According to recent studies, dog bite incidents are probably a lot more common than you realize. One study estimates that over 316,000 people visit hospital emergency rooms each year as the result of a dog bite, which breaks down to about 898 cases per day. While it’s always important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a dog bite occurs, understanding the legal ramifications of such a situation is equally essential to the safety and well being of yourself, of the victim and of the animal in question moving forward.
Dog Bite Laws in San Bernardino
Thankfully, the legal context surrounding dog bites in San Bernardino and other areas in California is quite clear. California Civil Code section 3342 covers this particular topic and specifies that if your dog bites ANYONE, you as the owner will be held liable for damages in a civil claim. This is true providing that:
• The injury to the person in question was indeed caused by a dog bite, and
• The injured person was in a public place or was lawfully in a private residence when the incident occurred.
This means that if you and your dog are out for a walk and it bites someone, you will be held responsible. Likewise, if you’ve invited someone over to your home to watch a movie one evening and they sustain a dog bite, you will also be held liable despite the fact that you are not in a public place and it was common knowledge that a dog lived in the home.
The only exception to this is that if the dog in question was technically engaged in some type of military or law enforcement work. If you get bit randomly by a police dog, whether you’re in public or in private, you will not typically be able to sue for damages – even if it is found that you weren’t actually doing anything wrong at the time.
At Harshbarger Law, we understand that accidents happen – but this simple idea does very little to actually comfort you in the event of a dog bite. Whether you’ve been on the receiving end of a bite yourself or if your furry little friend lashed out at another person, the importance of finding a legal professional to offer you the care and attention-to-detail you need cannot be overstated enough. To find out more about dog bite laws in San Bernardino, or to discuss any other type of personal injury situation in greater detail, please contact Harshbarger Law today.