A man being bitten by a dog while walking outside.

Under California’s “no bite” law, dog owners are responsible for the injuries their canines cause to others. This strict liability law means that a dog bite victim need not prove that the dog’s owner or keeper knew the animal was dangerous. But this does not mean compensation is guaranteed to victims in these cases.

Individuals who are sued in a dog bite lawsuit may have one or more defenses available. A successful defense could mean that you and your dog bite attorney cannot recover much compensation, or any compensation at all.

Defenses You Should Be Aware Of In Case The Defendant Attempts To Fight The Lawsuit

Depending on the facts of your case, a defendant who is alleged to be liable for your dog bite injuries may raise the following defenses. If they do, your dog bite attorney’s burden is to prove that such defenses do not apply or are insufficient for the defendant to escape liability.

The Defendant Claims They Are Not the Dog’s Owner or Caretaker

First, a defendant may try to claim that the dog that bit you is not their dog, even though the dog may have been on their property. Homeowners are generally not responsible for the actions of strays or runaways that may have wandered onto their property and bitten someone.

One of the first tasks your dog bite attorney will complete is to establish that the defendant you are suing is the one who is legally responsible for the dog. This element can be established through municipal records, vet records, or witnesses who personally know the dog’s owner.

You Were Not Legally Permitted to Be on the Property

Generally, a dog owner is not responsible for the harm done to a trespasser — someone who is not legally permitted to be on private property where the bite happened. 

Strict liability for dog bites attaches when the bite occurs in a public place or somewhere you are legally permitted to be. It does not exist if you have no legal right to be in the location where you are bitten.

If the defendant in your lawsuit uses this tactic and claims you had no right to be on the private property where your bite occurred, your dog bite lawyer will want to examine the location closely. 

An absence of fencing, no trespass signs, or other indications of private ownership may defeat this defense. Alternatively, evidence or testimony that establishes you were either invited or had a lawful right to be on the property can also prevail over this argument.

Steinberg Injury Lawyers Is Ready to Help You After Filing A Dog Bite Lawsuit

Do not let the strict liability nature of dog bite lawsuits lull you into a false sense of security. These cases may require a thorough investigation and considerable evidence to counter defenses made by the other party. 

Steinberg Injury Lawyers has significant experience in successfully representing individuals bitten or hurt by dogs under various circumstances.

Let us show you how we can help in your quest for compensation after a dog attack. Call Steinberg Injury Lawyers and set up your free consultation today.

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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