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California Dog Bite Law – Strict Liability

If you or someone close to you has sustained injuries as a result of a dog bite or dog attack in California, it is crucial that you be made aware of your legal rights. California is a strict liability state, and does not have a “one free bite” rule.

Simply put, a person who sustains injuries from a dog attack or bite does not have to prove that the dog owner was negligent, or that the owner had knowledge of the dog’s vicious or aggressive tendencies. Instead, the injured victim only needs to establish that the bite or injury resulted in damages.

State laws do not allow a dog owner to dispute the party at fault in such incident, because the dog owner will automatically be deemed responsible for the victim’s injury-related expenses and damages, regardless of whether or not the dog has previously bitten or attacked another individual. For this reason, dog owners must be extra diligent in ensuring that their have total control of their pets at all times.

In California, the only defense an owner can have to a dog bite is to claim that the victim assumed the risk of the animal bite. Despite this, courts have established that dog owners are “strictly responsible” for their dogs’ behavior, or that responsibility when it comes to dog bites and other animal attacks lie solely with the owner.

The only exception to this strict liability imposed on dog owners, however, is if the individual bitten or attacked was a trespasser on the property of the dog owner.

Under California’s dog bite statute, a dog owner is liable for any and all damages and injuries suffered by the individual bitten by the dog, as long as the individual was on public property or was lawfully in a private place. A person is considered to be lawfully on private property if his or her presence was performing a duty enforced by state laws or the postal regulations of the United States, or if the dog bite victim was on the property upon the dog owner’s implied or expressed invitation.

Hiring A Dog Bite Attorney

If you, your child or loved one is a dog bite victim, immediately contact a personal injury law firm. If you are in need of a competent dog bite lawyer from the state of California, call us for a free case evaluation.

***Note: We only handle and consult on cases where there has been serious human injury caused by a dog. If your dog has been attacked by another dog we recommend this dog bite guide.