Rancho Santa Margarita Dog Bite Lawyer

In most cases, dogs are faithful companions that present little risk to Rancho Santa Margarita residents. Unfortunately, dog bite attacks could still occur without warning. Dogs are wild animals that have the potential to behave unpredictably. When a dog owner fails to train or secure their animal correctly, the risk of a dog bite goes up dramatically. Fortunately, a Rancho Santa Margarita dog bite lawyer could help an injury victim pursue monetary compensation related to their injuries.

If you have sustained an injury from a dog bite, you might have a valid claim against the animal owner. Courts treat dog bite claims differently compared to other types of injury, so you may benefit from learning more from a practiced injury attorney.

Injury Risks from a Dog Bite

Often, a dog bite results in little more a puncture wound to the skin. While these injuries are unpleasant, they typically heal on their own. However, some dog bites have a life-changing impact. Vicious dog attacks could lead to significant injuries that could cause blood loss, disfigurement, or even death. Bites from smaller dogs could have severe consequences as well, including nerve damage or facial disfigurement.

The end result of these complications is often extensive medical bills, pain and suffering, or even disability. A Rancho Santa Margarita attorney could help a dog bite victim recover compensation for these costs through a lawsuit.

Rancho Santa Margarita Dog Bite Laws

California Civil Code Section 3342 governs liability in a Rancho Santa Margarita dog bite case. The statute adopts a “strict liability” theory of liability. Under strict liability, an attorney for a Rancho Santa Margarita does not need to prove a dog owner was negligent to obtain compensation.

Under strict liability, a plaintiff could recover their damages by proving two elements at trial: the damages resulted from a dog bite, and the bite occurred in a location the victim had permission to be in. While other states require a plaintiff to establish that the dog owner knew the dog was dangerous, that is not necessary in Rancho Santa Margarita.


While a Rancho Santa Margarita dog bite attorney does not face the same challenges common with negligence cases, these claims are not guaranteed to be successful. There are some defenses in dog bite cases that could lead a jury to rule in favor of the defendant.

The statute provides a clear exception to the rule in the second element. A plaintiff must establish they suffered a dog bite in a place where they had a legal right to be. In other words, trespassers may not recover compensation through a strict liability dog bit claim.

There are other exceptions that also provide a viable defense, although they occur infrequently. Police or military dogs are exempt from liability for a bite if they are performing their official duties. However, the defendant must show the dogs were handled according to their agency’s policy regarding working dogs.

Finally, one of the most common defenses is provocation. All things equal, a dog owner is responsible for any damages their dog causes with a bite. However, a plaintiff that provokes a dog is not entitled to compensation. Provocation could include physical acts or taunting.

Reach out to a Rancho Santa Margarita Dog Bite Attorney

Dog bite injury claims are a specialized area of law. Unlike traditional negligence claims, the central issues in these cases are unique. Your best opportunity to maximize your claim is through the help of an experienced dog bite attorney.

If you have questions about the strength of your claim, now is the time to ask. Contact a Rancho Santa Margarita dog bite lawyer to set up a confidential consultation.