Can Trespassers Sue the Owner for the Dog Bite?

Dog Bite Claim
Dog Bite Cases

In California, a trespasser is allowed to file a dog bite claim in certain circumstances. But unlike other dog attack victims, they cannot sue the owner based on California’s dog bite statute that protects the rights of dog bite victims. Trespassers will have to prove that the negligence of the dog owner resulted in legal damages caused by the dog bite. This may involve proving liability based on the one-bite rule.

California is a state that holds the dog owner liable for a dog attack from the first time itself, irrespective of the owner’s knowledge about whether the dog was vicious or not. Hence, if a dog has bitten someone before, the owner has the responsibility to prevent attacks happening in the future. Therefore, a trespasser should show that even if the owner is aware of the dog’s violent behavior, he showed negligence in preventing the attack.

Who is a Trespasser?

A trespasser can be referred to as someone who is on someone else’s property unlawfully. A person will become a trespasser if any of the following conditions are met:

  • If the person was not invited on the property expressively or by any implication.
  • If the person was not performing any official duty on the specified property.
  • The person stayed even after the expiration of the invitation.
  • The person stayed even after the invitation was revoked.

How Can a Trespasser Prove That the Dog Attack Was Caused by the Owner’s Negligence?

For filing a claim, a trespasser must prove that:

  • The owner showed negligence by failing to prevent the dog attack.
  • The owner knew about the vicious or violent nature of his/her dog, yet failed to take reasonable care in protecting other people from the dog.

Dog owners have a legal duty to exhibit reasonable care to prevent their dog from causing harm to others. If the owner already knows that his dog is vicious, then the risk is foreseeable. A dog bite caused in this case can be considered as the owner’s negligence, hence, he can be held responsible for the dog bite injury.

Proving Strict Liability

If the dog was known to bite or attack someone else, then the owner is aware of the potential threat that his dog posed. Therefore, if the dog bites another person because of the negligence of the owner, then he has a strict liability for the attack. Strict liability makes it easier to prove the responsibility of the owner in the dog bite attack case.

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