In California, state laws governing premises liability cover animal attacks in Los Angeles that result in injuries to others. When property owners fail to take the necessary precautions to protect their guests and customers from animal attacks, they may be liable for any resulting injuries that occur on their property.
In addition to premises liability law, state dog bite laws also make dog owners and some third parties liable for the injuries that their dogs cause by biting.
Premises Liability Laws and Animal Attacks
Under CIV § 1714, all property owners owe a duty of reasonable care for the safety of others who are legally on their property. They must maintain the safety of their property to the same degree that a reasonable person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. As a result, premises liability law does cover animal attacks in Los Angeles that result in injuries that harm others.
The precautions property owners must take to keep their properties reasonably safe for others vary according to many factors. However, keeping others safe from dog bites does fall within the duty of reasonable care.
As a result, premises liability law can provide a basis for liability when a property owner exposes visitors or customers to potentially vicious dogs. For instance, property owners who allow dogs on their property might take the following reasonable safety measures:
- Requiring dog owners to keep their dogs on leashes
- Posting warning signs about animals being present on the property
- Banning dogs who have exhibited vicious tendencies in the past
- Banning certain types of animals who might be more likely to attack others
Property owners who fail to take any of these precautions may face liability if a dog or other animal attack injures others. They could be responsible for paying injury-related expenses that the victims suffer, such as medical bills, lost wages, emotional trauma, and more.
Liability for Dog Bites Under State Law
Although premises liability law covers dog bites as a specific type of animal attack, parties can also face liability for dog bites under a separate code section. Under state law, dog owners are strictly liable for injuries that result when their dogs bite others.
However, in other circumstances, third parties can be liable for the damages resulting from dog bites if they were negligent or careless in controlling the dog. Either of these scenarios can lead to a personal injury claim for damages stemming from a dog bite.
Strict Liability for Dog Owners
California Civil Code (CIV) §3342 makes dog owners liable for any damages that their dogs cause others by biting them. Dog owners can face liability for their dogs’ bite injuries, even if the dog has never been vicious before or the dog owner is unaware of potential viciousness in the dog.
Even taking all necessary precautions to prevent the dog from harming others does not relieve the dog owner of liability if the dog bites someone. As a result, injury victims do not need to prove negligence on the dog owner’s part to prove their claims. Instead, the dog owners are strictly or automatically liable if their dog bites others and injures them.
This liability exists whether the injury victims are in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including property belonging to the dog owner. According to this code section, people are lawfully on private property when performing any legal duties on the property or when the property owners have invited them on the property. The invitation can be expressed, such as a personal invitation to visit the dog owner’s home, or implied, such as a store being open to the public for business.
Negligence and Liability of Third Parties
Other people besides the dog owner can be liable when a dog attacks and bites someone. For instance, dog walkers, dog handlers, or kennel owners all could be held liable if their negligence is the direct cause of injuries to others.
For instance, suppose a kennel owner fails to properly secure a dog that the kennel owner knew was vicious. If the dog, therefore, escapes and attacks someone, the kennel owner could face liability for the costs of the injuries that the dog inflicted.
Get Answers to Your Questions About Your Premises Liability Claim Today
Premises liability may be one basis for a personal injury claim stemming from an animal attack that injures you. However, you may also have other recourse under state law for holding responsible parties liable for the injuries you have suffered.
The attorneys and staff at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can evaluate your situation and explore all available legal options with you. Call (800) 223-5115 and get more information about how you may be able to receive compensation for your losses and make the responsible parties accountable for their actions.