In California, Section 3342 of the Civil Code imposes strict liability on a dog's owner for bites inflicted by his or her dog: if a dog bites another person, the dog owner is responsible for the harm caused by the bite (unless the person who was bitten was unlawfully present on private property). The injured person may seek compensation from the dog's owner for the cost of medical treatment, wages lost as a result of the injuries, pain and suffering, and related property damage, and more.
However, if the person who was bitten had provoked the dog, or in some way assumed the risk of being bitten, the financial compensation that he or she may get may be reduced. Thus, the ability to get compensation depends, in part, on a thorough investigation of the dog bite incident, and a clear and effective presentation of the evidence that supports the injured person's view of what took place.
Aside from a dog's owners, other people may also be held responsible if a dog bites a person. In California, people who keep (or are caretakers for) someone else's dog will be liable for the damage caused by that dog while in their care if they knew that the dog had "vicious or dangerous propensities." Such cases often revolve around the question of what kind of actions would put a person on notice that the dog has a tendency or inclination toward vicious or dangerous behavior.
In some circumstances, landlords may also be held responsible for bites inflicted by their tenants' dogs.
Dog attacks often cause gruesome personal injuries, and the victims are frequently children. In such cases, the consequences of a dog bite, including psychological trauma and visible scars, may last a lifetime.
If you or your child were bitten and injured by a dog, it is essential that you pursue all the necessary medical treatment and consult with an experienced dog bite attorney in Palo Alto who can investigate the incident, help preserve key evidence, and evaluate your best path to receiving monetary compensation for those injuries.
At Ziff & Cohn, our Palo Alto dog bite attorneys provide a FREE initial consultation related to dog bites. In addition, we represent our clients on a contingent fee basis--which means that we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds on our client's behalf. Our office is conveniently located on El Camino Real in Los Altos, California.