In Orange County, the Owner Is Responsible for Dog Bites

If you’re bitten by a dog, California Civil Code 3342 places responsibility for the act clearly on the owner’s shoulders. In assigning accountability, the stature prevents dogs from becoming a hazard to the community and places the burden of the animal’s conduct on those who choose to own a dog. It also reduces any conflicts and long drawn-out legal claims by defining liability — most of the time ,victims are a family member, friend, or neighbor of the owner.

The code also describes the conditions under which the owner retains responsibility. You must have been bitten in a public place or lawfully in a private place. The term “lawfully” means you are on a property to perform duties “imposed … by the laws of hits state” or by “invitation, express or implied, of the owner.” For example, lawful actions include delivering pizza to the owner’s address, walking on the sidewalk outside the owner’s front yard, or attending a party on the owner’s deck.

Exceptions include bites from military or police dogs that were defending their owners from your “annoying, harassing or provoking” acts, or assisting government agency employees in executing a warrant, investigating a crime, or apprehending a suspect.

Dog owners must take “reasonable and necessary precautions as required to protect all persons from physical harm” of their animals. In other words, a dog that runs around its yard unleashed and then jumps the fence to bite you in your yard violates the statute — b the owner did not take the reasonable precaution of attaching a leash.

If you’re still not sure whether you are entitled to damages from specific dog bite situations, the easiest way to find out is to contact us. We’ll not only advise you on your best options but will fight for your rights.