We’ve all read frightening news stories about dog Bite injuries and deaths. Our Stockton dog bite lawyers know of many local cases that never made front page headlines. Every year people are harmed by out-of-control dogs in Stockton. Dog bite attorneys at Sette Law say that owner liability for dog bite injuries has some specific requirements if victims are to be compensated for their many personal losses.
The statutes governing dog bites often vary among jurisdictions and in some regions “common law” applies. According to our Stockton dog bite lawyers, generally, a few key factors are considered. Personal injury attorneys representing a dog bite victim will investigate whether or not the dog had a known reputation for being aggressive and also consider if the animal had suffered abuse. But, essentially, the focus of any Stockton dog bite legal case will also be on the owner of the animal.
Several Layers of Dog Bite Laws may Apply
Stockton personal injury lawyers reference California code that says an animal’s owner bears responsibility for its behavior. Whether in public or on private property, dog bite lawyers say owners most often bear liability for a dog bite. However, Stockton dog bite lawyers point out that dog owners also have certain protections. If, for example, a person trespasses onto private property and is bitten by the resident dog, the owner may be shielded from responsibility in Stockton. Conversely, dog bite attorneys say that owners usually have liability for injuries when the victim was legally on his or her property when the dog bite happened. Lawyers at Sette report that courts have ruled that dog bite victims who were trespassing on private land played a role in the attack and also took on a risk. Our Stockton dog bite lawyers say this determination can be complicated and may result in the court assessing a percentage of liability to both parties – the injured plaintiff and the dog owner.
However, personal injury lawyers say that dog owners have basic responsibilities. If, for example, an owner knows a dog can be aggressive and takes no steps to protect the public, the owner may be deemed liable. According to Stockton dog bite lawyers, indications that an owner was aware of a dog’s dangerous temperament include posting a warning sign or having to muzzle a dog in Stockton. Dog bite lawyers say common law requires the victim of a dog bite to prove the animal’s owner knew about the dog’s potential to be aggressive.
To further complicate the issue of liability, a person suffering a dog bite in the course of his or her employment can also bear some legal responsibility in Stockton. Dog bite lawyers say that contractual employees at a kennel or boarding facility, for example, may accept the inherent risk of their occupation. Our Stockton personal injury attorneys must look very closely at the details of each dog bite lawsuit or court case to determine liability.
Dog Bites associated with Certain Breeds
In general, common law indicates dogs that have no history or demonstrated behavior of viciousness are to be considered harmless. Our Stockton dog bite lawyers explain this principle can be flexible in interpretation by including specific breeds of dogs with a reputation for being aggressive. Pit bulls, Rottweilers and Dobermans, for example, may be among such breeds. Stockton dog bite lawyers say that breeds identified in this category may inherently bear the description of “dangerous.” However, dog bite lawyers recognize it’s important to note that individuals within these breeds are often harmless in nature and do not exhibit vicious tendencies.
Both common law and state statutes can influence the outcome of any Stockton dog bite case. Lawyers should be familiar with landmark cases that established precedents in dog bite law and victims of dog bites are advised to be very clear about the circumstances under which they were injured when consulting with a Stockton dog bite attorney.