I was jogging when I was attacked and bitten by a pitbull. I had bites on my hands and legs, but not very serious injuries. However, I am now very terrified of going out to jog after the attack. The owner gave up the ownership of the dog. Can I still hold him responsible?
The laws of the state of California state that generally, the owner of the dog is responsible for the damages or injury that his/her pet might cause if the attack happens in a public place, regardless of the former viciousness or the owner’s knowledge of his or her pet’s viciousness [CC § 3342(a)].
However, if the owner relinquishes care, custody or control of the dog to a trained professional, such as a veterinarian, kennel worker, groomer or dog-walker, in exchange for compensation he/she is not liable for the damages or injuries his pet might cause during the time the dog is under the care of the professional [Priebe v. Nelson (2006)].
If the dog was under the care and supervision of the owner during the attack, then the victim may claim damages from the owner or his/her insurance. If the attack happens while the dog is in the care or control of a professional, the liability could be on the said professional.
To better understand dog bite liabilities and possible recovery for damages, consult with a lawyer who is an expert in personal injury.