Dogs that are running at large in and around Los Angeles are a major hazard for bicyclists. Not only can an attacking dog cause a crash, but it can bite and maul an already injured bicyclist. California Civil Code section 3342 is a strict liability statute that can be used to hold a dog’s owner or keeper liable for bite injuries and damages suffered by a bicyclist. Whether the dog was vicious in the past or docile is irrelevant. The dog’s owner or keeper becomes automatically liable. There are very few defenses to this rule.
If a dog physically knocks a bicyclist down and causes injuries without biting him or her, section 3342 doesn’t apply, but the owner or keeper of the dog can still be held liable under the law of negligence. The injured bicyclist would be required to prove the following:
- The defendant owned or kept the dog in question.
- The owner or keeper of the dog had a duty to the bicyclist to exercise due care and caution for his or her safety.
- There was a breach of that duty.
- The breach of that duty caused the bicycle accident and the rider’s injuries.
What to Do After a Dog Chase Accident on a Bicycle
Time is an important consideration in any case involving an accident caused by a dog chasing or even attacking a bicyclist. You’ll want to be able to identify the dog and its owner or keeper and where they reside. Then, get to an emergency room right away. You’ll want to minimize your chances of an infection. After that, report the incident to police and local animal control authorities. Be sure to take photos of your injuries.
Contact a Bicycle Injury Lawyer
Los Angeles Bicycle Law represents bicyclists because we are bicyclists. We know first-hand how rewarding, yet dangerous, cycling can be in the Los Angeles area. Even though the law treats bicyclists with the responsibilities and rights of a motor vehicle, the road itself offers far fewer protections. That is why we actively fight to protect bicyclists in our community. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles, contact Los Angeles Bicycle Law today.