We have posted many times about dog bite lawsuits. Occasionally we get a call from a victim of a cat bite. They often ask: Are the rules the same? The answer is a resounding no. In fact, dog bite lawsuits are quite different than cat bite lawsuits. Keep reading to learn how and why. Then contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 if you have an injury case to file.
There is a One-Bite Rule for Only One of These Pets
California law does not have what is commonly referred to as a “one-bite.” This means that the first time a person’s dog bites someone, the owner can be held accountable. This is not the case with cat bites. In this state, in order to win a personal injury lawsuit for a cat bite, you must be able to prove that the owner knew (or should have known) that the cat had bitten or attacked someone else when not provoked.
Why Is There a One-Bite Rule for Cats?
Because the law considers cats to be “naturally roaming animals” that are not generally dangerous unless they are provoked, experts suggest that owners should keep their cats indoors, but owners do not have the duty of care that dog owners do. There is also no duty to restraining a cat if it has bitten or attacked in the past.
Essentially, the law holds that dog owners know that their dog has the potential to be dangerous and that taking on the dog means that they are taking on the risk of their dog biting or attacking someone. The law holds that cats do not have a history of violence in the same way, and therefore their owners can only be held accountable if their cat has already demonstrated signs of violence.
Cat Injury Lawsuits Involve Strict Liability
Once the cat has been shown to be dangerous, then strict liability kicks in. This means that it does not matter how well the owner tried to restrain or guard the animal, they are responsible for any damages their cat causes. For example, if they have the cat locked in a kennel when they are gone, but the cat figures out how to get out and bites someone, the owner is still responsible even though they had no way of knowing that their cat could get out of the kennel.
Have You Suffered a Cat Attack?
If you have been bitten by a cat, you will have to prove that it has bitten before to win compensation for damages. You might be able to do that by getting a letter a previous victim provides, the testimony of neighbors, or doctor or vet records that show the bite. You can also contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 to request a free legal consultation.