Putting up a beware of dog sign may not protect a dog owner from liability.

What Does Beware of Dog Really Mean?

We have all seen “beware of dog” signs, and most of us have probably taken it as a suggestion that we should steer clear of that particular animal. But in some cases, that particular dog cannot be avoided — perhaps we have an appointment at that house or business, or it belongs to a family member or friend that we are visiting. So what exactly does a beware of dog sign do — and will it prevent you from filing a lawsuit against someone who put up a sign?

Like many legal questions, the answer is “it depends.” California and Arizona are both strict liability states when it comes to dog bites, which means that you do not have to prove that a dog owner was negligent or even that they knew that the dog had violent tendencies in order to recover for a dog bite. Instead, you simply have to prove that a person’s dog bit you, that your injuries were caused by the dog’s bite, and that you were bitten in a place where you were legally allowed to be. The only defenses that a dog owner can present is either that you (1) were not legally on the property or (2) that you provoked the dog.

So what does this mean for “beware of dog” signs? As a general rule, these signs will not have much of an effect on your Arizona or California dog bite case, unless you are trespassing on a person’s property. If you do not have a legal right to be on a person’s private property, then the person has a defense to the dog bite case — but that defense existed regardless of the sign. In other words, it does not matter if the sign was up or not — if you went onto another person’s private property without their permission and their dog bit you, then they can use that as a defense if you sue them for the dog bite.

Otherwise, if you are bitten by a dog in California or Arizona and the owner had a “beware of dog” sign posted, it will not likely have much of an impact on your case. In contrast to other states, California and Arizona do not require you to prove that the owner knew that the dog was dangerous or that it had bitten other people before. It is enough to show that the dog bit you, and that you were injured as a result of the bite. As long as you were legally on private property or were on public property when you were bitten, you will be entitled to recover for your injuries.

At the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, our experienced dog bite attorneys can help you get the money you deserve for your dog bite injuries. We offer free initial consultations to help you understand your options, including filing a claim against the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. We never charge a fee unless we get money for you. Contact us today at 800-333-0000 or to schedule a free initial consultation.