Dog Bite Comparative Negligence Rule

In the state of California, a person bitten by a dog may file a lawsuit and seek compensation for their damages. If a judge or jury finds that that person was partially responsible for the attack, their award will be reduced by a percentage of fault. This is due to the state’s comparative negligence rule.

In the state of California, people who are bitten through no fault of their own are able to seek compensation for their injuries. The owner of the dog that bit is held strictly liable for their pet’s attack and the injuries it caused. The person who was bitten must have been in a public or private place lawfully.

If, on the other hand, the person was trespassing or otherwise provoked the dog, they may be held partially liable for their injuries. This does not account for any people bitten by a police or military dog lawfully carrying out its duties. In cases such as this, the person bitten has no legal remedy.

For example, a child is walking down the sidewalk and sees a ball in someone’s backyard. The child decides to enter the backyard without the knowledge of the owner. The family dog is startled and bites the child. The owner may be held liable for the attack, but only partially so. The child would not have been bitten if they would not have been trespassing.

People who have been bitten by a dog should seek the advice of an experienced attorney to determine if they have the legal right to seek compensation.