Beware of Dog Sign Laws
Beware of dog sign laws where a posted sign such as Beware of Guard Dog or Beware of Vicious Dog is not a defense in California dog bite lawsuits. In the published dog bite case, Burden v. Globerson, 252 Cal. App. 2d 468 a sign was posted Beware of Dog but it was not a defense. In addition the dog bite victim knew that the dog was chained, vicious and trained to keep out intruders. Here, the bite victim approached the vicious dog and fed it and was attacked and bitten.
Beware of Dog Signs in Assumption of Risk Defense or Negligence Defenses in California:
The judge found that the defenses of assumption of risk or negligence did not apply. Here, the lesson to be learned, is to carefully examine the issues and facts in each case. What may appear as a defense may not be any defense at all. Simply posting a Beware of Dog sign will not in itself insulate you from liability. The exact opposite may be true. For instance, the posting of a Beware of Dog sign may be evidence of the dog owner’s knowledge that the culprit dog is vicious. This is an element of a common strict liability claim which may vitiate a comparative negligence defense in California. Also the posting of a Beware of Dog sign may be evidence of a landlord’s knowledge that a dangerous condition exists on the premises.
Conversely, some states have statutes with language that posted Beware of Dog signs may provide a defense to a dog bite. Shepardize any dog bite statute to ascertain how the courts apply the statute to the facts in your case.Likewise, research the case law where there is no dog bite statute.
The maxim applies: “Equity aids the viligant, not the sleeping ones.”