Dog sitters are champions among men. Whether a family is going out of town or needs help contending with a dog during working hours, dog sitters step in and make sure that a dog is well taken care of. That said, no dog sitter is perfect. A dog sitter unaware of a dog’s violent or mischievous behavior can bear witness to dog bites that compromise your well-being.
When a dog is in the care of a dog sitter, however, who is responsible for a dog by accident? You need to know who to hold liable for your accident if you want to request compensation for your losses and civil court. Fortunately, you can work with a dog bite attorney to understand how local laws impact your case.
Dog Bite Laws in California
California Civil Code 3342 states that any dog bite accident that occurs in public or in a location where a victim may rightfully abide by strict liability. This means that the victim of a dog bite accident has the right to hold a dog’s owner accountable for that dog’s behavior, regardless of whether or not the dog has displayed aggressive behavior in the past.
However, there are exceptions to this dog bite rule that impact how liability may be assigned should a dog sitter be in the picture. Specifically, strict liability does not apply to dog bite accident cases when it is not the dog’s owner who is being sued for a dog’s misconduct.
This means that dog bite victims don’t benefit from strict liability when taking up a lawsuit against a dog sitter, even if the situation specifically allows them to do so. Similarly, if a dog bite victim antagonized the dog in question or accepted liability for their losses, victims don’t benefit from strict liability.
Understanding a Dog Sitter’s Role in a Dog Bite Accident
A dog sitter is a person who does not own the dog involved in a dog bite accident. As such, victims of dog bite accidents do not benefit from strict liability when considering who to hold responsible for their dog bite accidents.
While you can then hold a dog sitter responsible for your dog bite accident, you must work with a representative to prove negligence in your accident. Even then, the fault for your dog bite injury may revert to the dog’s owner. This distribution of fault depends entirely on the professional relationship if there is one, between the dog sitter and the dog’s owner.
Dog Sitters, Kennels, and Corporate Responsibility
Dog bite accident liability further changes when the dog sitter in question works for a kennel or similar corporation. In these cases, a dog bite injury may be the fault of the kennel or the corporately-employed dog sitter. You can work with a dog bite injury attorney to determine how you may distribute fault in the circumstances.
If it appears that a kennel or similar corporate institution may be liable for your dog bite injury losses, said party may offer you a settlement before you have the opportunity to go to court.
Always calculate the value of your dog bite injury case before you consider accepting a settlement offer. These corporations may attempt to undervalue your case and an attempt to prevent you from future legal action.
Filing a Case After a Dog Bite Injury
No matter who you want to take to court over a dog bite injury, you have a limited amount of time in which you may file your complaint. According to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1, victims of dog bite injuries and other personal injuries have two years to file their cases. Trying to file a dog bite case outside of this deadline may see your right to compensation waived.
There is a chance, however, that limited liability may impact your right to hold a liable kennel responsible for your dog bite losses. If you are struggling to bring the appropriate party to civil court, ask a personal injury attorney to weigh in on your circumstances. Professional representation may make it easier for you to pursue the compensation you need to recover.
Hold the Right Party Accountable for Your Dog Bite Accident
No one wants to imagine that a dog might hurt them. If you interact with a dog in the care of a dog sitter who behaves violently or mischievously though, you can walk away from the encounter with a serious injury. Understanding how to assign liability in these situations can be tricky, but our dog bite attorneys at Setareh Law can help.
You can discuss your right to a dog bite accident case with one of our personal injury attorneys that also speak Spanish. Call us at (310) 659-1826 or use our online contact form to schedule your case consultation today.