Asked in Personal Injury and Animal / Dog Law for California

Q: I was bit by a dog when i walked inside a dollar tree store. It wasn't a service animal even. Is dollar tree liable?

Some added info: The Dollar Tree only allows Service Animals inside. Apparently the store mgr was on vacation, maybe this is why the dog was not made to leave the building. The dogs owner was paying for her purchases at the register closest to the door, the dog was next to the lady. I walked in the door and was walking past that register when the dog just suddenly lunged at me and bit my left calf. No one was teasing, talking to, or provoking the dog. The sharp pain startled me and at first i didn't know what caused it. I jumped away and then the owner asked if the dog just bit me. I said yes and then pulled up my left pant leg to show her. Bite marks were clearly visible but i didnt see blood. Also bad bruising shortly after. The cashier also witnessed all this. I did not call police or animal control. I also didn't go to the hospital.. This happened about 2 weeks ago. I don't know the name of the dog owner. I do believe dollar tree would have security camara footage.

7 Lawyer Answers
Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
Answered
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: more info is needed

do they allow dogs in there all the time?

did you get the name of the dog owner and insurance?

did anything provoke the dog?

call police/animal control?

how long ago?

see doc right away?

damage?

call with questions : dale gribow 760 837 7500

1 user found this answer helpful

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Answered
  • Mill Valley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It will depend on lot on whether they created or allowed a hazardous condition to exist. Whether they had notice the dog was there long enough in advance to have done something about it will also be an issue. Since they may very well be liable, and almost all personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations, you really have nothing to lose by calling.

1 user found this answer helpful

William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Not unless Dollar Tree was an owner or knew or had reason to know of the dog's vicious propensities.

Manuel Alzamora Juarez
Manuel Alzamora Juarez
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: First, You need to know who is the owner of the dog. If it belongs to the store, then sure you have a cause of action. File a police report and call animal control. Best of luck.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Answered
  • Mill Valley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: When you discuss this situation with personal injury attorneys, it may be helpful to point out to them a new court of appeal case, filed 6/15/18, regarding the duty of an establishment to protect patrons from spider bites: Coyle v. Historic Mission Inn Corp., E066265 (Fourth Appellate District). Good luck.

Christian Braid Pezzaglia
Christian Braid Pezzaglia
Answered
  • San Jose, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You may have a better case against the dog owner, if you know their identity, since it is based on strict liability. However, for a claim against the business, you will need to prove they were negligent in some manner. Given that you apparently have not needed to obtain medical attention so far, I don’t know that the damages will be sufficient from which to pursue a claim against the business. You are well advised to contact a knowledgeable local attorney to evaluate.

Alex Ozols
Alex Ozols
Answered
  • Huntington Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I believe Mr. Pezzaglia gave you the best answer. The dog owner is strictly liable pursuant to California Civil Code Section 3342. The store I don't think that is likely and it would be hard to find an attorney to take that on unless there are other facts that are missing.

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