Help for Dog Walkers in California: Do You Know What Your Rights Are if You Are Bitten by a Dog?

You might have heard that if you are the victim of a dog bite while working as a professional dog walker, you do not have a right to sue the owner of the dog. In some cases this is true – but not always. Your best bet is to contact a personal injury attorney directly to find out what your options are. In the meantime, you can get the basics by reading the below information.

Why Is It Hard to Prove a Dog Bite Case with a Dog Walker?

In general, the dog bite laws in California do not require the victim to prove that the owner of the dog either knew or they should have known that their dog was capable of biting. All they need to prove is that the dog bit them because California is a strict liability state. In this state, it is enough to own a dog to take on almost all liability if it bites someone.

There are exceptions. One of them is known as the “Veterinarian’s Rule.” This law holds that people who choose to work professionally with dogs are taking on the risk that they might be bitten. This covers professional dog walkers.

Others Covered by the Veterinarian’s Rule

Not only are dog walkers covered by this rule, but vet techs, groomers, kennel workers, and animal control workers are covered too. However, if you are walking a dog as a favor to a friend or in another non-professional manner, then the Veterinarians Rule does not count. That is to say that is has never been applied in that way, though there might be certain unlikely events in which the court would agree that it covered a non-professional walking.

Situations in Which a Dog Walker Can Sue After a Dog Bite

Of course, there are situations in which a dog walker has the legal right to sue the owner of a dog after being bitten. For example, if the dog walker can prove that the dog has bitten people in the past, or that it had significantly dangerous tendencies, the owner knew that information, and the owner did not inform the dog walker, then the owner could be held liable for damages.

Potential Damages You Can Recover in a Dog Bite Case

Every case is different, but generally you can recover economic damages such as medical bills, lost potential income, and lost wages, as well as noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, scarring, loss of a limb or organ, and loss of enjoyment of life. If you want to know more about damages you can recover, or how to find out what your legal options are, contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.