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Animal attack, motorcycles, and Judge Judy: Oh my!

Despite the fact that pet owners in Long Beach, California, often regard their beloved four-legged friends as family members, state and federal laws identify animals as personal property. As a result, property owners are held responsible for the actions of their pets. One case that made its way on a popular legal television show highlights how liability is determined in some personal injury cases involving dog attack incidents.

Every year, hundreds of civil lawsuits are filed in states like California that address issues like property damage and dog bite injury claims. And in the majority of cases, the pet owner may be found liable for damages because their personal property caused the incident. This is especially true in incidents that occur off the pet owner’s property.

A good example of how pet owners can be held responsible for the actions of their animals involves a case that went all the way to Judge Judy’s court. The incident in question allegedly occurred when a dog ran out into traffic and caused a multi-vehicle accident with three motorcycles and an SUV. All three motorcycle riders sustained damage to their vehicles as well as various degrees of injuries. One of the accident victims is apparently still receiving treatment for several lost teeth and a broken bone.

After the accident victims agreed, the small claims lawsuit against the dog owner ended up on “Judge Judy,” and the defendant was found liable for $3500 in damages. Participating in the show allowed for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit to receive their compensation within weeks.

Source: ktvb.com, “Boise motorcyclists win case against dog owner on Judge Judy,” Jamie Grey, Jan. 16, 2014

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