People vs Animal, Who is at fault?

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California Law about Animal Negligence

All over the world when an animal has any kind of accident with a human there’s always one question thrown out there…Who’s fault is it? For instance if you live on a farm and one of your animals get out of the fence and causes a vehicle accident should you be at fault for that and be charged with animal negligence?

Well if you live in California you could and most likely will be charged with negligence. California law states that:

16904. Presumptions or inferences in actions for motor vehicle collisions with animals –

In any civil action which is brought by the owner, driver, or occupant of a motor vehicle, or by their personal representatives or assignees, or by the owner of livestock, for damages which are caused by collision between any motor vehicle and any domestic animal on a highway, there is no presumption or inference that the collision was due to negligence on behalf of the owner or the person in possession of the animal.

Seems pretty straightforward but sometimes there’s always that loophole where people think they should go to court and fight it out. What about smaller animals and their laws? Well California is sticking to the owner being at fault.

If your beloved pooch bites someone, you better hope you have insurance. Even if your dog hasn’t bitten anyone before he or she isn’t excused.The California law about animal bites are pretty clear and straightforward as well.

California law states that:

The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.

So my advice, if you’re going to have pets in California you better keep them under control or you’re probably going to have to pay a hefty fine!

Daniel A. Gibalevich
DAG Law Firm

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