuries will be treated as the responsibility of the owner.

Under strict liability, the owner is responsibility for any dog bite, regardless of whether it was the first bite or not. As far as you are concerned, this means that you are favored by California. You can sue for a dog bite, even if the owner didn't expect that it would happen.

Trespassing and Provocation

If you were trespassing at the time of the bite or provoked the dog in any way, then your case might be impossible to win. Both of these rules are rather intuitive, since you can't really blame someone else for your injuries if you were in the middle of committing a crime or if you brought them upon yourself.

The Statute of Limitations

You also want to make sure that you abide by the statute of limitations, since a failure to do so can severely undermine your case. In California, you need to file within 2 years of the incident.

There are some exceptions, but the only one that really applies is the minor extension. If you were not of legal age at the time of the incident, then you were effectively unable to file on your own behalf. As a result, the statute of limitations will start counting from the date that you legally become able to file, which tends to be the date that you legally become an adult. For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer, like one from Smith & O'Hare PS Inc.